The 2004 IFBB contest season is just days away. The "early" shows are highlighted by Jay Cutler's quest for an unprecedented 3rd consecutive Arnold Classic title. But that's not all. The Ironman has added Dexter Jackson and Craig Titus to its line-up to battle a field that includes an inspired Lee Priest. Reader mail has been pouring in from fans eager to get a jump start on the action:
[ Q ] I just checked out the new IFBB Top 20 Rankings. Do we really need a bunch of voters to tell us that Ronnie Coleman is the best in the world?
A: Great question James. Of course we don't need anyone to tell us that Ronnie is the best in the business... he made that point loud and clear at the Olympia. In fact, I am please to report that every single voter had Ronnie in the top spot. The rankings become more interesting as you look further down the list. It's a great way to get an accurate idea of how everyone else is "perceived".
For example, I was a bit surprised to see how much respect Dennis James received from the voting panel... Dennis is ranked 4th. (Right: Ronnie at the 2003 Olympia)
We have received a ton of email from fans who are questioning why Gunter fell to 7th and how Lee Priest dropped all the way to 15th following his poor showing at the Olympia. Let's face it; these athletes pride themselves on being respected within the industry.
[ Q ] Dan, what are Darrem Charles' plans for this year. I noticed that his name is not on the list for any of the upcoming shows. What's the deal?
A: After finishing among the Top 7 at the Olympia, Darrem decided that he wanted to take a bit more time to elevate his physique to a new level by adding some quality pounds. As a result, he'll be skipping the early shows this year as he prepares for the May events.
Darrem has quietly indicated to me that he will be extremely tough to beat at the Night of Champions. The N.O.C. is a title that Darrem covets... stay tuned. In the mean time, we have been busy booking Darrem for guest appearances. Darrem remains one of the most requested guest performers in the industry.
[ Q ] Any thoughts on the upcoming Ironman Pro show?
A: This show was wide open... until Dexter Jackson decided to hop in. Dexter is riding a ton of momentum from last year. It's seems clear that it's Dexter's show to win or lose. I've heard a lot of positive feedback from several folks who have been following Lee Priest. I suppose Lee, at his best, has the goods to make it very interesting.
I'm also very anxious to see the latest version of Craig Titus. Craig will bring the best lower body development to the stage.
His decision to skip the Olympia has given him a full 9 months to prepare for this event.
[ Q ] Rumors have been circulating that the Arnold Classic will be televised this year. Is this true?
A: It appears that this rumor is true. Wayne DeMillia reported to Pro Muscle Online that the event will be carried on pay-per-view.
Dorian Yates will be joining the broadcast booth to provide analysis. Wayne also reports that the event will be available on most cable services including DirecTV. Stand by for more information.
[ Q ] Dan, I heard that Jay Cutler actually has his own line of collectible mini-hobby cars. Do you know where these can be purchased?
A: Yes, a California based company has launched a limited edition line of die-cast collectible cars called "Muscle Machines". These will soon be available in the mass market at retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kmart etc... The cars will be officially launched at the upcoming Arnold Classic Fitness Expo.
[ Q ] Hey Dan, great article in last months Muscle & Fitness. Always enjoy your articles!
A: Thanks Marcy. I appreciate the feedback. The article that you are referring to was especially enjoyable to write because it focused on my good friend Darrem Charles. I was informed by the editors at M&F that the article scored very high among the readers. Keep an eye out for more articles in future issues.
Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year! Be sure to visit www.ProMuscleOnline.com for all the latest from around the world of pro bodybuilding & fitness.
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Until next time...