Alex Velickovic's 2008 Australian Pro Review!

I have been fortunate to have attended the last 4 Australian Grand Prix and this years show due to the anticipated line up was building up - pardon the pun, with great expectations. Read on to find out what I though about the placings and more...

Being a bodybuilding fan in Australia is not without it's challenges. Sure we've hosted a memorable Mr. Olympia 1980 (for those who were following bodybuilding competitions that far back) and a pro show in 1989.

It wasn't until recent years (since 2001) driven by the enthusiasm of contest promoter Tony Doherty Aussies have had a Pro show as a regular part of the competition calendar.

I have been fortunate to have attended the last 4 Australian Grand Prix and this years show due to the anticipated line up was building up - pardon the pun, with great expectations.

Never before has the line up in Australia has been so deep. Dexter Jackson was coming off a win at the Arnold Classic, Melvin Anthony with a lot to prove, new sensation Moe Moussawi not least to forget top calibre pro's of the likes of Toney Freeman, Troy Alves and not least the 2006 champ Ronny Rockel.

Dexter Jackson's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
Watch All The Routines Below.

Anyway, like last year I was asked by Dan Solomon to provide some coverage of the event for Pro Bodybuilding Weekly (I appeared on the Triple H episode # 66) and I was able to snag a all access media pass to take pictures and provide some feedback for the show.

PRO BODYBUILDING WEEKLY
WWE Superstar Triple H Guest: WWE Superstar Triple H
Date: 03/12/07
(Radio Show 66) - mp3 (13.2 MB)

I arrived in Melbourne from Sydney, the Friday before the show and in the early afternoon after checking in to my room I made the 10 minute walk to Dohertys Gym. The plan was to briefly catch up with Tony, also have a chest workout and if lucky to do a bit of "pro" spotting.

As luck would have it, I did all three. The first pro I saw was Martin Kjellstrom, Martin and I met last year and he graciously recalled our conversation (I'm not sure if he really did or was just being polite - but regardless it was kind gesture).

Kjellstrom was big as a house, and was weighing a depleted 295! To me he looked like just about the biggest person I had ever seen and I asked for him to pose for a quick picture, which he did but he said he wasn't going to smile.

I asked out of curiosity why? and he showed me that his front tooth was knocked out - gym injury and he was to have a dental appointment to get it temporarily repaired for the show.

Kjellstorm
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Martin Kjellstrom.

Shortly thereafter, in comes Dexter Jackson, Melvin Anthony and Troy Alves. I thought it was my lucky day, last year on the Friday before the show there wasn't besides Kjellstrom another pro in the gym.

Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony.

Today Dexter was quiet, Melvin was anything but quiet and Troy was all class. Dexter seemed reluctant to pose pix, Melvin was smart cracks and smiles ear to ear.

Troy Alves
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Troy Alves.

Troy, despite wearing a long sleeve T, was happy hit some shots and to talk until I had enough to say. By this stage of the afternoon I wanted to get some food and rest for the next day.

Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson.

Showtime! I got to the venue at 10am to get some pics of the bodybuilders at the athletes meeting and to hear what the promoter and head judge had to say. Not much said - at least not interesting anyway.

Once the pre-show formalities were done and out of the way, the bodybuilders filed into the backstage area to get their tan right and to pump up for prejudging.

Dexter & Melvin found a room and stayed away from everyone else, Kjellstrom also disapeared to an upstairs backstage area. Sergey Shelestov and Oscar Tua Dexter, two of the three biggest men in the show, also found a room to prepare but they kept their door open so media could take pics.

Sergey Shelestov
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Sergey Shelestov.

Ronny Rockel and Toney Freeman were in the main backstage area. Rockel was ready fairly quickly and spent most of the time talking to his wife in German. Freeman was shoveling enough PB on rice cakes to feed a medium sized family in ethiopia.

Sergey Shelestov & Ronny Rockel
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Sergey Shelestov & Ronny Rockel.

What was funny was that Freeman had his ipod headphones in his ears and was acting like he was in his own world/space, then if someone he wanted to speak to came by he was hearing everything.

Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman.

Another funny observation came from the new rising star Moe Moussawi. Moe seemed a bit aggressive to his people in his corner - as they were taking pics of the other pros rather than focusing on applying his color. Moe, to his credit, always smiled when someone came by with a camera or to pass on their good wishes.

Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman.

Besides Freeman, the most relaxed person backstage was definitely Troy Alves. This guy loved to talk to anyone who approached him, he was giving advice to all backstage, laughing, joking around and even talked about how he misses his granddaughter.

Troy Alves Troy Alves
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Troy Alves.

Soon enough pre-judging started and I scrambled back to my seat so I wouldn't miss anything and as predicted and since reported the competition was on for 2nd place.

Dexter looked from another planet, with the only other person comparable in condition was Moe. Dexter's combination of size, fullness, shape and condition was incomparable.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Australian Pro.

I was impressed when I saw Melvin Anthony, the way he presented on stage was impressive as was his lats when he did a front double bicep pose.. sheesh!

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Australian Pro.

The person who impressed me next was Troy Alves. As a fan of Troy's I've seen many pics and footage of Alves over the years and to be quite honest, up until now I wasn't all that impressed with his conditioning - Troy has good arms, good back detail, nice symmetry.

Troy Alves Troy Alves
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Troy Alves At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Troy Alves At The 2008 Australian Pro.

To see him in the condition that he was in and how continually tight he was getting as he posed more and more had him in my opinion heading into third place. In my opinion I don't believe that on the pro stage that the competitor's conditioning should out weigh or out score good shape and structure.

I had Moe in fourth and Freeman in fifth positions respectfully. Moe's symmetry needs work as his biceps overshadow the rest of his physique and Freeman's type of physique needs to be absolutely shredded to dominate the larger prize money.

Moe El Moussawi Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Moe El Moussawi At The 2008 Australian Pro.

When sixth's place was announced, my heart sank as Ronny was clearly confused by his placing. Ronny was just a little out of his depth for the quality of the competition he was good but not great this year.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel At The 2008 Australian Pro.

The positions from 7-10 were deserved. Shelestov after a 40 hour flight and having arriving on the Friday before the show was always going to be a week away in his conditioning.

Sergey Shelestov Sergey Shelestov
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Sergey Shelestov At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Sergey Shelestov At The 2008 Australian Pro.

Jaroslav was, in my opinion, too light to make any impact on results. Martin Kjellstrom was too heavy and his color wasn't flatering to his physique.

Jaroslav Hovarth Jaroslav Hovarth
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Jaroslav Hovarth At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Jaroslav Hovarth At The 2008 Australian Pro.

Some notable mentions came from positions 11 onwards Ocsar Tua Dexter who's mass and symmetry impressed me. Oscar said he had earned his pro card by comming sixth at the French Nationals.

Oscar Dexter Oscar Dexter
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Oscar Tua Dexter At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Oscar Dexter At The 2008 Australian Pro.

Other notabile mentions must go to Con Demetrious and Michael Kingsnorth who made their pro debut in Melbourne.

Michael Kingsnorth Michael Kingsnorth
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Michael Kingsnorth At The 2008 Australian Pro.
View More Pics Of Michael Kingsnorth At The 2008 Australian Pro.

The competitor who brought in the rear was Oliver Adzieski. Oliver travelled from Sweeden to Melbourne and needs more mass to mix it with the top names, as does Bola Ojexs who presented a physique that was reminiscent of a young Wheeler, and Sala ibrahim who was outclassed, too thin too win.