Myron Mielke's 2009 Iron Man Finals Review!

After the judging, the competitors had about six hours to wait until the finals. For some the time was spent to make some adjustments to hopefully have chance at moving up a notch or two on the final placements.

After the judging, the competitors had about six hours to wait until the finals. For some the time was spent to make some adjustments to hopefully have chance at moving up a notch or two on the final placements. For the others it was a matter of just waiting it out to perform their routine and then make plans to improve for the next show.

As I waited backstage for the competition to begin, the final preparations were being made for lighting, video and various technical settings for the webcast. With their faces sunken from weeks of dieting, the athletes started filing in one by one.

Marcus Haley was the first one I saw and Don Long came in shortly after him. A few minutes before 7:00 p.m., I heard one of the expeditors announce that airbrushing would begin in about 15 minutes. All of the athletes were sitting or lying down just chilling until it was time to start prepping for the battle ahead of them.

Marcus Haley
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Marcus Haley At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Silvio looked very relaxed and confident as he chatted with Kris Gethin. He wore a black and red sleeveless shirt and his swollen arms were wrapped in paper-thin skin and his veins were protruding - even without pumping up. Eddie Abbew looked like he was ready for things to get underway as did the rest of the guys.

Dugdale looked relaxed with his ProTanned legs crossed and propped up on a table as he sat with his hands folded in his lap. His wife, Christine sat beside him chatting with him and a few other people nearby. The atmosphere was one of nervous anticipation.

Mark Dugdale
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Mark Dugdale At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Samir and Mohammed Bannout were sitting just outside the competitors' partitioned-off area. Mohammed looked tired but intense and ready for the night to begin.

The pre-game interviews with Dan and Bob began at about 7:40 p.m. Coincidentally, that was the same time the airbrushing booths fired up. Oh, by the way, the airbrushing booths with their ventilation fans were directly behind the interview set. I thought there might be some sound interference, but the audio came out okay for the interviews.

Mohammed Bannout
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Mohammed Bannout At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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The athletes began getting sprayed with tanning solutions in one of the three plastic tents. Bannout was having Dream Tan applied when Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler walked up wearing what looked like a XXXL suit. He chatted with Samir for a few minutes. (Okay, I have to admit, seeing two Mr. Olympias together backstage was pretty cool.)

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The Show Begins
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The Iron Man began with the National Anthem followed by a short video on the 20-year history of the event. Immediately following the video some of the former winners were called up on stage including Chris Cormier, Shawn Ray, Flex Wheeler, Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, and Phil Heath. Each was given a special commemorative Iron Man jacket.

Eddie Abbew was the first to take the stage and present his routine for the evening. Each competitor in the show was able to present his routine, which makes the time and effort worthwhile for each athlete. In past years, due to time constraints because of an abundance of competitors, only the top fifteen were able to do their entire routines.

Eddie Abbew
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Eddie Abbew At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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From the backstage vantage point, each competitor basically waited his turn in a line on the butcher paper, which was taped onto the floor in a path that led from the airbrush booths to the stage. Most of the competitors took advantage of the booths, but some, like Moe El Moussawi, preferred using Dream Tan as I found out from a quick trip to the restroom.

Moe was in there with an entourage who were patting him down to blend in the Dream Tan. Only in the sport of bodybuilding do you find brown stains on towels in the bathroom and everything is okay. No one questions it.

Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Some competitions have barbells, dumbbells and various equipment for competitors to use to pump up. At the Iron Man, only power bands were used. Lots of side lateral raises and arm curls were being performed by each competitor. It is amazing to see the transformation of the physiques from the low lights behind the stage to the bright stage lights.

The light aborbs into the extremely dark and tanned skin when the competitors are walking around waiting to take the stage, but all the details and separations come to life when Balik's lighting illuminates the physiques. (I talked with Balik after the judging about his lighting and I'm going do an indepth interview about physique lighting with him in the future.)

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Routine Highlights
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Instead of analyzing each guy's routine like I normally do, I thought I'd touch on a couple of the highlights. First and foremost, I have to say that Ronnie Rockel was the most improved when it comes to posing. I've even criticized him in the past, but it is obvious Ronnie has been doing his homework.

Ronnie Rockel
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Ronnie Rockel At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Rusty Jeffers displayed his normal dazzling routine with quick twists turns and classic, aesthetic posing ability. He's always fun to watch. Silvio Samuel lit up the crowd like he usually does.

Rusty Jeffers
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Rusty Jeffers At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Hidetada Yamagishi seemed to have transformed himself into a new streamlined physique and is on his way to another Olympia qualification. Bannout looked awesome and well conditioned for his first pro show. Congrats to him on a job well done.

Hidetada Yamagishi
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Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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The BodySpace Model Search
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The BodySpace Model Search winners were announced after the completion of the Iron Man competitors' routine. The Model Search contestants anxiously waited near the stairs to the stage as Big Bob took his spot behind the podium. For the more than 60,000 online votes cast, the Female Winner was ALLISONETHIER and the Male Winner was IThinkFit.

BodySpace
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Winners Of The BodySpace Spokesmodel Search:
ALLISONETHIER & IThinkFit.

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Top Ten
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Eddie Abbew, Mo Bannout, Mark Dugdale, Moe El Massouwi, Ahmad Haidar, Marcus Haley, Johny Jackson, Ronnie Rockel, Silvio Samuel, Hidetada Yamagishi were called out as the final ten finalists.

The order was close to what I thought it would be. Johnnie Jackson was announced in tenth. Marcus Haley was ninth and Mark Dugdale was eighth. Mo Bannout garnered the seventh place spot and Eddie Abbew just missed an Olympia qualification with sixth place.

Johnnie Jackson
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Johnnie Jackson At The 2009 Iron Man Pro.
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Awards & Tributes
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One very nice gesture I'd like to announce is that every competitor in the Iron Man who does not have a supplement contract was given $1,000 worth of supplements from Pro Fight Supplements. This is the first time I'm aware of a sponsor giving out such a generous award.

Before the end of the show and before the winner was announced a special award was given to John Balik for his devotion to the sport of bodybuilding. A surprise appearance by Cory Everson and a video tribute by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself was part of the award ceremony.

A few minutes were taken to remember some important people the sport of bodybuilding will miss deeply. Ben Weider, Steve Stone, Kenny Kassel and Peter Siegel all passed away in the last few months. The sport will not be the same without them.

With no surprise to anyone, Silvio Samuel won the fan's choice award with 35% of the votes.

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The Final Five
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Fifth place was awarded to Ahmad Haidar. He will be back on the Olympia stage again this year. Hide got fourth place and it was well deserved. He looked awesome and he overcame many adversities in the last year and he is very pleased with tonight's outcome.

The third place trophy to Ronnie Rockel, but he could have easily been placed in second. As I expected, Moe El Massouwi came in second place and Silvio was declared the winner of the Iron Man in 2009. Congratulations, Silvio on a well-deserved win. You are an Iron Man!

Silvio Samuel
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Congratulations, Silvio On A Well-Deserved Win.