It's Between Jay And Phil: 2010 Mr. Olympia Pre-Judging Review!

The bodybuilding world has waited an entire year for Jay, Branch, Kai and Phil to battle it out on the Olympia stage. See how things unfolded during this year’s judging.

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2010 Olympia Men's Pre-Judging Review

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The bodybuilding world has waited an entire year for Jay, Branch, Kai and Phil to battle it out on the Olympia stage. See how things unfolded during this year's judging.

It's a nail-biter this year and the judging is definitely not over. Jay might win his fourth or Phil might win his first and Kai will need to wait another year. Here are my highlights and assessments of the judging at the 2010 Mr. Olympia.

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Assessments
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As each competitor came to the stage individually to start the night, here were my initial thoughts about each one.

At the start of each IFBB Pro show the athletes come out by themselves and are run quickly through the mandatory poses. (In a bodybuilding competition, however, everything is complicated by the presence of other athletes on stage. They all found that out when they were compared with each other later on.)

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1. Branch Warren
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Was Warren's second-place finish a fluke last year? Could Branch actually be a real threat this year even though Greene and Heath had placed ahead of him at the Arnold Classic six months ago? Would consuming another 500 pounds of bison this year help Branch move up one place and unexpectedly win the title over everyone? I don't know if it was the bison, but Branch came in looking really sharp again. I don't think it will be enough to come in second again because Heath is on target this year.

Branch Warren At The 2010 Olympia. Branch Warren At The 2010 Olympia.
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Branch Warren At The 2010 Olympia.
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2. Troy Alves
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Troy always displays a great physique and when Troy came walking out I couldn't help but think, “This guy's a grandpa?” Troy had the misfortune of following Branch. It made him look small. He was a little smooth, especially in the glutes, which he's never been known for anyway.

troy alves At The 2010 Olympia. troy alves At The 2010 Olympia.
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Troy Alves At The 2010 Olympia.
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3. Erik Fankhouser
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Sporting a mohawk haircut, Eric showed off the freakiest set of calves on stage the entire night. He's still a  rookie and has some weak areas, but his fans loved him.

Erik Fankhouser At The 2010 Olympia. Erik Fankhouser At The 2010 Olympia.
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Erik Fankhouser At The 2010 Olympia.
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4. Dennis Wolf
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Of all the competitors, Dennis Wolf was the guy I wanted to see most. After his unbelievable showing 2007 and his disappointing placement last year, I was eager to see how he would look — especially since he took the reigns and handled his own prep this year. Dennis has had enough of the gurus and he did it all himself this year.

In the past few months you might have heard someone making jokes about Wolf and cookies. Last year Wolf, allegedly, went against his guru's recommendation and carbed up on dozens of home-made cookies for several days before the big event. He was worried about being flat and wanted to be full. He was very full indeed, but to the extent of being very smooth.

After hitting a few poses, my wife leaned over to me and said, “The crowd likes him!” I had to agree with the crowd; the Wolf was back. He was big, full and sharp — again. Dennis was reminiscent of the 2007 Wolf. No cookies were in his prep this year!

Dennis Wolf At The 2010 Olympia. Dennis Wolf At The 2010 Olympia.
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Dennis Wolf At The 2010 Olympia.
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5. Marcus Haley
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It was pretty quiet in the arena when Marcus started his poses, but they came alive when he rolled his abs and popped them down hard.

Marcus Haley At The 2010 Olympia. Marcus Haley At The 2010 Olympia.
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Marcus Haley At The 2010 Olympia.
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6. Roelly Winklaar
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The guy I predicted to take dead last at this year's Arnold Classic came out on stage and was greeted by loud cheers from the crowd. Since the Arnold this year — where he placed seventh, not last — Roelly's fan base has increased steadily. Besides a great physique, there's just something about him that makes it seem like he is a guy everyone can relate to. Maybe it's the face he makes with each pose or the enthusiasm he shows when he's on stage. Whatever it is, the fans love him.

He has put on size since I saw him and he did show some amazing separation, but I would like to have seen him just a bit sharper. Standing relaxed, Roelly's chest looked flat. In this Olympia line-up he was really outclassed and seemed to fade quickly. So much for his top-six prediction.

Roelly Winklaar At The 2010 Olympia. Roelly Winklaar At The 2010 Olympia.
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Roelly Winklaar At The 2010 Olympia.
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7. Ed Nunn
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Ed came out sporting wide shoulders and a tiny waist. He looked sort of lanky very much like Toney Freeman.

Edward Nunn At The 2010 Olympia. Edward Nunn At The 2010 Olympia.
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Edward Nunn At The 2010 Olympia.
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8. Evgeny Mishin
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This was the best I've seen Mishin. He was in very good condition. He could use a bit more separation and he did have some strange looking lumps or welts on his back side.

Evgeny Mishin At The 2010 Olympia. Evgeny Mishin At The 2010 Olympia.
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Evgeny Mishin At The 2010 Olympia.
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9. Victor Martinez
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When Victor Martinez walked up and took his position center-stage, all eyes went to his legs. Everyone wanted to know if they were improved and back to normal. Victor's legs were never his strong point anyway, so if he was going to be in the running for a spot among the top six, they needed to be the best legs anyone has ever seen on Victor – better than the legs he displayed at the 2007 Olympia.

His legs have improved and his conditioning was good — not great. He seemed to get sharper as he posed, but he wan't at his 2007 form that everyone seems to use as a litmus test for Victor.

Victor Martinez At The 2010 Olympia. Victor Martinez At The 2010 Olympia.
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Victor Martinez At The 2010 Olympia.
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10. Robert Piotrkowicz
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Robert was in better condition than when I saw him at the Arnold. He was sharp but he's not as aesthetic as many of his fellow competitors. His stomach appeared thick and a little bloated.

Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2010 Olympia. Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2010 Olympia.
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Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2010 Olympia.
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11. Dennis James
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James has qualified for 11 straight Mr. Olympias. After his qualification at the Europe show a couple weeks ago, Dennis predicted he would be one of those in the top-six position at tonight's show. Judging from the callouts and his overall conditioning it doesn't look like he'll squeeze into that spot in tomorrow night's finals. The crowd liked a few poses, but they were fairly quiet on many of his poses. He might make the top ten.

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12. Ronny Rockel
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Like I stated in my preview video, Ronny Rockel is one of those guys who still seems to fly under the radar. He's established himself as one the best in the IFBB with by taking seventh place at the Olympia and sixth at this year's Arnold Classic. Two weeks ago he won the European Pro competition. Judging from the photos I saw from it, Ronny was in excellent condition and was very dry looking.

Since I wasn't in Europe it's hard to really compare his conditioning tonight with how he looked a few weeks ago. His quads were very sharp, but I think he was a little sharper last year and at the Arnold Classic. At the Arnold, I had him ahead of Dexter, but not tonight at the Olympia. He seemed to sharpen up as he posed.

Ronny Rockel At The 2010 Olympia. Ronny Rockel At The 2010 Olympia.
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Ronny Rockel At The 2010 Olympia.
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13. Dexter Jackson
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I was also very curious to see how “The Blade” looked. Dexter had been training with Charles Glass this year and reports said that he had put on size and he looked much bigger. Since Dexter usually looks the same at every show, I was hoping that he would really bring a new look to the stage this year. Before the judging started, I thought if Dexter walked out showing noticeable improvements, the judges would acknowledge that could be the edge he needed to possibly win the title back.

In his first pose, the double bicep, he actually looked bigger. Something I'm not used to seeing that with Dexter. Even with his improvements, however, I don't think he'll win the title back. He'll be in the top four, maybe in even third.

Dexter Jackson At The 2010 Olympia. Dexter Jackson At The 2010 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2010 Olympia.
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14. Hidetada Yamagishi
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Hide has made steady improvements over the last few years. He's now to the point where he can win shows or be a major contender. He suffered a leg injury before a Europa show this summer and had to withdraw before the finals because his leg swelled up badly. I was curious to see how his leg looked after that injury. I'm sure the judges were curious also. His legs looked okay, but Hide has looked better.

Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Olympia. Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Olympia.
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Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Olympia.
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15. Kai Greene
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I didn't see anyone predict anything less than a top-three spot for Kai this year. Many people even predicted a win for the Predator. Greene has gotten very good very quickly and with two Arnold Classic wins under his belt, and before tonight, there wasn't a reason not to believe he had a strong chance of winning.

On Wednesday he stepped on the scale that was used for the 202 competitors. It read 284.7. It's doubtful, however, he was that heavy on stage tonight. He did look bigger and fuller than the Arnold, but I don't think he was in the 280s tonight.

Kai was fairly sharp and the crowd really like him. His legs were very sharp and his back was thick and had little detail and he definitely did not bring his 2010 Arnold Classic look to the Mr. Olympia. His abdomen seemed a bit bloated and his abs have definitely been sharper in the past. His delts seemed somewhat smooth.

Kai Greene At The 2010 Olympia. Kai Greene At The 2010 Olympia.
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Kai Greene At The 2010 Olympia.
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16. Johnnie Jackson
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I think Jackson's chest grew again. He looked unbelievably thick in the upper body and his abs were sharp. Alone he looked very good.

Johnnie Jackson At The 2010 Olympia. Johnnie Jackson At The 2010 Olympia.
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17. Craig Richardson
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Craig looked much like Troy Alves.

Craig Richardson At The 2010 Olympia. Craig Richardson At The 2010 Olympia.
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Craig Richardson At The 2010 Olympia.
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18. Phil Heath
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After a heart-breaking loss at this year's Arnold Classic, Heath stepped up the intensity and he trained and dieted like a man possessed in order to come in at his all-time best. He was determined to leave no stone unturned, cover all his bases and I'll let you fill in any other cliché out there to make it sound like he did everything he could to win the Mr. Olympia this year.

Holy cow! When this guy came out and started posing you could immediately tell that he didn't eat any bad fish this year! Head to toe he was ripped, full, carved, and chiseled. Up to that point in the show, no one looked better. He knew it and the crowd knew it. The Gift had improved once again. And he improved a lot!

Phil Heath At The 2010 Olympia. Phil Heath At The 2010 Olympia.
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Phil Heath At The 2010 Olympia.
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19. Bill Wilmore
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He had the unfortunate luck of following Phil Heath. Sorry, Bill.

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20. Toney Freeman
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The X-man recently celebrated his 44th birthday and that makes him the oldest guy in this year's show. Somehow I couldn't see Toney duplicating the look he brought to the 2008 Mr. Olympia and he didn't. I thought he was closer to the year he placed 14th.

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21. Francisco "Paco" Bautista
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Paco was huge. He was ripped and he shined like a bronze statue from his tanning agent. He was in shape, but he just doesn't have the aesthetics and he looks blocky.

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22. Jay Cutler
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Months before the competition, experts were saying that Jay had to at least equal his 2009 look or possibly improve upon it if he was going to keep his title. Cutler was the last athlete to take center-stage as is customary for last year's championship. Sort of like saving the best for last, I guess. And, for intents and purposes, Jay Cutler did indeed look like he was at his best once again. At that point, before any comparisons were made, it was going to be between Jay and Phil.

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The Guys Were Warned
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It was made known that the athletes would be put through a thorough and rigorous judging process this year. Many comparisons were promised and many comparisons were made. You could tell the guys were getting tired. For as dry as many of these guys were, it was a mystery where the water came from when they were sweating.

The competitors were brought out in groups of five or six to make the initial comparisons before the callouts were made.

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The Callouts
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The First Callout

Kai did not make the first callout! Jay and Phil were immediately moved to the middle.

The Second Callout

Dennis was moved between Ronnie Rockel and Kai Greene. I was actually surprised to see Toney in this callout. I didn't think he was sharp enough.

The Third Callout

The Fourth Callout

Dennis Wolf had a huge smile on his face when he was standing in this line-up.  I believe the word redemption comes to mind for Dennis. He should have dumped the gurus years ago. Ronny seemed to get sharper as he posed. Branch and Dennis changed positions and finally fans got to see Cutler next to Wolf. After this comparison — during it actually —the guys started showing some fatigue.

The Fifth Callout

This was pretty much for 15th place and who would garner the title of Did Not Place.

Sixth Callout

Seventh Callout

Eighth Callout

The Final Callout

Phil was switched with Jay and that placed Phil next to Branch for one final comparison. They plowed through a final set of poses before the guys almost dropped over from exhaustion. The judges had seen enough and they called it quits until tomorrow.

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Final Thoughts
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It was no surprise to have Cutler and Heath called back in the group at the end of the judging for one more comparison. With all the pre-Olympia hype and predictions, it was a surprise that Kai Greene was not in the final group. I don't recall anyone predicting Kai placing lower than third. Don't get me wrong, Kai didn't deserve to be in the final callout based on how he looked, but I was surprised how far off he really was while going through the comparisons.

I was very glad to see Dennis Wolf back on point. This is the best he has looked since his breakout showing at the 2007 Mr. Olympia. He nailed it again this year. Even his coloring was good.

Who's going to win and who will be in the top six? There are only a few guys who might know that answer and they are all judges. This was the closest competition I've seen in a long time, maybe ever. The winner will either be Jay or Phil. Jay looked very good and might even be on par with last year and he definitely has the size game in his favor. Cutler also has the champion-like confidence on stage that makes you want to look at him. His little gestures or smiles really light up the crowd.

Phil Heath was at his all-time best. His delts were improved and his full muscle bellies give him an advantage that he looks bigger than he really is. He is huge, but there is an illusion factor to his physique that really helps him out when he moves on stage. Heath has good stage presence also and, like Cutler, the crowd was on his side tonight also.

Dexter and Branch are battling it out for third and fourth. This year I'd give the edge to Dexter, but I did last year too and we all know how that turned out. I think I'd put Wolf in fifth and Rockel in sixth, but it's very close and things could still change tomorrow night.

Since the posing round is not scored, the final decision will be made tomorrow night in the last round immediately before the posedown. It really is that close and I'm not making any predictions about who wins. Whoever holds his conditioning or improves is going to win the Olympia tomorrow night.

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