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The Item: IIFBB Pro League Olympia Preview, Special Fitness Industry Event, Legends Update, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: Promoters of Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend of Fitness and Performance -- "Where Legends Are Made" -- posted the final competitors list of IFBB Pro League athletes that qualified to compete at the 2014 IFBB Olympia Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (September 18-21). As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," the following lists represent the leaderboard results of the IFBB Olympia Qualification Series Point System.   

Mr. Olympia - Open Division Qualified Competitors
IFBB Pro Lionel Beyeke, IFBB Pro Evan Centopani, IFBB Pro Justin Compton, IFBB Pro Jon Delarosa, IFBB Pro Mamdouh Elssbiay ("Big Ramy"), IFBB Pro Ibrahim Fahim, IFBB Pro K. Greene, IFBB Pro Phil Heath, IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson, IFBB Pro Steve Kuclo, IFBB Pro Victor Martinez, IFBB Pro Cedric McMillan, IFBB Pro Juan Morel, IFBB Pro Jojo Ntiforo, IFBB Pro Essa Obaid, IFBB Pro Shawn Rhoden, IFBB Pro Fred Smalls, IFBB Pro Branch Warren, IFBB Pro Roelly Winklaar, IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf.

Olympia 212 Showdown - 212 Division Qualified Competitors
IFBB Pro Baitollah Abbaspour, IFBB Pro Ahmad Ahmad, IFBB Pro Sami Al Haddad, IFBB Pro Raul Carrasco-Jimenez, IFBB Pro Guy Cisternino, IFBB Pro Aaron Clark, IFBB Pro Eduardo Correa Da Silva, IFBB Pro Charles Dixon, IFBB Pro Mark Dugdale, IFBB Pro Mboya Edwards, IFBB Pro Kevin English, IFBB Pro David Henry, IFBB Pro Flex Lewis, IFBB Pro Jose Raymond, IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi.

The "So What?": The 2014 Olympia Weekend marks the 50th Anniversary of the Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Championships (and the second Olympia since the passing of its creator Joe Weider). Reigning Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Phil Heath has touted this year's contest as the "War For 4," as he pursues his fourth Olympia Sandow trophy. With friend and (onstage) rival 4-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler off the table (after a 6th place finish in 2013 and retirement speculation), Heath faces even less competition to defend his title. Other athletes reportedly opting not to "war" in Vegas for various reasons: elusive Evan Centopani, rookie Justin Compton and Cedric McMillian, who, at one point, was dubbed "the next big thing."

In the Open Division, every warrior wants something. Heath wants to keep the crown firmly on his skull. D. Jackson wants another Sandow. Greene wants to rise from two consecutive 2nd runner-up finishes. Martinez wants to recreate the surge of his "close call" in 2007. Warren wants to climb back into the Top 5. Big Ramy wants to prove an Amateur Olympia (2012) winner can be a Pro Olympia winner. Wolf wants to capitalize on his 2014 Arnold Classic victory. Kuclo wants to brush off the controversy around his 2014 Arnold Classic Brasil victory. Rhoden wants to push above that "safe zone" of 3rd to 4th place. Winklaar wants to solidify his comeback after a motorcycle accident earlier this year. Making Olympia debuts: Delarosa, Fahim, Morel, and Ntiforo.

In the 212 Division, Lewis wants to bolster his victory at the 2014 Arnold Classic's first-ever 212 contest and to tie English's record of three wins. He faces a fight from former Open Division competitors Yamagishi and Abbaspour, as well as spunky Cisternino and the rest of the 212 mainstays of Henry, Raymond, Dugale, Carrasco and Haddad. Clark makes his Olympia Showdown debut. Depending on which qualified athletes compete in the other divisions: First Physique Olympia IFBB Pro Mark Anthony Wingson could face a challenge from Sadik Hadzovic or Jason Poston. 9-time Ms. Olympia IFBB Pro Iris Kyle defends her title. Without 2-time champ IFBB Pro Erin Stern in the mix, 3-time Figure Olympia IFBB Pro Nicole Wilkins has to keep Candice Keene and Alicia Coates at bay. 8-time Fitness Olympia IFBB Pro Adela Garcia will attempt to tumble away from Oksana Grishina, Tanji Johnson, Bethany Cisternino, and Trish Warren. Bikini Olympia IFBB Pro Ashley Kaltwasser leads the pack.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: It's surprising that any athlete would miss an opportunity to compete at this historic event. MUSCLE INK Magazine reported that the NBC Sports Group announced a partnership to televise the 50th Annual Mr. Olympia contest on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in two 90-minute special telecasts (October 18 and October 25). This marks the return of the contest known as the "Super Bowl of Bodybuilding" to a nationwide television audience for the first time since 1984, when 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Lee Haney earned his first title and Sandow trophy.

The added TV media presence might help to increase the profile of the sport as it showcases the hard work of physique building at professional bodybuilding's most prestigious contest, which is part of an exciting expo celebration of sports and fitness that draws a crowd of more than forty thousand spectators and offers a total prize of one million dollars for competitors across all divisions (Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Physique, Bikini). The bodybuilding competition includes many who have also won the other prestigious contest -- the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships. The Olympia Expo hosts demos and competitions in the following activities: armwrestling, boxing, jiu jitsu, karate, kettle-bell, kickboxing, weightlifting, mixed martial arts (MMA), kung fu, powerlifting, tae kwon do, WCO World Calisthenics Organization Battle of the Bars, CrossFit, wrestling, obstacle course, and strongman (featuring WSM World's Strongest Man competitors).

The half-century celebration of the Olympia should be a proper tribute to Joe Weider, (called the "Father of Modern Bodybuilding") and the champions he produced by founding the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness and the IFBB Pro League Olympia Championships. In 50 years, a vision to highlight physical culture made physique legends of 13 Mr. Olympia titleholders: IFBB Pro Larry Scott (1965-1966), IFBB Pro Sergio Oliva (1967-1969), IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger (1970-1975, 1980), IFBB Pro Franco Columbu (1976, 1981), IFBB Pro Frank Zane (1977-1979), IFBB Pro Chris Dickerson (1982), IFBB Pro Samir Bannout (1983), IFBB Pro Lee Haney (1984-1991), IFBB Pro Dorian Yates (1992-1997), IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman (1998-2005), IFBB Pro Jay Cutler (2006-2007, 2009-2010), IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson (2008) and IFBB Pro Phil Heath (2011-2013).

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