ANDREW OYE'S OLYMPIA WEEKEND REPORT: "MAKING LEGENDS, BREAKING RECORDS"
IFBB Pro League Contest Results, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup
IFBB PRO JAY CUTLER RECLAIMS THE MR. OLYMPIA CROWN IN FIRST-TIME FEAT
Sizzling Las Vegas was the scene of best-body battles as the top men and women of bodybuilding, fitness and figure competed at the "Super Bowl of Bodybuilding" during Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend (September 24-27, 2009) -- Where Legends Are Made.
Along with the crowning of IFBB Pro Iris Kyle as Ms. Olympia for the fifth time, IFBB Pro Adela Garcia Ms. Fitness Olympia for a fourth time, and IFBB Pro Nicole Wilkins as Ms. Figure Olympia, bodybuilding's giants engaged in a melee to determine who would emerge at the pinnacle of the sport?.
The 2009 Olympia was labeled the year of the "Open-Door Opportunity." Pre-show predictions shuffled the Top 6 placings in all sorts of combinations, suggesting that any of the major contenders could take the top spot. The top spot came with a new price tag, as the winner would receive a record-breaking $200,000 -- the Olympia's highest cash prize to date.
The lineup was stacked, including the added challenge from the presence of physiques that were absent from last year's roster of competitors. Lots of pre-contest posturing, smack-talking and showboating meant that, as always, there were many scores to be settled and massive amounts of exciting action.
Two-time Olympia Champion IFBB Pro Jay Cutler was crowned 2009 Mr. Olympia, unseating 2008 winner IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson. This victory marked a record-breaking, legend-making moment, because Cutler becomes the first Mr. Olympia to ever lose the title and return to reclaim it. Cutler defeated a field of 22 other competitors. In a surprising turn of events, IFBB Pro Branch Warren placed 2nd in the big show, while Jackson finished in 3rd place.
Last year, in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report." I coined the phrase "Aesthetic Bodybuilders Club" (ABC) as a reference to those whose shape closely resembles the ideal bodybuilder physique (an "X" frame with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, flaring quads and overall symmetrical, balanced musculature).
Cutler returned to redeem his loss to Jackson in 2008. Seemingly, the huge and ripped Jay of 2001 was a memory fans would just have to cherish until Cutler reappeared onstage this year. Much improved from last year, the new version was massive, well conditioned, and somewhat reminiscent of the old one that challenged 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman. Although fans of ABC bodybuilders were upset by the result, other fans in the audience applauded the return of the mass monster...albeit a tighter one.
While proponents of the ABC physique questioned whether his structure or shape would ever be Sandow-worthy, mass lovers who root for the likes of Warren cheered when he stepped on stage big and cut-up. Warren was superbly ripped, and perhaps the judges felt his crispy conditioning simply could not be denied. Over the years, the self-proclaimed underdog won over fans with his no-nonsense, nose-to-the-grind view on training and competing.
Jackson had successfully invaded Mass Monster's Land in 2008, winning the title on his ninth attempt, the first Mr. Olympia in 23 years to weigh less than 250 pounds since 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Lee Haney. Some industry watchers and fans assumed or hoped the moment indicated a shift back toward rewarding the ABC physique. After a decade on the Olympia stage, Jackson was attempting to be a repeat champion like many of his predecessors (like 7-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger and 6-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Dorian Yates). Consistently sharp with one the most impressive Most Muscular poses, Jackson had a thorough off-season to train specifically for this contest to improve his sculpted physique. He looked great; hence, the thunder of boos in the arena in response to his placing.
The rest of the Top 6 included: A favored showman, IFBB Pro K. Greene fared well for his Olympia debut (4th). A highly favored young athlete with promise and an incredible physique, IFBB Pro Phil Heath took two controversial steps from last year's 3rd place finish (5th). A fan favorite, IFBB Pro Victor Martinez was given somewhat of a gift with his placing, considering his physique lacked the "pop" he displayed in 2007 and the shape of some who finished below him (6th).
The remaining Top 15 included: Germany's IFBB Pro Ronny Rockel (7th), IFBB Pro Toney Freeman (8th), Japan's IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi (9th), IFBB Pro Moe El Moussawi (10th), IFBB Pro Silvio Samuel (11th), IFBB Pro Melvin Anthony (12th), Venezuela's IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell (13th), Germany's IFBB Pro Dennis James (14th), and Germany's IFBB Pro Markus Ruhl (15th). The remaining competitors included: IFBB Pro Troy Alves, IFBB Pro Darrem Charles, IFBB Pro Ahmad Haidar, IFBB Pro Michael Kefalianos, IFBB Pro Martin Kjellstrom, IFBB Pro Joel Stubbs, IFBB Pro Bill Wilmore and IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf.
ANDREW OYE'S VERDICT
Many expected the 2009 Olympia Weekend to be an exciting show -- with the anticipation surrounding in the Open Division. The event delivered with controversies and triumphs. Will another former Mr. O. come back and reclaim the title in the future? Most likely, IFBB Pro Larry Scott, IFBB Pro Sergio Oliva, IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger, IFBB Pro Frank Zane, IFBB Pro Samir Bannout, IFBB Pro Franco Columbu, IFBB Pro Lee Haney, IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman and IFBB Pro Dorian Yates are satisfied with their accomplishments.
Every competitor brought something different to the stage...some for better, others for worse. But that is what lends Olympia Weekend its thrill for fans of the sport. Opportunities for the athletes to shock, persevere, fall, dazzle, learn a lesson or become a legend. This is bodybuilding's upper echelon. Names written in the history books of physical culture. The champions were chosen. For that night and for the year that follows, they rule...until challengers meet again to test them and the strength of their holds on their respective crowns.
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