2010 Mr. Olympia Men’s Open Class Top 10 Review!

The competition was stronger than ever at this past weekend's Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada. Once again Jay Cutler reigned supreme. See how your favorites faired!

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2010 Mr. Olympia Men's Open Class Top 10 Review

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If this year's Mr. Olympia pre-contest hype was any indication eventual winner Jay Cutler may not have stood largely unopposed, massive frame dwarfing all of his closest rivals, as he did on Saturday September 24, 2010. Rather, he would have been challenged hard - and possible even beaten - by perhaps one of at least three top contenders, namely Kai Greene, Phil Heath and Dexter Jackson. It just so happened, however, that Cutler presented by far the largest, most muscular - though not best conditioned - physique on stage, making his competition's battle a race for second place.

With Phil Heath and Kai Greene tipped to do major damage at this year's event, much pressure was place squarely on the formidable shoulders of Cutler, though he seemed not in the least concerned as he exuded extreme confidence in the face of what was assumed to be his hardest Olympia test yet. He not only passed the test but did so with previously unseen muscular balance and more mass than the average 5'10" bodybuilder could ever hope to carry.

Cutler Presented By Far The Largest, Most Muscular - Though Not Best Conditioned - Physique On Stage, Making His Competition's Battle A Race For Second Place
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Cutler Presented By Far The Largest, Most Muscular - Though Not Best Conditioned - Physique On Stage, Making His Competition's Battle A Race For Second Place.

Thus the 2010 Mr. Olympia will go down in history as being the contest where the one time extremely fallible Jay Cutler, bested by 230 pound Dexter Jackson in 2008, set a new standard for modern day pro bodybuilding size combined with shape and conditioning (though he was sharper in 2009). However, though he did win convincingly enough, he did have worthy competition, the show being, after all, the Mr. Olympia, where only the best are afforded such a lofty status.

Kai Greene, picked to be a possible successor to Cutler, failed to hit his mark conditioning-wise but did show arguably the best combination of aesthetics and size on stage. Phil Heath was at his all time best but did not have the overall impact Cutler had and, in particular, failed to match the four-time Olympia champ on leg and chest size. Branch Warren, once again, was probably the best conditioned man in the top standings but even in a contest where mass ruled on an equal par with aesthetics he could not match either Cutler or Heath on shape and this may have ultimately cost him.

Overall, 2010's Mr. Olympia was a show where physical improvements were rewarded, not one in which a competitor could dominate on name recognition alone. Former Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson, for example, brought much the same package as seen in previous years and was beaten by the obvious improvements made by Heath and Warren. Kai Greene, a competitor with obvious Mr. Olympia potential, had the name to do the damage but was justifiably placed seventh due to being off his usual ripped conditioning.

A well-judged show with fair results, the 2010 Mr. Olympia, it seemed, had an even mix of competitors in the top six. Combined attributes as opposed to one distinct quality appeared to be the number one judging criteria. In saying that, there were, however, a few questionable decisions from this author's perspective. Here is my assessment of the top ten.

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Tenth: Hidetada Yamagishi
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Looking even better than in 2009 when he walked on stage at the Olympia in his best shape ever, Hide showed greater balance than in previous years and gave the fans a lively, energetic posing display, one of the best of the evening. Having overcome the injury-related conditioning problems which marred his Pro Bodybuilding Weekly outing earlier this year Hidetada Yamagishi is well and truly back to his best form. In the smaller shows Hide is a likely contender for the top prize. At the Olympia, however, it would take a miracle for him to place anywhere near the top three. At best he might squeeze into the top six if he can continue to improve. What is great about Hide, however, is his ability to look 20-30 pounds heavier on stage, though when placed next to someone like a 260-plus-pound Dennis Wolf this illusion of size quickly vanishes.

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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Ninth: Toney Freeman
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Not at his best this time around, Toney Freeman looked smoother than his usual crisp self and was evidently off his top form. When he is on he is tough to beat, and even when slightly off he presents a great challenge at smaller events. When competing at the Olympia, however, a competitor must be on in all aspects and sadly for Freeman this was not the case. Even his great posing, X-Frame and balance could not save him this time and ninth is all that he could hope for. With age catching up on him it might be hard to pull it together and capture the title that many of his fans feel he is capable of securing.

Toney Freeman At The 2010 Olympia. Toney Freeman At The 2010 Olympia.
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Toney Freeman At The 2010 Olympia.
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Eighth: Victor Martinez
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Placing sixth at last year's Mr. Olympia in what was tipped to be his big comeback show Victor Martinez did not meet his many fans' expectations or the criteria that placed him second in 2007. Once thought to be a future Mr. Olympia champion, Martinez has all the credentials needed to win the title. The only factor that has let him down has been his conditioning and this was no more apparent than when he walked onstage at this year's prejudging. Cut, but not in "Olympia shape", he had the physique to place much higher - perhaps top four - but could not match this great potential with the hardness needed to win at such a high level. Still young for a top pro, the one-time Arnold Classic champ Martinez might still realize his dream of winning the Olympia statuette. With another year of hard training and a more focused mindset, 2011 could be his year.

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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Seventh: Kai Greene
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Probably the most hyped athlete going into this year's Olympia, Kai Greene was the number one frontrunner tipped to overthrow Jay Cutler, and with good reason: he is stacked from head to toe with quality muscle, the only man currently competing with enough size to challenge the reigning champ in this department. With no apparent weaknesses and, when shredded, a physique that personifies the word 'freaky', Greene should someday soon become Mr. Olympia if he can combine both the improvements he has made in muscle mass and the crisp conditioning that has helped him to win two Arnold Classic titles. On the weekend he was clearly off, though still very imposing, a definite fan favorite with unlimited potential. Based on his size and shape I would personally have awarded him fifth or sixth. Shorter than Cutler, Greene packs almost as much mass, albeit probably more of the evenly balanced variety. Though he did show some distension problems at this year's event, his mid section - combined with his ultra-wide shoulders - is usually a key determinant in his success. Time for another game plan Kai: next year the title could be yours.

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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Sixth: Ronny Rockel
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Though no one would have predicted Ronny Rockel placing ahead of Kai Greene at this year's Olympia, still no one could dispute the judges' final decision. Notably smaller than Greene and lacking the 'predator's' Mr. O potential, Rockel still has the kind of physique that cannot be overlooked, though it has been in many previous contests. Finally getting the recognition he deserves appears to have further motivated the German to bring his best each and every time he steps on stage, and he has done just that. With this usual unmatched symmetry and proportion and improvements in size and conditioning Rockel keeps getting better, his inclusion in the top six at this year's event - his best ever - proof positive of this.

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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Fifth: Dennis Wolf
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In recapturing the form that landed him in fourth at the 2008 Mr. Olympia, Dennis Wolf has signaled that he is back with a vengeance, though an argument could be made for his name being partly responsible for his fifth place award at this year's event. Not as balanced as Rockel - and in some cases clearly missing a degree of development in several body parts, namely the calves, biceps and lower back - and lacking Ronny's phenomenal conditioning it is, to my mind, hard to justify fifth for the big German. If several of the lower placed athletes has brought their A games he would probably have been lucky to place inside the top eight. However imposing he is, pro bodybuilding is an aesthetic sport as much as it is dependent upon sheer size and width. That said, if Wolf can address his lacking body parts and continue to show the conditioning he displayed over the weekend he will likely move up the rankings and challenge for the title someday soon such is the reality of modern day pro bodybuilding.

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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Fourth: Dexter Jackson
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Though muscular fullness was more than evident on the Blade at this year's Olympia, Dexter Jackson, as ripped and balanced as any modern day competitor, did not really have the overall size to place any higher than fourth. With his great posing style and the illusion of tremendous size his physique conveys he still has problems when placed next to a Heath, Cutler and Branch. When compared to those 20 pounds - or more - heavier he suffers the same problem the great Shawn Ray once did: he is over looked and gets lost in a sea of muscle mass which, coupled with his height, can negate his tremendous lines and aesthetics. To win at this level - as he did in 2008 when his closest competition was clearly off - he will need to be larger still while maintaining the cuts he is so famous for.

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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Third: Branch Warren
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Speaking of cuts, Branch Warren had plenty, all layered with the freaky conditioning he routinely achieves. It is hard to deny someone like Branch, a hard working champ who puts it all on the line with each outing. Never off his best form Warren's biggest flaw in previous years has been his ability to present the kind of aesthetic physique that has paid dividends for men like Dexter Jackson. He appears to have fixed this problem and is now able to stand toe to toe with the more balanced competitors, and beat them where they once dominated. Warren also has the mass to rival the biggest of them all, attributable in large part to his tremendous work ethic in the gym where he hoists weights that would crush lesser men. Second at the Mr. Olympia in 2009, the only reason he did not repeat this stellar placing was a guy named Phil Heath, another Olympia champ in waiting who did not disappoint.

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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Second: Phil Heath
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Making all of the necessary improvements - overall mass and superior conditioning compared with that shown in 2009 - Phil Heath came ready to challenge the current champ Jay Cutler. With small joints busting with muscle from all angles - reminiscent of Flex Wheeler in his prime but with more Ronnie Coleman-like mass - Heath gave the crowd what they were expecting from him: a significant improvement from 2009 and a legitimate challenge to Jay Cutler. Though never a threat to Cutler in sheer size and total on stage impact, he did have the crisper conditioning and, for many, the better physique overall. Stalking the stage like he owned it did only served to boost the crowd's confidence in him. Had he won nobody would have complained. However, to defeat the current champ a competitor has to be that much better and Heath was not. Close, possibly, but definitely not in Cutler's league this time around. His time will come and it will be interesting to see how Heath and an in-shape Kai Greene will match up in 2011. Perhaps then, Cutler will have more of a fight on his hands.

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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First: Jay Cutler
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In 2009 Jay Cutler - who many had written off due to his inconsistent conditioning and the quality of competition coming though the IFBB pro ranks - came out of nowhere and dominated all competitors to win his third Sandow. He did much the same thing last weekend, but probably did not have the overall impact and fresh, crisp muscle he displayed last year. However, when it comes to size - from the front, back and side - Jay cannot be beaten. As well, he has been able to increase his width even further, thus creating the illusion of a smaller waist, his mid section being one of his biggest hurdles in previous years. From the athletes press conference until he was announced the four-time champ Cutler exuded the kind of confidence that only true champions can. He was more relaxed than ever, and appeared to be in total control at all times. If the show had been judged on confidence, stage aggressiveness and poise - characteristics needed at pro bodybuilding's highest level - Cutler would not have needed to attend the finals. As it happened, his stage-manner - and conditioning - was taken to another level on Saturday, thus clinching him recognition as the best in the business for the fourth time. Though he will be strongly challenged in 2011, if Cutler can bring it as he did in 2010 he will again be extremely tough to beat. But, still young, will he challenge for the record of eight Sandows held by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman? If so, I am sure Kai Greene and Phil Heath will make this task a difficult one.

Jay Cutler At The 2010 Olympia. Jay Cutler At The 2010 Olympia.
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Jay Cutler At The 2010 Olympia.
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