Dan Solomon Previews The Arnold Classic.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's annual muscle bash in Columbus is a stark contrast to the humdrum political events that line the Governor's calendar each week. These days, Arnold finds himself among state legislators, political advisors, lobbyists and countless..
Arnold Schwarzenegger's annual muscle bash in Columbus is a stark contrast to the humdrum political events that line the Governor's calendar each week. These days, Arnold finds himself among state legislators, political advisors, lobbyists and countless others who have never trained a glute... but have mastered the art of kissing one.

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For one weekend each year, Arnold can immerse himself in a world that genuinely defines who Arnold is... and where he began his journey toward unimaginable stardom and influence as a 7-time Olympia champion.

Over the past 3 years, Jay Cutler has left Columbus the victor, complete with three new Hummers and a cool $300,000. Last year's Arnold Classic wasn't without its share of controversy as Jay fended off a furious charge by a field that included a ripped Dexter Jackson and a chiseled Chris Cormier. For this year's event, the defending champ will be in the audience, counting his money and enjoying a well-deserved respite.

Despite the absence of Iron Jay, fans who journeyed to Columbus will be treated to a lineup of champions that include the winners of last years Ironman Pro (Dexter Jackson), last years Show of Strength (Victor Martinez), last years Toronto Pro (Darrem Charles), last years Night of Champions (Melvin Anthony) and last weeks Ironman Pro (Gustavo Badell).


A Look At The Contenders...

  
Gustavo Badell

No longer sneaking up on anyone, Gustavo is now a threat to win any show he enters. His physique is loaded with generous portions of thick, well conditioned muscle. He proved in Las Vegas that he can go pose for pose with anyone and he removed any "one hit wonder" questions last weekend when he secured his first pro victory at the Ironman.

  
Dexter Jackson

Dexter should be considered the favorite for one reason... he has proven to be prepared time and time again. Dexter flat out knows how to peak when the money is on the line. After a frustrating 4th place finish at last years Olympia, The Blade is looking to back-up his claim that he is a better bodybuilder than Gustavo Badell.

  
Chris Cormier

Cormier has fast become one of the most perplexing stories in the game. Finishing 2nd in each of his past 5 trips to Columbus, Cormier is running out of time. Reports out of L.A. indicate that Chris is doing his homework for this show. His physique lacks 2 things; a weakness and a strength. The former has kept Chris near the top... the latter has prevented him from landing there.

  
Darrem Charles

Excluding the Olympia, Darrem has finished no lower than 2nd place in 6 out of the past 7 shows he's entered and he has not missed a final posedown since 2001. Darrem has boldly indicated that he considers himself a contender to win this event after adding a few more quality pounds to his shredded frame. (Darrem's Pre-Arnold Interview)

  
Victor Martinez

Genetics and structure have taken Victor a long way. We have yet to see Victor nail his conditioning, but he seems to be a favorite of the judges. His victory at the Show of Strength was debatable, but it is clear that Victor has emerged as a top tier pro... and a contender in Columbus.

 
Lee Priest

After an impressive showing at last weeks Ironman, it's clear that Lee is not ready to hang up his trunks just yet. Although, he will have to find a way to rid his legs of the damaging layer of water that he carried on stage at the Ironman. A 5th place finish is realistic... but nothing higher.


Dan's Predictions:

    1st - Gustavo Badell
    2nd - Dexter Jackson
    3rd - Chris Cormier
    4th - Darrem Charles
    5th - Victor Martinez
    6th - Lee Priest

As always, Pro Muscle Online and Bodybuilding.com will be on hand to cover all the action from Columbus!