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The Item: IFBB Pro League Olympia Preview, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness and the promoters of Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend – "Where Legends Are Made" – posted the official competitors lists of IFBB Pro League athletes qualified to compete at the 2015 IFBB Olympia Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend (September 17-20). 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 Fouad Abiad, IFBB Pro Moe Bannout, IFBB Pro William Bonac, IFBB Pro Max Charles, IFBB Pro Justin Compton, IFBB Pro Brandon Curry, IFBB Pro Jon Delarosa, IFBB Pro Mamdouh Elssbiay ("Big Ramy"), IFBB Pro K. Greene, IFBB Pro Phil Heath, IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson, IFBB Pro Abdelaziz Jellali, IFBB Pro Steve Kuclo, IFBB Pro Michael Lockett, IFBB Pro Victor Martinez, IFBB Pro Cedric McMillan, IFBB Pro Juan Morel, IFBB Pro Essa Obaid, IFBB Pro Robert Piotrkowicz, IFBB Pro Shawn Rhoden, IFBB Pro Ronny Rockel, IFBB Pro Brad Rowe, 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 Oliver Adzievski, IFBB Pro Ahmad Ahmad, IFBB Pro Khalid Almohsinawi, IFBB Pro Al Auguste, IFBB Pro M. Cambal, IFBB Pro Alejandro Cambronero, IFBB Pro Guy Cisternino, IFBB Pro Shaun Clarida, IFBB Pro Aaron Clark, IFBB Pro Eduardo Correa Da Silva, IFBB Pro Charles Dixon, IFBB Pro Kevin English, IFBB Pro David Henry, IFBB Pro Tricky Jackson, IFBB Pro Kim Jun Ho, IFBB Pro Kyung Won Kang, IFBB Pro Flex Lewis, IFBB Pro Jose Raymond, IFBB Pro Craig Richardson, IFBB Pro Marco Rivera, IFBB Pro Zane Watson, IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi.

The "So What?": Last year, the IFBB Pro League celebrated the 50th Annual Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Championships. Reigning Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Phil Heath called the contest the "War For 4," and succeeded in acquiring his fourth title and Sandow trophy. This year, his campaign is dubbed "Drive For 5."  If successful, he'll break his tie with 4-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler. Athletes reportedly electing not to compete at the contest for various reasons: up-and-comer Justin Compton (now skipping for two consecutive years), Fouad Abiad (who qualified twice with two circuit-contest wins this year), and K. Greene (the #2 runner-up for three consecutive years).

In the Open Division, 2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson wants another Olympia win, especially after adding another Arnold Classic win at this year's Arnold Sports Festival, breaking a record with five victories at the IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships. But other contenders are eager to fill the vacated 2nd place seat, or, better yet, to dethrone the incumbent champion. Making Olympia debuts: Bannout (cousin of 1983 Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Samir Bannout), Charles (2013 Mr. USA), Jellali (2014 Amateur Olympia winner), Lockett (a rookie who delayed accepting pro status), McCarver (one of the youngest rookies), and Rowe (a Cali-based rookie).

In the 212 Division, reigning champion James "Flex" Lewis is embroiled in his own "War For 4." If successful in the Olympia 212 Showdown, he'll break his three-win tie with triple winner Kevin English. Unfortunately, the recent passing of IFBB Pro Baitollah Abbaspour means he won’t be able to improve on his 5th place finish last year (his first and only placing on an Olympia stage, following two disappointing showings in the Open-Division in 2012 and 2013) Making Olympia debuts: Cambal (a European rookie), Cambronero (a Costa Rican rookie), Clarida (a former WNBF Pro competitor), Watson (a CBBF Canadian champ), and rookies Jun Ho and Won Kang (of the rising Korean contingent).

In the other divisions, the reigning champions: Physique Olympia Champion IFBB Pro Jeremy Buendia (who will likely be challenged by Sadik Hadzovic), 4-time Figure Olympia Champion IFBB Pro Nicole Wilkins, Fitness Olympia Champion IFBB Pro Oksana Grishina, and 2-time Bikini Olympia Champion IFBB Pro Ashley Kaltwasser.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: In the Open Division, Phil Heath (a former collegiate basketball player) will likely retain his Mr. Olympia title at the "Super Bowl of bodybuilding." There is chatter about Big Ramy's massiveness, Dennis Wolf's persistence and Roelly Winklaar's improvement. One who impresses me -- whose blend of musculature and classic flow could earn gold -- is "Flexatron" Shawn Rhoden. In the Lightweight Class, the Welshman Flex Lewis is likely to repeat as Olympia 212 Showdown Champion. Nipping at his heels is "Boston Mass" Jose Raymond, winner of the Arnold Classic's second-ever 212 contest (Lewis won the inaugural 212-Division contest in 2014). Someone who has impressed me -- although it's too early to know if his classic proportions will be rewarded at this level -- is newcomer Alex Cambronero.

The Olympia Expo hosts a multitude of demos and competitions: armwrestling, boxing, jiu jitsu, karate, kettle-bell, kickboxing, weightlifting, mixed martial arts (MMA), kung fu, powerlifting, taekwondo, WCO World Calisthenics Organization Battle of the Bars, CrossFit, wrestling, obstacle course, and strongman (featuring WSM World's Strongest Man competitors). Bodybuilding's most prestigious contest will add to the legacy of Mr. Olympia titleholders, among them: IFBB Pro Larry Scott, IFBB Pro Sergio Oliva, IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger, IFBB Pro Franco Columbu, IFBB Pro Frank Zane, IFBB Pro Lee Haney, IFBB Pro Dorian Yates, and IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman.

A live webcast of the Olympia Weekend events will be hosted by retired IFBB Pro Dennis James, who recently expressed sentiments to his departed friend and contest-prep client who will miss the festivities, saying: "Baito Abbaspour, the 212 Olympia Showdown this year just won't be the same without you. Your spirit will be with all of us in Las Vegas, and you will never be forgotten. R.I.P. Champ!"