2010 Olympia Pre-Judging Review: Still Too Close To Call!

The title is by no means Cutler's for the taking and he has a fight on his hands not only from Heath, but from Dexter and Branch Warren too. Any of these guys could take home the Sandow and it definitely would be well deserved.

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2010 Olympia Men's Pre-Judging Review

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What a bodybuilding contest this year's Olympia is turning out to be! Everyone was in shape, and I mean EVRYONE! Branch Warren looked insane, Kai Greene looked huge and cut, Dexter "The Blade" Jackson was his best ever. Cutler was close to last year's condition and Phil "The Gift" Heath was amazing. The title is by no means Cutler's for the taking and he has a fight on his hands not only from Heath, but from Dexter and Branch Warren too. Any of these guys could take home the Sandow and it definitely would be well deserved.

Following the individual posing rounds I had already made up my mind as to who was actually in contention for the Olympia title and who had slipped up in the pre contest preparations. And to my delight everybody was on point, but shouldn't they be? This is the Mr. Olympia after all, the greatest bodybuilding contest on the planet!

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The Individual Poses
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1. Branch Warren
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Branch came to Vegas with one thing on his mind, winning the Mr. Olympia, and based on his conditioning, this could very easily happen. He has managed to add mass, streamline his waist and midsection, creating a more symmetrical look. He was thick, grainy and vascular.

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 seems to have found the fountain of youth. This grandfather has improved over the last couple of years. He is by no means the biggest athlete onstage, but he does bring some great conditioning and aesthetics along with some old school posing. He will surely be fighting for a place in the top 10.

Troy Alves At The 2010 Olympia. Troy Alves At The 2010 Olympia.
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3. Erik Fankhouser
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Erik Fankhouser has done what every bodybuilder dreams of; he made it to the Olympia stage. His legs were amazing but his upper body was lacking somewhat, and when standing alongside the likes of Branch Warren, those weaknesses become that much more apparent.

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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Who is afraid of the big bad Wolf? Coming into this show, not too many people, but he hit his compulsories and marked his territory. He seems to have found the formula that earned him a top six spot in '07. He will be finishing in the top six again.

Dennis Wolf At The 2010 Olympia. Dennis Wolf At The 2010 Olympia.
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5. Marcus Haley
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Probably in his best condition to date which is a great comeback from the man who almost had a career ending leg injury. Haley's legs and upper body were in great shape. He tends to lose control of his midsection from time to time and this could cost him.

Marcus Haley At The 2010 Olympia. Marcus Haley At The 2010 Olympia.
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6. Roelly Winklaar
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Noticeably softer than earlier in the year, this may have proven one contest too many for the flexing Dutchman. Winklaar will be fighting for a place in the top 10, when he could have been battling for a place in the posedown. He has great balance and separation, he may look somewhat tighter in the finals and pull forward a few places but given the standard, it will be a hard fought battle.

Roelly Winklaar At The 2010 Olympia. Roelly Winklaar At The 2010 Olympia.
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7. Ed Nunn
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Great conditioning, but Nunn needs some more size if he is going to be competitive here at the Olympia.

Edward Nunn At The 2010 Olympia. Edward Nunn At The 2010 Olympia.
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8. Evgeny Mishin
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This guy was in shape. Mishin has made some great improvements over the last year or so and has been rewarded for it by making it here to the Olympia. However, given the standard of competition this year, it will be his genetics that hold him back. He is fighting for a place in the top 15.

Evgeny Mishin At The 2010 Olympia. Evgeny Mishin At The 2010 Olympia.
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9. Victor Martinez
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With a year of solid training behind him, Victor looked a whole lot fuller than last year when he placed 6th. However, I think he will have a fight on his hands if he is to make the top six again.

Victor Martinez At The 2010 Olympia. Victor Martinez At The 2010 Olympia.
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10. Robert Piotrkowicz
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Great condition, but lacks the genetic structure to be in contention for a top place. Piotrkowicz was definitely in the best shape I have ever seen him. He will be battling for a place in the top 15.

Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2010 Olympia. Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2010 Olympia.
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11. Dennis James
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DJ is going out with a bang! He announced his retirement from the Olympia at the Olympia press conference. He displayed a physique that was reminiscent of the Dennis James of old. His waist was tight, and he was in great condition all over. He could certainly finish in the top 10.

Dennis James At The 2010 Olympia. Dennis James At The 2010 Olympia.
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12. Ronny Rockel
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Wow, this guy was in great shape! The sultan of symmetry has added and refined some serious mass. A very impressive display from the German, Rockel could find himself in the top six come finals.

Ronny Rockel At The 2010 Olympia. Ronny Rockel At The 2010 Olympia.
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13. Dexter Jackson
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The Blade is back for vengeance! His conditioning was second to none. He definitely is in contention for the title going off this performance.

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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I was surprised that Hide competed after sustaining an injury which would have left many a lesser athlete on the sidelines. But it seems to not have affected Hide in the slightest. He was in his usual great shape and will be battling for a top 10 finish.

Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Olympia. Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Olympia.
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15. Kai Greene
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The Predator looks like he has been terminated. He was huge and cut but it is not the ripped look we are used to from Kai, and he is going to suffer because of it. If he makes some improvements before finals, they might come a little too late and he could find himself out in the cold.

Kai Greene At The 2010 Olympia. Kai Greene At The 2010 Olympia.
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16. Johnnie Jackson
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The strongest bodybuilder in the world teamed up with Branch Warren for this contest and it showed. Jackson was in the best shape he has been for some time. He is fighting for a top 10 finish.

Johnnie Jackson At The 2010 Olympia. Johnnie Jackson At The 2010 Olympia.
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17. Craig Richardson
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Craig Richardson has a great physique and is always in tremendous condition, unfortunately for him he is lacking in the size department. When it comes to the Olympia, there isn't any room for weaknesses.

Craig Richardson At The 2010 Olympia. Craig Richardson At The 2010 Olympia.
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18. Phil Heath
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Heath has finally come of age, he was shredded and full. This guy is just put together right, he had no real visible weaknesses and looks every bit what Mr. Olympia should be. Anything less than the Sandow will be a disappointment for "The Gift."

Phil Heath At The 2010 Olympia. Phil Heath At The 2010 Olympia.
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19. Bill Wilmore
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One of the more consistent pros in the sport, Wilmore has never placed outside the top 5 of any grand prix, but after prejudging he is battling for a place in the top 15. A good finish for the gentle giant.

Bill Wilmore At The 2010 Olympia. Bill Wilmore At The 2010 Olympia.
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20. Toney Freeman
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Toney is getting up there in age, but his conditioning doesn't show that. He was a little light looking but that's to be expected when you are the tallest man onstage. He is fighting for a top 10 finish.

Toney Freeman At The 2010 Olympia. Toney Freeman At The 2010 Olympia.
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21. Paco Bautista
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Qualifying last week in Spain, Bautista is huge and ripped. But not quite the standard of the Mr. Olympia. He will struggle to make the top 15.

Francisco Bautista At The 2010 Olympia. Francisco Bautista At The 2010 Olympia.
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22. Jay Cutler
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The reigning champion managed to pull it together for two years in a row, however Cutler's back is as weak as ever. With the standard of competition he is facing he is going to struggle to hold onto the title, but he still stands a chance as he is by far, the biggest man on stage.

Jay Cutler At The 2010 Olympia. Jay Cutler At The 2010 Olympia.
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The Callouts
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The First Callout:

The fans went nuts, but were also shocked to see the omission of precontest favorite, Kai Green. These four athletes are extremely close and pose a very difficult job for judging panel. Jay is by far carrying more muscle than everyone else, aside from Branch Warren. Branch is shredded but lacks the width of Cutler. Dexter is sliced and diced but is smaller than his fellow competitors. Then there is Phil Heath, smaller than Jay, not quite as dense as Branch but is out muscling Dexter. He is also peeled from head to toe.

The Second Callout:

Shocking inclusion of Freeman here, but it just goes to show you how great of condition he is in. Wolfe looked great and stands out in the lineup. Ronny Rockel is the guy to beat in this comparison; his conditioning is superior and his symmetry is near perfect. Green who many thought, myself included, was front runner for the title but failed to impress.

The Third Callout:

These lads were fighting for the final few places in the top 10. Markus looked great but then again so did Hide and Johnnie. Dennis is carrying a lot of muscle and may pull ahead here.

The Fourth Callout:

The Top 6 is who they are looking for. The more I see these guys together the more flaws in the champ I am finding. Phil Heath is by far the standout and deserves to win these rounds. I would have Dexter in second and Branch and Jay battling it out for 3rd and 4th. Wolfe and Rockel are rounding out the top 6, but I would have Rockel in 5th and Wolfe in 6th

The Fifth Callout:

The fight to make it to the top 15 was as tough of a battle as the fight for the title. What was great about this Olympia prejudging was that everyone from the top guys to whoever finishes at the end were all in great shape. It looks like Winklaar, Mishin and Alves were leading this group though.

The Sixth Callout:

This is the battle for 5th through 10th. I have Rockel leading this pack, with Wolfe chasing him. It's a battle between Maritnez and Green for 7th and 8th and Hide and Freeman are fighting for 9th and 10th.

The Seventh Callout:

Fighting for the last few places in the top 15, I have Winklaar leading this group, being followed by James, Haley and Jackson.

The Eighth Callout:

Piotrkowicz and Nunn looked to be the leaders in this call out. Bautista's tan does him more harm than good. Down with dream tan is what I say.

The Final Callout:

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The Finals
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The top 4 are cemented, however the place in which they finish is not. Phil is still the front runner in my expert opinion as he is excelling in all aspects of the sport in this contest. His symmetry is great, his muscularity is superb and he is fully pushing towards the top in the mass round. However, Jay is without a doubt the king of the mass round, Branch owns the muscularity round and Dexter is left playing bridesmaid in most rounds keeping him in the running. After this round, I score it:

  1. Phil Heath
  2. Branch Warren
  3. Dexter Jackson
  4. Jay Cutler

The finals are going to tell a different story, much like they did last year. Places will change, some athletes will get better, others not so much. One thing is for sure, this Olympia is by far the greatest contest I have ever witnessed. But who will take the title and be the last man standing? It's too close to call and will make for one of the greatest posedowns of all time.

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