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The Item: Contest Results, New IFBB Pro League Cards, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: Over the weekend, Alexis Rivera-Rolon from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, won the Super-Heavyweight Class and Overall title at the 2014 NPC National Bodybuilding Championships in Miami, Florida. As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," winning athletes earn pro cards at Nationals (like last year's winner, IFBB Pro Kevin Jordan). This year, with 241 competitors in the bodybuilding division (the most since 2001), 14 IFBB Pro cards were awarded, encompassing the 1st place and 2nd place finishers in the seven weight classes.

The "So What?": A fitness coach and father of two sons, new IFBB Pro Alexis Rivera-Rolon had competed at the amateur level since 2010. After being crowned Mr. Puerto Rico in 2011, he competed internationally. Following 11th place finishes in 2011 (in a Heavyweight Class won by IFBB Pro An Nguyen) and 2012 (in a Heavyweight Class won by IFBB Pro Justin Compton), he entered the 2014 NPC Nationals not expecting to win, because he faced what he viewed as his toughest competition. Among the other newly qualified IFBB Pro League athletes: Super-Heavyweight 2nd place Michael Lockett (who had previously earned pro qualification at the 2006 NPC Team Universe but chose not to activate) and Heavyweight 1st place Dominick Cardone, a new friend of Rivera-Rolon. Prior to the contest, they had planned to light up the stage if they battled for the Overall title, which they did.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: Behind a trail of past NPC Nationals winners (like Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Lee Haney, IFBB Pro Kevin Levrone, IFBB Pro Gary Strydom, IFBB Pro Troy Zuccolotto, IFBB Pro Aaron Maddron, IFBB Pro Cedric McMillan, IFBB Pro Evan Centopani, and IFBB Pro Robert Burneika), Alexis Rivera-Rolon enters the IFBB Pro League with a strong team in his corner. After winning the NPC Garden State Championships in New Jersey in June 2013, Rivera-Rolon had taken a year off. His contest-prep coach, retired IFBB Pro Don Long, was the 1995 NPC Nationals Overall Winner and relived the glory via his client nearly two decades later. Long said, "[Rivera-Rolon] made a visit to Jacksonville, Florida. I was noticing in the [pre-contest progress] photos he was sending me that the posing needed work. If [he was] going to get the Overall, he would have to be polished... We worked on some things to make him look professional on stage. That was the key. The judges like to envision that a guy can go straight into the pros."

Retired IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell (a 7-time contender at Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend and 7-time contender at the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships), had continued to work with Rivera-Rolon on his presentation upon the rookie's return to Puerto Rico. Long admits, initially, there had been trepidation that the densely stacked Lockett might overtake his client. However, in the end, the conditioning and aesthetics of Rivera-Rolon gave him the edge, and the champ concluded, "When you have great conditioning, the posing just improves your condition." For his pro debut, Rivera-Rolon's team is considering the new IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series bodybuilding contest in Puerto Rico scheduled for May 2015.

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