Myron Mielke's 2008 Mr. Olympia Prejudging Review!

Most tidbits were based on speculation and opinion. Other than Wolf having a sunken face like a skeleton... Here's my review of the men's prejudging. Who will come out on top?

dotted line
2008 Mr. Olympia Judging Review
dotted line

The doors of the Orleans Arena opened at 6:00 p.m. The Presidential debate was about to start also. I had to make a decision. Bodybuilding or the debate? With apologies to Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama and without hesitation I chose the biggest bodybuilding event in the world.

I spent Friday afternoon at the Olympia Expo talking to people who had been at the press conference on Thursday to see if they had any clues to how the athletes would look during the judging. Most tidbits were based on speculation and opinion. Other than Wolf having a sunken face like a skeleton, I had no other clues to reveal the conditioning of the athletes.

The crowd began to trickle in slowly at 6:00 p.m. and the seats started to fill up quickly when it got closer to 7:00 p.m. The Mr. Olympia theme song began resonating throughout the Orleans Arena promptly at 7:00 p.m. and a hush went through the crowd as everyone waited in anticipation for the competitors to take the stage.

Press Conference
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
At The Press Conference.

When the announcer's voice came over the speaker and stated that the women's events would be held first, the crowd let out a small sigh. Oh well, it just made the anticipation grow a little more. (More on those shows later; this article's about the big boys.)

Sad Beginning

Steve Stone, the head Olympia expeditor and NPC Chairman was given a moment of silence in honor of his sudden death, which occurred at the Olympia Expo on Friday afternoon. (Shortly before the judging I saw George Farah walking through the lobby at the Orleans Hotel. He said he had just found out that Steve had passed away. He was very upset.)

After that solemn moment the show was under way. "The show must go on. That's the way Steve would have wanted it." Bob C. said and the Olympia was on its way.

One At A Time

Each competitor filed out on stage by themselves to do eight mandatory poses. They changed it back from the one minute of free posing they had last year. Competitor number one was Toney Freeman.

dot Toney Freeman dot

    Toney dialed it in this year. He was in fantastic shape and sporting some of the tightest hamstrings in the show. No repeat of 2007 for Toney this year. The X-Man was going to be taken seriously.

    The four guys everyone was waiting to see were Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, Dennis Wolf and, of course, the big man himself, Jay Cutler. Phil Heath was number 11 and was the first of the four to make their way to the stage.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.

dot Phil Heath dot

    Heath looked good and was very full and dry, but I thought he was a tad sharper at his Iron Man win, but it could have been the difference in lighting between the two shows.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 Olympia.

dot Dexter Jackson dot

    Dexter Jackson was number 15 and he strolled out in his usual slow manner. Dexter looked great, but I didn't think he was as sharp as I've seen him in the past. Dexter has great shape and separation. Without seeing him standing next to Heath, I still had Dexter ahead of Heath.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.

dot Dennis Wolf dot

    When Dennis Wolf's name was announced the crowd went wild. He has gained a tremendous amount of fans in the last year. Wolf's Skeleton face was an indication that he was shredded and dry. He had a very grainy look and was the most conditioned guy in the show, but I think he overdid it and he looked stringy and tired. His lower back showed more detail and thickness.

    His hamstrings were much improved and tight and, well, everything else was tight too. He was just thinner looking. If he would have had more carbs in him, Wolf would have been looking at a possible Olympia title.

Dennis Wolf Dennis Wolf
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dennis Wolf At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dennis Wolf At The 2008 Olympia.

dot Jay Cutler dot

    Taking the stage last was the current champion, Jay Cutler. He came out wearing the turquoise trunks that brought back memories of 2001. Jay wasn't in his 2001 form, but he did look good. He was HUGE! Jay's chest looked a little flat but he was really wide and thick.

    His conditioning was okay. Not as bad as last year, but not as good as 2006 either. He definitely wasn't grainy like the big bad Wolf. I also like Jay's color better than the last two years. He no longer looked muddy, but he had a good even tan and his cuts and lines were easier to see.

Jay Cutler Jay Cutler
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Jay Cutler At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Jay Cutler At The 2008 Olympia.

The Call Outs

Now the big surprise of the night: Wolf did not make the first call out. That's right. What a shock! Toney Freeman made the first one along with Heath, Dexter and Cutler. Toney was in such good shape that it didn't surprise me either.

Hamstrings are the one muscle group that is always an indicator of one's conditioning. Toney's hamstrings were amazing. I thought Toney was fourth in this call out right behind Heath, Dexter and Jay. Even though Jay's conditioning wasn't the best in the lineup, I though his combination of mass and cuts made him the winner.

Dexter and Jay stepped back and they brought up Dennis Wolf and Melvin Anthony. Silvio Samuel was then added to the mix. These comparisons allowed Dennis Wolf to finally stand to next to Phil Heath. This was the moment we all had been waiting for. And what a surprise. I was expecting Dennis to totally dwarf Phil, but he didn't.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Olympia.

Like I said earlier, Wolf looked drawn out and tired and Phil looked really full. I actually liked Wolf's graininess and his sleek look, but thought Phil did outclass him. Phil had a very polished look. Dennis was depleted. If Dennis is filled up, I'm not so sure I'd give Heath the nod.

It was close between Silvio and Melvin. Both have great physiques. Both have strengths and weaknesses. It was hard to compare the two and then having to put Freeman thrown into that too, made it difficult for the judges. Talk about comparing apples, oranges, and bananas.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Olympia.

Phil Heath stepped back and Jay Cutler was but back into the line-up. Toney Freeman went back to the wings and Dexter made his way back. Dennis was standing right next to Jay. As they went pose for pose, Wolf started looking very tired. Dexter started looking a little tire too and Jay was getting a little winded as well.

After those initial call outs there were several more involving Dennis James, Johnnie Jackson, Moe El Moussawi, Silvio, Gustavo, Darrem and Melvin. These looked like the comparisons for the possible top ten.

Dennis James Dennis James
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dennis James At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dennis James At The 2008 Olympia.

Gustavo was not as sharp as he has been in the past. Johnnie Jackson was a little smooth. Moe was pretty sharp, but I think his Iron Man showing was better. Dennis James was in good condition, but he looked like he was having difficulty controlling his midsection.

Moe Elmoussawi Moe Elmoussawi
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Moe Elmoussawi At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Moe Elmoussawi At The 2008 Olympia.

Last Men Standing

The final comparison might have been a foreshadowing of the final five. In the last call out of the evening there was Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, Dexter Jackson, Dennis Wolf, and Toney Freeman.

Jay was clearly the biggest and Dennis was the grainiest. Phil and Dexter were very comparable and Toney was holding his own for at least fifth. He might even be higher based on everyone's showing at the final's tomorrow night.

2008 Olympia
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
The Final Comparison Might Have Been
A Foreshadowing Of The Final Five.

Final Notes

I was so confident in my picks for this show that I was tempted to write this article before the show began and then go sit at the black jack tables until the judging was over and then submit the story after I confirmed I was right.

Well, the first call out threw me for a loop when Freeman was in it and Wolf was not. As the night progressed I still thought my original picks of Cutler in first, Dexter in second, Heath in third and then Wolf in fourth were correct. Freeman looks like he might be in fifth instead Melvin.

Sixth through tenth will be Samuel, Dennis James, Charles, Moe and maybe Johnnie Jackson. Things could very well change by Saturday night as these guys make adjustments to try to move up a placing or two.

The show is not over. Definitely not. Many things could change. Wolf, for instance, might load up on carbs and look like a different bodybuilder. Jay might come in a bit sharper again too just to solidify things.