Jay Cutler Make Olympia History... Dexter Takes Third!
Jay Cutler made Olympia history tonight when he defeated Branch Warren and Dexter Jackson to become the only man to ever regain the title after losing it.
This morning at breakfast and during the 202 showdown judging and at the Expo I asked a few people who they thought should win. Jay Cutler was the overwhelming favorite and he proved that his fans were accurate.
Without a lot of introductory fluff this time, I'm going to get right into it.
Top 15 - Routines
Starting with the Top-15 routines
Branch Warren was the first competitor to pose during the evening. He started the routine to the soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian after a few minutes of solemn muscle shots he changed this up with music and the crowd came alive. Branch knew he had hit his mark at the Olympia and did his famous thigh shake and slap, which the crowd loved of course. Conditioning-wise he was able to hold onto it from the judging last night.
Hidetada Yamagishi was in the top 15 this year. He has made steady improvement over the last few years and I think this was his best showing so far and he knew it.
A number of people saw Victor in sixth place after the judging. I really thought he had lost too much ground and the competition was too tough for him to place any higher than sixth. I also thought that if Victor came in much sharper tonight at the finals, the fans who did not see the judging would be upset when Victor would be announced in sixth.
Victor started with some back shots to some music and he wasn't getting the crowd reaction I've heard for him in past years. He was about the same condition as the judging. The crowd came alive with his most muscular at the end of his routine. He combined some crab shots with a little pectoral dance.
The Marvelous One, Melvin Anthony started out in his usual slow style showing off exceptional muscle control, especially in his back. Then he flipped the switch to the lock-and-pop stuff he's known so well for. He did the electric bounce that his mentor, John Brown taught him. Melvin's a very good student too.
Ronnie Rockel has improved his posing ability. He's still a little stiff and needs to let go a bit and just have fin with it. He appears to be thinking what pose comes next. When he started hitting crowd shots to each side of the stage he seemed much more at ease. His conditioning was still holding. This was his best Olympia showing.
Markus Ruhl, the man who's biceps I could see from the back of the Mandalay Bay in 2004, took the Olympia stage once again. The crowd loves this freak and it was great to see him back at the "O." His shoulder width is always a sight to behold. When he walked by my wife and I in the hallway at the Orleans yesterday, I said, "That's Markus Ruhl - six feet tall and seven feet wide!"
Kai Greene made his first appearance with the braid down. He looked like an ancient warrior or a pro wrestler from the 1980s whose name I can't remember. His routine was mild compared to many of the ones he has performed in the past.
Jay Cutler took his contest prep very seriously this year and you could tell on stage that he wanted his title back. In the sport of bodybuilding there really isn't much you can do to really come across that strong, but Jay is a seasoned Olympia champion and he was very relaxed on stage and played to the crowd. Being the hometown favorite never hurts either.
During one of the ab and thigh pose comparisons with Dexter last night he stomped his foot and striations shot through his thighs. It was very impressive. It almost overshadowed Dexter tight, little, six-pack abs.
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Jay Cutler came out for the finals looking like a man who wanted nothing more than to regain his title. The crowd was behind him and his fan base was in the house! He was large, in charge and dialed in. This was the best I've seen Jay - even better than 2006. And did I say the crowd loved him?
Dennis James looked to be a bit sharper than the judging last night. He still never looks as good as his two-weeks-out photos taken in a tank top at the gym when he's pumped up.
Toney Freeman was off the mark from last year. My wife, Rosemarie, pointed out that he was wearing some ugly mustard-colored trunks during the medals of participation time in the beginning of the show. He put on some sparkly gold-colored ones for his routine, but other colors look better on Toney. My wife has a good eye for those sort of things.
Moe Elmoussawi posed to the music that is played every time you see knights or medieval warriors in battle. Both my wife and I thought Moe was sharper at the judging last night. His vascularity was still good but he was holding some water. His music choice at the end of his routine could have been better.
Silvio Samuel was not totally peeled like last year, but he's still more ripped than most guys in the show tonight. That makes a statement on his conditioning last year. Silvio is still bottom-heavy and needs to stop training his legs a bit, eat some more and grow his upper body to match his legs.
If you happened to see my video preview and article preview this year, you saw I picked Phil Heath to win the 2009 Mr. Olympia. When I saw Phil fading at the end of the judging last night. I thought, "Oh well, maybe I'll get it right next year!"
Phil, ah, filled up over night and looked full again at the finals. He was still pretty sharp too. The crowd loved him and, next to Cutler, he had the loudest reception from the crowd.
Gustavo Badell, who was wearin' some slick sideburns, was not back to his old form from 2004 and 2005 but he did look good. He mixed in some Latin moves into his routine. His fans seemed to like it.
Dexter Jackson took the stage last as is the tradition for the reigning Mr. Olympia. He again was consistent. I don't think I've ever seen him out of shape, but in my opinion, he was just a tiny bit sharper at the judging last night. If the crowd-loudness meter was on, Dexter would have taken third behind Phil and Jay. Jay won the crowd-loudness meter award. (Just to make sure everyone knows - I'm kidding they did not really give out that award.)
Dexter Jackson looked like Dexter Jackson. He always looks great, but never really changes that much. I thought his upper body looked a tad bigger and he was a little sharper than last year, but his legs looked the same and they looked thin compared to Cutler's and Warren's.
After the routines were completed the Figure Olympia competitors were introduced. I took the opportunity to go back stage for a few minutes. Cutler was sitting and looking very intense, but relaxed. Most of the competitors were just waiting around waiting for something to happen. They had a little while to wait too because the guys from the 202 class were pumping up and getting ready to take the stage.
All of the 202 competitors were introduced after the Figure Olympia girls left the stage. (You can read my full report on the judging elsewhere on this site.) It was great to see each guy recognized on the Orleans Arena stage this year. Last year both the judging and finals were combined into one event at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year it was split with the judging conducted at the convention center and the awards were given on the main Olympia stage.
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Ed Correa was announced as the first finalist. Mark Dugdale was announced next and followed by Kevin English. David Henry was next and the fifth and final spot was Flex Lewis. That's who I thought would be in the top-five spots. The final five were put through one more round of mandatory poses.
Go Figure Again
Another switch was made on stage as the Figure Olympia girls returned for the two-piece round. It definitely breaks things up a bit with several shows going on at once. Overall it was flowing very smoothly. That's good planning and hats off to all the backstage hands for making things run on time without down time.
Erin Stern was announced in sixth place. Fifth place went to Amy Fry. The fourth place award went to Kristal Richardson. Third was awarded to Heather Mae French. The tension rose as the second place finisher was announced. The runner-up was Gina Aliotti.
The title of the 2009 Figure Olympia and $28,000 was given to Nicole Wilkins Lee and my wife was very excited because she had her pegged as the winner. Nicole came in at ninth place last year. Hmmm... another Olympia champion went from ninth to first in one year. Anyone remember who that was? (Hint: He won eight titles and loves barbecue sauce.)
202 Showdown Final Placings
Fifth Place - Flex Lewis
Fourth Place - Mark Dugdale
Third Place - Eduardo Correa
Second Place - David Henry
First Place - Kevin English
Kevin was a deserving champion, but it was unfortunate that many in the crowd did not view the judging at the convention center and thought David Henry might repeat as winner. Kevin English clearly was the winner and the judging was spot on.
Just For Fun
Stone Cold Steve Austin, the current coverman of Muscle and Fitness, came up to the podium and almost laid a whoopin' on Bob C. for blowing his introduction. He gave kudos to his weightlifting background (along with the beer drinking). Having a WWE celebrity brings more of a mainstream feel to the event. The crowd was treated to a preview clip of Steve's new movie, Damage.
Top Ten Announced
- Branch Warren
- Hidetada Yamagishi
- Victor Martinez
- Ronny Rockel
- Kai Greene
- Jay Cutler
- Toney Freeman
- Moe El Moussawi
- Phil Heath
- Dexter Jackson
Places 10 through seven were announced which narrowed the field to six. In tenth place was Moe El Moussawi. Ninth place went to Hidetada Yamagishi. Coming in eighth was Toney Freeman. The audience was in disagreement with that decision. Ronny Rockel came in at seventh place and that is his best placing to date.
The top six came to center stage for the final mandatory poses. Branch was moved next to Dexter for a second series of mandatory's. These guys were giving all they had for every mandatory pose and then it was on to the pose down. The crowd really loved it and they kept posing and posing. For a while every one of the guys was following Jay around the stage.
Bodybuilding.com's own Kris Gethin was called to the podium with Bob and he gave his take on who he thought was going to win. He thought it would be Cutler with Branch in third. Kris announced that Jay Cutler was the Fan's Choice Award.
The top-six placings were finally announced...
Sixth Place and $30,000 - Victor Martinez
Fifth Place and $48,000 - Phil Heath
Fourth Place and $50,000 - Kai Greene
Third Place and $75,000 - Dexter Jackson
Second Place and $100,000 - Branch Warren
First Place and $200,000 - Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler did what no other Mr. Olympia has done. He regained the title after losing it. He came back strong and obtained an unbelievable feat by really dialing it in and showing the true champion that he is. Many people wrote him off this year, but Jay proved them all wrong.
He made history and gave the fans the best and most exciting Mr. Olympia in its history! Congratulations, Jay! You've got a little gas left in the tank and your fans hope you go for a fourth title. Place that third Sandow Trophy on your shelf knowing you really, really earned it.
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