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

The Scoop: Just Announced: This week, following the crowning of the new Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Phil Heath (current MUSCLE INK Magazine cover athlete) over 4-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, the IFBB Pro League management released an Advisory Notice dated September 21, 2011, which announced new stipulations for athletes to qualify to compete at the premier event of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness -- Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend. The notice, signed by IFBB Chairman Jim Manion, reads as follows:

NEW OLYMPIA QUALIFYING RULES
After meetings held during the Olympia Weekend and following further discussions between IFBB Professional League and Mr. Olympia LLC, beginning 2012, only the following competitors will qualify for the Olympia:

1. Top four in each division at the Olympia
2. Top three in each division at the Arnold Classic/International
3. Top two in each division at the New York Pro
4. First place at all other competitions

The top four in each division at the 2011 Olympia will qualify for the 2012 Olympia. The remaining 2011 competitions are not affected.

The "So What?": As noted in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," prior to the newly announced change, the Top 3 finishers in most IFBB Pro League contests would qualify to compete at Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend -- with the exception of the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships, the New York Pro Bodybuilding Championships and the Olympia itself, which had previously qualified the Top 6 contestants.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: The announcement comes in a year with an increased number of new events added to the IFBB Pro League contest schedule. Reaction from fans and IFBB Pro card-carrying athletes is split. Some wonder if the decreased number of Olympia qualifications disadvantages second and third-tier pro athletes and forces them to compete more often, while others view the change as assurance that only the best of the best physiques make it to the Olympia -- the "Super Bowl of bodybuilding" -- which, in the Open Bodybuilding Division, has produced Sandow trophy-holding Mr. Olympia greats like IFBB Pro Larry Scott, IFBB Pro Sergio Oliva, IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger, IFBB Pro Franco Columbu, IFBB Pro Frank Zane, IFBB Pro Samir Bannout, IFBB Pro Lee Haney, IFBB Pro Dorian Yates, IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman, IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson.

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