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The Item: Career Updates, Strength Sports, Powerlifting, Contest Preparation, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Recently Reported: IFBB Pro League athletes had career updates or made recent guest appearances at various sports, bodybuilding, physique and fitness events. The latest "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report" Pro Athletes Roundup includes powerlifting pro bodybuilders and the top athlete on the IFBB Rankings Power List.

The "So What?": IFBB Pro Ben White (nicknamed "The Showstopper") lifted heavier weights than the typical bodybuilder when he competed at a powerlifting meet at Alpin Haus Fitness in Amsterdam, NY, last month. White competed for the first time in the 308 class, with goals to deadlift over 700 pounds and to bench press over 600 pounds. According to his website, "The Showstopper is a member of the 600-pound Unequipped Bench Press Hall Of Fame." This latest event was another step in White's quest to prove he is one of the world's strongest bodybuilders. Recently, White has been in a war (all in fun, of course) over the title with fellow powerlifting IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson. But Jackson beat White at the first "Duel in the Desert: World's Strongest Bodybuilder Lift Off" at the 2009 Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend Expo. 

Three-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler signed a new exclusive media contract. The company owner predicts the signing will make this "a landmark year," saying, "Now it can be made known that this ambassador to the sport of bodybuilding -- with a huge fan base, the biggest since Arnold -- is with us, once again."

IFBB Pro Silvio Samuel has decided to forgo competing at the Arnold Sports Festival's 2010 IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships (March 6). Samuel, who recently guest-posed in Bahrain, has set his sights on the Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships (July 16-17) to kickoff his 2010 contest season. "I will take a break to put on the size I need to put on," Samuel says. "I wanted to do the Arnold Classic, but after more thought, I do not believe that competing so soon after the Olympia is in my best interest in order to make the impact I want to make."

This will be the first time in four years that Samuel will not appear on the Arnold Classic stage, after placing in the Top 6 at the event in three consecutive years (6th in 2007, 5th in 2008 and 5th in 2009). Samuel opted out partly due to his disappointing 13th place finish at the 2009 Olympia (won by Cutler). "It's painful when you do not place where you hope," he admits. "I will take the time to improve and make sure I am better the next time I compete at the Olympia."
Andrew Oye's Verdict: If White or Jackson has a good enough year to qualify for the Mr. Olympia contest, the one who doesn't may go heavy at the 2010 "Duel in the Desert" against IFBB Pro Stan Efferding, another beast who has also jumped into the powerlifter-bodybuilder fray (an arena once inhabited by the likes of retired IFBB Pro Tom Platz and 2-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Franco Columbu).

In 2009, Jay Cutler became the first Mr. Olympia in history to regain the title after losing it. Cutler rejoined the company he had been with from 2001 to 2003, before signing an extended contract with his former company during his climb up the Olympia ranks. Looking for his fourth Sandow trophy, Cutler topped the IFBB Pro Rankings Leaderboard recently posted in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report."

Bigger than 202 Division contenders, yet not quite as big as other Open Division contenders, Silvio Samuel is stuck in the middle. It seems he's making decisions on how to play the mass game in a new way. Let's just hope it doesn't come at the expense of his notable aesthetics.

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