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The Item: IFBB Pro League News, Division Updates, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Just Announced: This week, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB Pro League) management released an Advisory Notice dated May 10, 2011, which announced that the 202 Division will see the weight limit increase from 202 pounds to 212 pounds. The change will officially take effect in November 2011 at the IFBB Sacramento Pro Bodybuilding Championships in California.

The "So What?": As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," the IFBB Pro League reintroduced a pro-level, lighter-weight division at the 2007 Europa SuperShow in Dallas, Texas, with the 210 and Under Class. This class transitioned into the 202 and Under Class in 2008. Since then, the League has crowned an Olympia 202 Showdown Champion three times: IFBB Pro David Henry (2008) and IFBB Pro Kevin English (2009 and 2010). Before the latest change takes effect, a final 202 Showdown Champion will be named at the 2011 Olympia in Las Vegas (September 16). At Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend, this Lightweight Division names a separate champion from the Open Division, which, of course, crowns winners of the Mr. Olympia Championships who hold the official title of Mr. Olympia.

Mr. Olympia titleholders include 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). Note: For a period between 1974-1979, the Olympia staged contests with both a Heavyweight Class and a Lightweight Class, and these events ended with the crowning of a single Overall Champion. Yesteryear's Lightweight Class produced Overall Champs Columbu and Zane, and its contenders included names like IFBB Pro Robby Robinson, IFBB Pro Tom Platz, IFBB Pro Boyer Coe, IFBB Pro Danny Padilla, IFBB Pro Albert Beckles, IFBB Pro Ed Corney, IFBB Pro Mohamed Makkawy and IFBB Pro Bill Grant.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: The timing of this announcement is interesting. Recently, several 202 Division competitors have stated interest in or plans to bump up in weight and infiltrate the Open Division, including English and Henry (who both have already competed in the Olympia's Open-Division contest in previous years), as well as IFBB Pro Eduardo Correa, IFBB Pro Flex Lewis, IFBB Pro Seth Feroce and IFBB Pro Jose Raymond.

The 212 Division potentially opens opportunities for Open-Division competitors (built similar to IFBB Pro Ronny Rockel or IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi) who are not quite as heavy as the super-massive competitors and have, heretofore, hit a wall when trying to break into the Top 3 in modern-era Olympia contests. Meanwhile, the lighter IFBB Pro League athletes considering the jump to the Open Division probably don't want to miss the opportunities available to Open-Division competitors for other prestigious titles like the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships, which has yet to incorporate a separate Lightweight Division contest.

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