David Robson's 2009 Mr. Olympia Top 10 Preview!

The winning spot is no longer a forgone conclusion and promises a thrilling show. Here are my predictions for the 2009 Mr. Olympia top ten. Learn more.

With its likely inclusion in the top six of the more massive competitors alongside those displaying greater shape and superior structure, each competitor from each grouping equally on target for the top three, or better yet, winner status, this year's Mr. Olympia could be history making.

The uncertainty it presents with conflicting bodybuilding trends clashing could see either type of physique (mass versus shape) dominate the final standings should conditioning be the final means of separation.

Of the current IFBB bodybuilding elite, the prevailing trend suggests that - in contrast to the previous two decades - shape, size and an ultra hard appearance, rather than outright mass with adequate shape and conditioning, will win come September 26.

However, with an equal mix of massive and aesthetically pleasing competitors in the top order, this year's winner will likely need to provide something unprecedentedly huge and balanced for the judges, something never before seen on an Olympia stage.

This Year's Winner Will Likely Need To Provide Something Unprecedentedly Huge And Balanced For The Judges.
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This Year's Winner Will Likely Need To Provide Something
Unprecedentedly Huge And Balanced For The Judges.

With huge competitors such as current Arnold Classic champ Kai Greene, last year's fourth place finisher Dennis Wolf and two-time winner Jay Cutler on one side and shape monsters in the form of current Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson, touted victor Phil Heath and additional frontrunner Victor Martinez himself on the other, the battle for top six is shaping to be an exciting one, and a very difficult one to predict.

But let's not forget a man who combines size and shape with near-perfect proportion - Toney Freeman - who could surprise many should he bring his best conditioning with a little more size to fill his large frame. And with the ultra-hard Silvio Samuel, perennial top-six competitor Melvin Anthony and the massive Dennis James in the mix, the top ten is stacked like no Olympia in its 44-year history.

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As 2008 showed, no longer can a current Mr. O arrive on contest day and expect to retain his title with little or no improvement on his previous best.

With the field wide open, as it now is, the winning spot is no longer a forgone conclusion and such unpredictability makes for a thrilling show and picking the top ten a complex and painstaking task. Regardless, here are my predictions for the 2009 Mr. Olympia top ten.

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Top 10 Predictions
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dot Tenth Place: Dennis James dot

    Having won his last two pro bodybuilding shows - the 2009 Europa and Tampa Bay events - albeit against a narrow field of competitors, Dennis James has shown that after ten years' competing against the world's best he is still able to present a huge physique with good, though not excellent, proportions and great conditioning.

    However, the Olympia is an altogether completely different story and though he has placed as high as fourth (in 2003) the competition this time around is a massive step above that particular line-up. Expect Dennis to place tenth in 2009.

Dennis James At The 2008 Olympia. Dennis James At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dennis James At The 2008 Olympia.
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dot Ninth Place: Silvio Samuel dot

    Mr. Consistency in conditioning, Silvio, though routinely presenting spectacular shape and freaky size on his small frame, and undoubtedly a fan favorite for said qualities, will be completely out of his depth at this years Mr. O.

    Should he present an even more ripped look, which would make him a veritable anatomy chart in comparison to his already paper-thin appearance, he probably cannot counter his size and overall shape (narrow back and thick abdominal region, primarily) deficits, a problem that will prevent him from surpassing his main competition in the very attributes needed to place high in a current day Mr. Olympia contest.

Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Olympia. Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Olympia.
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Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Olympia.
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dot Eighth Place: Melvin Anthony dot

    Featuring the extremely well balanced and perfectly presented Melvin Anthony outside the top six of this year's Mr. Olympia final standings says more about the unprecedented quality of competition this show has than the man himself.

    Displaying flawless posing skills and, when he brings on-point conditioning, one of the most impressive physiques in pro bodybuilding Melvin has been knocking on the door of the Olympia top three for several years.

    Unfortunately that door has well and truly been bolted shut with a new breed of massive, yet shapely and symmetrical competitor having emerged over recent years.

Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Olympia. Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Olympia.
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Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Olympia.
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    With erratic conditioning and, one suspects, fulfilment of his pro bodybuilding potential, Melvin will likely place eighth at this year's Olympia.

dot Seventh Place: Toney Freeman dot

    One man who has all the qualities to win an Olympia, but probably never will, is Toney Freeman. Blessed with great proportions, including pro bodybuilding's most impressive X-Frame, and some of the best leg and back development the sport has ever seen, Toney has been racking up the wins over recent years.

    However, his erratic conditioning and lack of X-Factor (a quality men like Phil Heath and Dennis Wolf have) and the freaky Ronnie-like size we would expect from a man of his height, Toney, though always in the running, is unlikely to place top six at this year's event.

Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia. Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.
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Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.
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dot Sixth Place: Dennis Wolf dot

    Picked as future Mr. Olympia by many, Germany's Dennis Wolf certainly has the size attributes and ability to achieve razor conditioning needed to fulfil this prediction should he improve a few key areas, most notably his lower back and calves.

    Placing fifth and fourth respectively at the 2007 and 2008 Mr. Olympia competitions, Dennis is working his way up the rankings to where he should some day win the title. If sheer impressiveness, gargantuan size and imposing presence were the sole criteria by which Mr. Olympia competitors were judged, he would have won his debut in 2007.

Dennis Wolf At The 2008 Olympia. Dennis Wolf At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dennis Wolf At The 2008 Olympia.
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    When faced with competition as featured below, however, one has to pay their dues with multiple appearances. That said, with Ronnie gone look for Dennis Wolf to dwarf his competition come this year's Olympia and to secure that coveted Sandow in the not too distant future.

dot Fifth Place: Jay Cutler dot

    Having been all but written off as far as securing his third Olympia victory in 2009, '06 and '07 champ Jay Cutler is never one to be counted out and should he bring improvements in conditioning to better the physique he presented in '07 and '08 where, glaringly off his best form, he received some of the biggest gifts ever seen in the pro bodybuilding ranks (first and second place Olympia checks), he will be in the race for the final standings.

    However, with a decade of Olympia competition behind him, and some of his best form witnessed two to three years into his assault on the title, Jay could be guilty of trying too hard for too long and time could be closing in on his potential as a top pro.

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    His greatest assets being freaky size, and his biggest weaknesses being his blocky structure and erratic conditioning, Jay is now attempting to dethrone a man who goes by the name The Blade and has one of the best proportioned physiques in the game.

    It's a tough ask for anyone, even a champion as great as Cutler. But before he can defeat Dexter, Jay, in facing another monumental challenge, will have three more shape monsters to contend with: Kai Greene, Victor Martinez and Phil Heath, each brimming over the Mr. Olympia potential and the goods to win the world's biggest pro show on any given day.

Jay Cutler At The 2008 Olympia. Jay Cutler At The 2008 Olympia.
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Jay Cutler At The 2008 Olympia.
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    With the competition having closed in on Cutler, it is difficult, at this point and at least on paper, to place him anywhere other than fifth. His name and reputation as a former champ coupled with his overwhelming size and, should he nail it, his conditioning, could, however, see him fighting for the winner's spot. That's pro bodybuilding.

dot Fourth Place: Kai Greene dot

    Another man touted to win the Olympia at some point (actually all competitors featured in the top six of this preview could probably win it on any given day) is 2009 Arnold Classic and Australian Grand Prix winner Kai Greene.

    Known for his ability to defy the critics and surprise everyone with major improvements from show to show, one should never, from this point on, rule Kai out of any pro contest he enters.

    One of the larger competitors other than Cutler and Wolf to likely be fighting for the top six at this year's Olympia, Kai presents great proportions and some of the sharpest detail ever seen on an IFBB pro physique.

    Due in large part to the impressive size he has managed to cloak his smaller frame with and the extreme conditioning he is able to achieve, Greene looks to be carved in all the right places with an extra large sculptor's chisel.

Kai Greene At The 2009 Arnold Classic. Kai Greene At The 2009 Arnold Classic.
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Kai Greene At The 2009 Arnold Classic.
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    Deep separation aside, he also has the kind of dynamic stage presence and magnetism that captures the judges' attention. Couple these qualities with a tremendously well-balanced physique, which flows beautifully with no one muscle group overshadowing the other, and you have a recipe for championship status.

    Should either Victor or Heath screw up in the conditioning department (highly unlikely though it may seem), look for Kai to directly challenge Dexter for the title of 2009 Mr. Olympia.

dot Third Place: Victor Martinez dot

    Should he arrive at the 2009 Mr. O at 100 percent, showing a slight improvement on his 2007 attempt (where he placed a controversial second - many thought he should have won over Jay Cutler), Victor Martinez will be crowned champion: he is that good.

    Physical perfection from head to toe, with the ideal blend of size, shape, symmetry, proportion and stage presence, Martinez, in line with eight-time Mr. Olympia and greatest bodybuilder of all time Ronnie Coleman's prediction, is, all qualities considered, Mr. Olympia. But with his 2008 knee surgery, which ruled him out of that competition year, he has not been at his best recently.

    Placing second to Kai Greene at the Arnold Classic earlier this year with noticeable, though not dramatic, atrophying of his lower body and off his conditioning, again not by a wide margin, 2009 has revealed a more vulnerable Victor to that which was touted to be the next Mr. Olympia.

Victor Martinez At The 2009 Arnold Classic. Victor Martinez At The 2009 Arnold Classic.
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Victor Martinez At The 2009 Arnold Classic.
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    If he can overcome the aforementioned deficits to present his best ever package, then it will be a coin toss as to whether it will be him, Phil or Dexter in the top spot. If he is considerably off the mark though he could fall back as far as sixth, underscoring just how important conditioning and a flawless display is at Olympia level.

dot Second Place: Phil Heath dot

    Fulfilling his moniker "The Gift" Phil Heath has proven he has the potential to win bodybuilding's biggest prize. The hype he has received of late combined with his obvious talents and (controversial - he should have beaten Jay Cutler) 2008 third place finisher status will land him in the top three at this year's event.

    It would probably, however, be premature to consider him as the next Mr. Olympia based on his lack of experience and the weaknesses he presents, especially considering he will be facing Dexter Jackson, a man known for his near-flawless physique.

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    If Phil hopes to defeat The Blade he will need to have improved his upper and inner chest development in order to overshadow his short clavicular structure, which conveys the impression that he is narrower than he truly is.

    And though his physique flows nicely and size is not an issue with his having some of the largest shoulder, arm and back development in the pro ranks, compared to Dexter his is not as complete a physique. So he will need to bring something extra special to win the title on his second appearance in as many years.

Phil Heath At The 2008 Olympia. Phil Heath At The 2008 Olympia.
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Phil Heath At The 2008 Olympia.
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    On overall size he has Jackson and if he can bring better conditioning compared to the champ (highly doubtful) he just might do it. But I feel he will need at least another year to develop an Olympia package.

    However, with hype and politics each playing a definite role anything is possible in pro bodybuilding. Just ask Jay Cutler, Nasser El Sonbaty, Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray (each having been denied at least one rightful Olympia title) and, other than the Governor, much of the 1980 Mr. Olympia line-up.

dot Your 2009 Mr. Olympia Will Be: Dexter Jackson dot

    With his 2009 Olympia win, Dexter Jackson took the mantel of flag bearer for a new trend in balance and conditioning over extreme size and his physique that year (the best of his career), in defeating men over 30 pounds heavier, signaled the return of bodybuilding to that of art form and sent a strong message to future contenders: you must be 100 percent on point to win, or place high, regardless of size.

    Titleholders can no longer expect to win based on their champion status and the accompanying hype. This year, and with that thought in mind, Dexter told Bodybuilding.com that he would bring a larger physique to that of 2008, but with the razor sharp conditioning he routinely displays at the Arnold Classic, which he has won three times.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia. Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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    In maintaining the lines and conditioning he is famous for while displaying a little more size in all the right areas, Dexter will show the necessary improvements to secure his second Olympia title come September 26.