2009 IFBB Europa Show Of Champions Preview.

Will Darrem have what it takes? The upcoming 2009 Orlando Pro Bodybuilding Contest gives interested bodybuilders the ability to qualify for the Mr. Olympia contest later on this year if they place in the top three. Get the latest right here.

The upcoming 2009 Orlando Pro Bodybuilding Contest gives interested bodybuilders the ability to qualify for the Mr. Olympia contest later on this year if they place in the top three. So far, I have found only nine competitors who have signed up for the contest posted on the official website who are listed below:

  • Bautista, Francisco
  • Carrasco, Raul
  • Charles, Darrem
  • Deckard, Omar
  • Farah, George
  • Haman, Andy
  • Rowe, Jonathan
  • Sauvage, Frederic
  • Wonsley, Nathan

I have also seen some pictures of Troy Alves "X Week Out" photos which leads me to believe that he has signed up for the contest but that the information page has not been updated. I will now go into a little more detail below about each competitor including his strengths and weakness as a competitor and his contest history:

dot Francisco Bautista: dot

    Francisco Bautista most recently competed in 2008 at the Houston Pro Invitational where he placed 12th and at the New York Pro Championships where he came 9th at in the open division.

    Paco has an interesting physique and one which can be rewarded very highly depending on what the judges are looking for. Paco is 5'8" and always enters contests extremely large and very shredded. In addition to simply being shredded, his muscles are extremely dry and dense.

    His condition consistently beats the condition of say for example, Jay Cutler, as a result of this greater muscle density and dryness. His quads for example, are thick and hard, with deep striations which display every muscle fiber like a living anatomy chart.

Francisco Bautista Francisco Bautista
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Francisco Bautista At The 2008 IFBB Houston Pro.
View More Pics Of Francisco Bautista At The 2008 IFBB Houston Pro.

    It is another judging criteria that may see Paco placing lower in some contests: that being, he does not - at least not in my view - embody the highest level of shape and symmetry presented by other bodybuilders in the industry. I will try to give examples of this.

    His extremities are short. He has short [although densely muscled] legs, and also short arms. His torso which is longer seems out of proportion in terms of overall muscle volume ratio.

    I think he would look more balanced with slighly longer arms to match his long and thick torso. Additionally, if his legs were slightly longer, he would probably show more balance between his upper and lower body.

    When hitting certain poses such as the front lat spread and front double biceps, his shorter arms are not as pronounced as they would be if he had longer arms, and thus, a little less impressive.

Francisco Bautista Francisco Bautista
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Francisco Bautista At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.
View More Pics Of Francisco Bautista At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.

    With all of that said, Paco's muscular size and conditioning are impossible to completely ignore. Even more symmetrical and aesthetic bodybuilders may full well find themselves to be overpowered by Paco's thickness. His dry conditioning also manifests in terms of the vascularity he displays all throughout his body - even in areas such as his calves, which are never really an area that people routinely expect to find impressive vascularity.

    It is difficult for me to predict whether or not Paco will qualify for the 2009 Mr. Olympia Contest based on his performance at this contest primarily because I have not seen any pictures of him leading up to the show and also because I am uncertain if the competitor list is up to date. However, based on his recent professional history, I would say that it is possible based on the lineup so far.

    Since the top three qualify for the Olympia and this lineup is not particularly deep, I would not rule Paco out from qualifying for the Olympia at this show, that is, at least if Paco brings his best package to the contest or something close to it.

dot Raul Carrasco: dot

    Raul Carrasco is a bodybuilder who I have not seen very much from, so far. He has been competing for some time, but did so in the WABBA and WPF leagues before beginning with the IFBB. He has only competed in the Tampa Bay Pro show in 2008, where he did not place in the open division and came 14th place in the lightweight class. That would be 14th place out of 20 in that category with David Henry winning the show and James "Flex" Lewis placing second.

    The open category was of course much deeper and Raul did not place in it. Raul has pretty good conditioning and good overall size, but I suppose the key word there is "good" and not great. That is, nothing that screams at the judges in a very deep lineup with other pro bodybuilders who are bigger and more shredded and perhaps have structural advantages to boot.

Raul Carrasco Raul Carrasco
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Raul Carrasco At The 2008 NPC Tampa Bay Contest.
View More Pics Of Raul Carrasco At The 2008 NPC Tampa Bay Contest.

    Having said that, Raul competes in a hard condition and has dense muscle mass, but lacks size in areas such as his arms and hamstrings which are both factors which likely prevent him from being a force against other professionals. With that said, depending on how deep this lineup is, and if he makes improvements, he may see himself rising up the ladder in terms of contest placings.

dot Darrem Charles: dot

    Darrem Charles is the man who I see winning this contest based on the current competitor list that I have posted above. Darrem has won eight pro shows and also won the Masters division of the Atlantic City Pro in 2008 at the age of 40. So far, he does not seem to show any marked decline in the quality of his physique due to age, and in fact, no decline at all as far as I can tell.

    He more or less always enters bodybuilding competitions in great shape and is one of the most consistent competitors in bodybuilding history in this area. While he has not put on significant size over the past decade, he, like Shawn Ray and some others, doesn't seem like he has to.

Darrem Charles Darrem Charles
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Darrem Charles At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Darrem Charles At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    He has found what is essentially a winning formula and he has been using it time and time again with great success. Darrem is also one of bodybuilding's greatest posers and always puts on an entertaining routine for the fans. If Darrem does come into this contest in his usual conditioning and the other bodybuilders do the same, I do see him winning the show, qualifying for the Olympia and hopefully competing in it as well this September of 2009.

dot Omar Deckard: dot

    Omar is a very big bodybuilder - about 6'1" and has competed over 260 in the past. He turned professional by winning the 2006 USA Championships overall title where he competed as a Super-Heavyweight and of course, won his class. Some of the flaws I see in his physique primarily have to do with his being so tall.

    A man of his stature needs to be very heavily muscled in order to compete against the shorter bodybuilders who can appear just as thick with less overall weight.

    At 6'1", I think Omar would be a threat at 275 if his conditioning was dry and hard. But of course to be 275 is a lot more demanding than being 235 or 205 and he has to really build up his long arms and long legs for them to give the appearance of thickness that some of the shorter bodybuilders display at much lower body weights.

Omar Deckard Omar Deckard
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Omar Deckard At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Omar Deckard At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    I think that Omar has a very good physique overall and that simply having more muscle mass and sharper conditioning will be the keys for him to improve his placings in bodybuilding contests. He has not placed so far in any of the bodybuilding contests that he entered in 2008 or 2009 so it is hard for me to predict a great finish for him at this contest, but it is possible that he improves his placings if he brings an improved package to the show. Time will tell.


2008 Iron Man Pro Video Series:
Episode #6: Omar Deckard!

In this video series, watch as Bob visits with IFBB Pro Bodybuilders who are now preparing for the 2008 Iron Man Pro. This week, Omar Deckard!

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
Windows Media (162 MB)
[ 2008 Iron Man Pro Video Series Main Page ]

dot George Farah: dot

    George Farah is quite an inspirational bodybuilder who was shot and lapsed into a coma, yet has still engaged in a successful competitive pro bodybuilding career. In fact, he even competed in the 2002, 2005, and 2008 Mr. Olympia contests. I suspect that it is fully possible that he qualifies for the Olympa at some point in the future, possibly even in this contest.

    George has pretty good size for his height, competing in the under 200 pound lightweight class. His conditioning is very good and he also has pretty good overall symmetry. He has some scars on his abdomen due to his prior wounds, but otherwise has pretty tight skin and good detail.

    I suspect that how George does will be dependent on how close he comes to achieving his best ever conditioning and size combination and of course, how close his competitors do. At his best, I do think he could qualify for the Olympia given this lineup, but we will have to wait and see.

George Farah George Farah
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George Farah At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of George Farah At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    If he comes in a little off, he may get lost in the lineup, but it can go either way. In any case, it is quite inspirational that George has had so much success in competitive bodybuilding over the years and has overcome adversity to do so. So many others would have quit if they were in his position and so that should motivate you to continue going to the gym despite what hurdles get in your way.

dot Andy Haman: dot

    Andy Haman turned professional at the 2007 Masters Nationals where he won the super-heavyweight category and the overall title. He is quite a large bodybuilder at 5'11" as he competes at over 250 pounds. After viewing some of his pictures and videos online, I must say that I am quite impressed.

    He seems like a well spoken individual and is a family man, although I understand that does not, or at least should not, have any bearing on his competition placings. But speaking strictly about his physique, I have to say that he looks quite good, especially in light of the fact that he is going to be 43 years old this August.

    His physique still looks very young and crisp and he carries a lot of muscle mass. If I had to pick a flaw, I would say that his back double biceps pose could stand to be a little sharper. Also, he could stand to put on some size on his back in general to be competitive in the pro ranks, and I think adjusting his posing slightly would help both of those poses.

Andy Haman Andy Haman
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Andy Haman At The 2008 Europa IFBB Super Show.
View More Pics Of Andy Haman At The 2008 Europa IFBB Super Show.

    Improving on those areas may be difficult at Andy's age, but other bodybuilders such as Vince Taylor and Don Youngblood seemed to continue to improve even past the age of 45. Don Youngblood was at his best at the 2002 Mr. Olympia contest at 48 years young!

    Whenever I see the Masters competitors in the Masters DVDs by GMV Productions I am always amazed at how impressive these guys are given their relatively advanced age - although it is also proof that 40 is the new 20 and it is apparently not old at all! I am 27 now so 40 seems just around the corner for me and I could only wish to look as good as Andy at his age.

    I think making some improvements will still be possible for him, even if only subtle improvements in size, conditioning, and posing, all of which can combine together for an amazing effect which should see him place respectably in any pro show that he enters.

    Quite frankly, I would like very much to see him qualify for the Mr. Olympia contest by placing in the top three here. We will see how that goes when the contest takes place!

dot Jonathan Rowe: dot

    Jonathan Rowe is another bodybuilder who I had not heard very much about before his entrance in this contest. He had previously competed at the 2008 Atlantic City Pro show and also competed in the same contest in 2007. He won his pro card by winning the heavyweight class of the 2005 National Championships. He did not place at his most recent outing in Atlantic City, but he did place 12th in 2007 out of 26 competitors which was definitely a pretty good showing.

    I think that Jonathan has a great genetic structure and excellent arms as well as lats in the front double biceps pose. If he brings that conditioning to this show or the conditioning he was in when he won his professional card at the 2005 Nationals, I would have to think that he has a chance of doing well at this show - top five for example.

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Jonathan Rowe At The Atlantic City Pro.

    Whether or not he has what it takes to qualify for the Olympia at this show is another story, but he obviously has some potential if he won a deep class of heavyweights at the national level in the United States. I am interested to see what conditioning he brings to this show, which will ultimately decide where he ends up.

dot Frederic Sauvage: dot

    Frederic Sauvage is a great bodybuilder who has competed in four pro shows so far. His placings have varied, but he did place in all of those shows and so I have no reason to believe that he won't continue to improve in the future. Frederic Sauvage has a pretty good structure in my opinion.

    His overall balance is quite good and nothing particularly stands out and this is a good thing since everything is more or less in balance with everything else. His conditioning is respectable and he hits his poses properly which helps to display his muscularity and conditioning. His front lat spread is very thick and he comes in pretty hard.

    His shoulders are broad and his back is pretty thick and he displays pretty good width in the rear lat spread as well as a pretty good taper in the rear double biceps pose. He placed 6th out of 23 competitors at the 2008 Europa Supershow and was in excellent condition at that show.

Frederic Sauvage Frederic Sauvage
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Frederic Sauvage At The 2008 Europa IFBB Super Show.
View More Pics Of Frederic Sauvage At The 2008 Europa IFBB Super Show.

    I hope that he brings that same package to this show and of course improvements are welcome. Of course, merely maintaining this condition would be a very good showing for him and would see him doing pretty well depending on the quality of his competition. His structure, lines, symmetry, and overall size and conditioning are all pretty good.

dot Nathan Wonsley: dot

    Nathan Wonsley is a bodybuilder who I found to be very impressive ever since I saw him compete at the 2006 Iron Man Pro. I was most impressed with his age - he was 42 years old and will be 45 this year. That to me was amazing considering his physique is one that looks amazing at 5'9 and 1/2 and around 200 pounds.

    He has what I would consider to be quite an ideal physique and one which I wish that I could achieve myself. He has actually been quite the prolific IFBB competitor since he won his pro card at the 2005 Masters Nationals in the light-heavyweight class.

Nathan Wonsley Nathan Wonsley
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Nathan Wonsley At The 2008 NPC Tampa Bay Contest.
View More Pics Of Nathan Wonsley At The 2008 NPC Tampa Bay Contest.

    He has competed in 13 shows and placed in the top 10 in the lightweight class in three of those shows. I'm not sure if Nathan has the necessary size to qualify for the Olympia at this contest, although I think that would be great if he did. Bodybuilding contests are of course judged based largely on size though, but I have to repeat that I really like Nathan's physique.

dot Troy Alves: dot

    Troy Alves is another competitor who I like a lot. Troy was born in 1966 and won his pro card at the 2002 NPC USA Championships at a weight of 212 pounds. He turned 36 that year and has competed in the Mr. Olympia contest in 2002, 2004, and 2006. I think he is quite capable of qualifying for the Mr. Olympia contest once again and what I find most impressive about Troy's physique once again relates to age.

    He will be 43 this year and his physique has the freshness and crispness of someone much younger. The reality is, he has not yet appeared to age or burn out in any significant way despite other bodybuilders degrading in quality at a younger age. His glutes and hamstrings have been an area where judges have always marked him down for, but he has brought them up in recent years and showed decent conditioning in these areas.

Troy Alves Troy Alves
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Troy Alves At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Troy Alves At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    Based on the pictures of him I have seen of him online which show his progress leading up to this contest, I think that Troy's legs look to be a little down in size which is not uncommon with age, but this could perhaps be made to be less obvious if he gets his legs very pumped up before going on stage and puts more focus on that area than the others leading up to the show.

    Although I cannot say for certain that Troy will qualify for the Olympia at this contest, I would like to see him compete there at some point in the future and I do believe that is still possible.


2008 Iron Man Pro:
Troy Alves Posing Routine!

Check out Troy Alves' posing routine from the 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro!

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
Windows Media (128 MB)
[ 2008 Iron Man Pro Main Page ]

Final Thoughts

The 2009 Orlando Pro should be a good show to give some competitors the chance to qualify for the Mr. Olympia who may not be able to do so in deeper lineups. Granted, this may reduce the overall quality of the Mr. Olympia, but I do prefer to see a bigger Olympia contest with over 20 competitors, rather than with under 20. I also think that at the level of the Mr. Olympia contest, all bodybuilders are at a very high level and so it is not as if the quality will ever be particularly diluted.

I predict that Darrem Charles will more than likely win this contest depending on who else enters it, as long as he brings his normal great conditioning and posing to the show.

Who Do You Think Will Win The 2009 Orlando Pro Bodybuilding Contest?

Francisco Bautista
Raul Carrasco
Darrem Charles
Omar Deckard
George Farah
Andy Haman
Jonathan Rowe
Frederic Sauvage
Nathan Wonsley
Troy Alves

After Darrem, it is tough to say how the cookie will crumble in terms of placings because it depends in large part on who comes in and in what condition which I cannot fully predict given that I have not seen all of the competitor photos leading up to the show. In any event, it should be an interesting pro show and a welcome addition to the IFBB contest roster for 2009.