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The Item: IFBB Pro League Contest Schedule, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: Over the weekend, contest promoter John Balik issued a press release to announce that the Iron Man Pro Invitational Bodybuilding Championships scheduled for January 23, 2010, will be postponed until a yet-to-be-determined date.

The "So What?": The contest, which celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2009, is one of the longest-running IFBB Pro League contests in the world. As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," for the last six years, the event has been held in conjunction with the Los Angeles Fitness Expo (TheFitExpo). "The Expo has been a huge success and is growing every year," says Balik. "But when it was held in late February, two weeks before the Arnold Classic to accommodate the Iron Man Pro, some companies just couldn't exhibit at it...back-to-back expos were just too much for some of them."

Moving to January last year helped FitExpo exhibitors. However, as Balik notes, "For the pro bodybuilders, it meant having to train and diet through the holiday season and then try to peak again six weeks later for the Arnold [Classic] and other IFBB contests that follow it."

Unsurprisingly, the postponement decision boils down to economics. "In spite of the huge crowds that attend the Expo and the myriad of sponsors that support it, ticket sales to the Iron Man Pro continue to decline, making it a challenge to produce the contest profitably," says Balik, who is investigating alternative dates, either in late February prior to the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic or in May close to the New York Pro Bodybuilding Championships.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: When initial reports of the event simply being "cancelled" circulated, there were cries among disappointed fans that it blemishes the rich, twenty-year history of the Iron Man Pro, an event which had come to represent the (un)official kickoff of the IFBB Pro League contest season. Also, it stung that the news came a month a half after Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend, which closes the season. Like others, I view postponement (as opposed to cancellation) as a way to avoid the unfortunate irony of axing the only competition for IFBB Pro League athletes in the so-called "Bodybuilding Mecca" of southern California -- a contest won previously by IFBB Pro Shawn Ray, IFBB Pro J.J. Marsh, IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell, IFBB Pro Toney Freeman, IFBB Pro Phil Heath, Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, 3-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, 2 times by IFBB Pro Vince Taylor, 4 times by IFBB Pro Chris Cormier, and a whopping 5 times by IFBB Pro Flex Wheeler. 

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