Expanded Event Coverage/Contest Results
THE OLYMPIA 202 SHOWDOWN: 9/27/08 10:30 am
HENRY WINS BATTLE OF THE HUMBLE GIANTS IN OLYMPIA'S FIRST 202 SHOWDOWN
At the Las Vegas Convention Center, during the Olympia Weekend Expo,
there was a battle of epic proportions '" proportions being the
operative word. Bodybuilders who are smaller in stature but not heart
or muscle warred like giants for the title of champion of the Olympia's
inaugural 202 Showdown.
The competitors, who weigh 202
pounds or less, pre-qualified at 202 Division contests at the various
pro shows throughout the year. They included:
Top 3 Finishers:
David Henry, 5'5", 202 lbs., was crowned the 1st place champion. He's a
crossover competitor who also faced off with the big boys at the main
Mr. Olympia contest (where he would finish 15th). Henry overwhelmed
his competitors in the 202 Showdown with his mountainous Most Muscular
pose and top-notch conditioning that resulted in striated glutes that
feathered all the way up through his hips. Though there was a technical
difficulty with his posing music, the routing was salvaged by the fact
that he nearly did a full split on stage.
Kevin English, 5'4", 202 lbs., 2nd
place, is another crossover competitor in the Mr. Olympia contest
(where he would place 16th) Flexing at the previous night's prejudging
for the Mr O. must have helped, because definition was deeply cut into
all the muscles on his body. "Beef and nails" with an invisible waist
on an ABC (Aesthetic Bodybuilders Club) member. He also does a nice
Victory pose a la Sergio Oliva.
James "Flex" Lewis, 5'5", 198 lbs.,
3rd place, has big delts in his Most Muscular pose. Flex possesses
great leg development and incredible calves. He made it a point to show
off his striated glutes several times during his routine.
The remaining Top 6 Placers (in alphabetical order):
Jason Arntz, 5'5", 202 lbs., rolled in the joint on thick wheels. He
has an impressive V-taper and etched abs on a tight midsection. He
could use glute striations, but the guy knows how to hit the perfect
smile on each pose, making it appear he's having fun.
George Farah, 5'6", 200 lbs., has
been competing as a pro for eight years. He appeared lean, but a tad
more thickness in the back and shape in the shoulders might have made
him more memorable.
Rashid "Roc" Shabazz, 5'5", 202,
wisely utilized his connections to have 8-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie
Coleman, in a surprise appearance, escort him to the stage
"Rocky-Balboa-style." When he removed his boxer's robe, he revealed a
In a major slight, one of my new
favorite bodybuilders personality-wise, for the way he handled my
interview at the Meet the Olympians event, Charles Ray Arde was not
part of the first Call Out or the Top 6. This, despite appearing
massive, with tremendous calves and glute-hamstring tie-ins. Other
honorable mentions include: Tricky Jackson (great quads; incredible,
exciting posing) and Jaroslav Horvath (good V-taper; nice, classic
All in all, the so-called "little
men" put on a big show, setting the stage for a likely return of this
new event at future Olympia Weekends.
MR. OLYMPIA FINALS: 9/27/08 7:00 pm
DEXTER DETHRONES THE DOMINANCE OF DIEHARD MASS
By Andrew Oye
September 27, 2008 marks the 10th consecutive year that the Olympia has
been held in Las Vegas, and the first contest in 14 years where 8-time
champ Ronnie Coleman was not a competitor in the Mr. Olympia contest.
The show opened with usual pomp and
circumstance. Host Bob Cicherillo launched into speeches about
champions and valor and whatnot. After all, the theme for the 2008
Olympia Weekend was "Where Legends Are Made." Indeed a legendary, and
according to some '" long-overdue, moment was made when Dexter Jackson
was crowned Mr. Olympia.
A contest that had come to be known
as a Giant's Territory or a Mass Monster's Domain had, finally,
recognized a member of the ABC (Aesthetic Bodybuilders Club) again.
With certain faces (and bodies) missing from the lineup, the event
seemed poised to bring about change. With the lingering vapor of change
in the air, given the constant reference to the concept in the upcoming
presidential election, it seems both the nation at large and the
bodybuilding nation are ready for change.
The arena's big screens featured
cool, hardcore, music-video-style clips that displayed the
personalities of the competitors and introduced each athlete as he took
to the stage.
Red seemed to be the color of the
night. The stage was set with backlighting that illuminated big letters
that spelled OLYMPIA with a fiery glow. About half of the competitors
wore posing trunks in various shades of red, perhaps representing the
blood shed to make it to the Big Show; meanwhile, sweat and tears
rolled off their bodies under the heat of the stage lights and the
press toward victory.
The blood, sweat and tears were all
poured into the routines that were performed that night. Highlights
included: Darrem Charles dazzled with his usual grace during his classy
routine. Marvelous Melvin Anthony put on a pulse-pounding routine that
included his signature "Matrix-style" backbend. Big Sergey Shelestov
did a full split in his posing routine. Phil Heath did numerous fist
pumps to rile up the crowd. Navy vet Leo Ingram ended his routine with
a salute. Kevin English, Ronny Rockel and Dennis Wolf all opened their
routines with sweeping, heroic, film-soundtrack style music. With a
smile, Jay Cutler ended his routine with a clip of the song "Three is a
Magic Number" '" a hint about a possible "three-peat" performance?
Following the crowning of Jennifer
Gates as Ms. Figure Olympia, the fans got the answer to the burning
question. Was change possible? Could there be a shift back to rewarding
the ABC physique?
After nearly a decade of pounding
at Joe Weider's door, opportunity finally answered and she had a Sandow
with Dexter's name on it in her hands. At 5'6", 235 lbs., Dexter "The
Blade" Jackson was crowned 2008 Mr. Olympia. Jackson defeated a field
of 18 other competitors '" only three of which (English, Henry, Rockel)
were shorter and weighed less than him (note: Samuel weighs less but is
slightly taller). The land of slain giants included 5'9", 270-pound,
two-time champ and incumbent title-holder Jay Cutler, who placed 2nd
in the big show. Crowd favorite Phil "The Gift" Heath finished 3rd at
his Olympia debut.
The remaining Top 6 roster included
Germany's Dennis Wolf in 4th place, USA's Toney Freeman in 5th place
and USA's Melvin Anthony in 6th place.
Prior to the show, many forecasters
and fans had predicted that Cutler would take the crown for a third
consecutive time, for no other reason than the formulaic, ritualistic
pattern of "re-crowning" incumbents regardless of other competitors'
physical reflection of, or resemblance to, the ideal male bodybuilder
physique. Following a dominance of diehard mass that lasted 16 years,
(through the reigns of Yates, Coleman and Cutler), Jackson represents
the first Mr. Olympia in 23 years to weigh less than 250 pounds since
In his acceptance speech, Jackson
thanked his parents who had never been to the event before and for
giving him the genetics that made him a champion.
Here's my final analysis.
Jay Cutler displayed better conditioning than he did last year, yet
something about his physique reads as hulking and cumbersome. For my
taste, Toney Freeman and Dennis Wolf possess ABC physiques with a flow
that reads as imposing yet refined. It's a distinct structure with
action-figure proportions: broad, round-capped shoulders; full,
delineated pecs; narrow waists decorated with rippled abs. In profile,
their upper and middle back thickness protrude, forming a sway in the
lower back that is further enhanced by bulbous glutes, strong haunches
with flaring quads.
These are the athletes one wants to
see in tights and a cape with an S (or, in Toney's case, an X) on their
chests. These are superheroes. The prototypes for the action-hero toys
you grew up with. The model for the Sandow trophy that is the ultimate
prize of their sport.
Indeed, the height of Freeman and
Wolf adds to this combo of svelte frame with swollen muscle in just the
right places. Yet, Phil Heath, Dexter Jackson and Silvio Samuel
represent a somewhat similar ideal bodybuilder physique in more compact
That is why these men rank high
among bodybuilding's best. They are the now and the next, the future of
the Muscle Stage. One shouldn't begrudge any champion his title. For
that night, he earned it. But on a new night, in a new time, when a
new man emerges with the new standard, gladly step aside and allow him
to take his victory throne'