2005 Mr. Olympia Preview.

I will now profile each of the athletes fighting for the top spots, and provide a placing prediction... Who do you think is going to take the top spot? Check it out.
The 2005 Mr. Olympia is upon us and, if media reports and public expectation are anything to go by, should be bigger and better than previous years. By all accounts, the anticipation and level of excitement surrounding the build-up to the most prestigious bodybuilding event in the world is warranted.

A revised challenge round, a wildcard showdown (a winner-take-all event staged the night prior to the big one, where those who haven't already qualified have a chance to do so), UFC cage fighting, a bench-press contest between Weider and MuscleTech athletes, a superstar training seminar and a state-of-the art arena will guarantee a total bodybuilding entertainment experience.

Of course, the main reason for attending the Mr. Olympia, held this year in Las Vegas from October 13 through 16, is to witness the greatest bodybuilders on earth struggle to wrest the crown of greatness, as they display physical perfection at its best.

This year the Olympia will again highlight the greatest physiques on the planet. What makes it possibly the greatest of all time, is the uncertainty surrounding exactly who will place where and who will walk away with the Sandow, the marked increase in muscle quality among the athletes (to take nothing away from previous contenders), and an increased pubic awareness of the enormity of this event.

The 2005 Mr. Olympia will indeed have it all; rivalries, surprises, anticipation, excitement, entertainment and, of course, magnificent physiques.


The Probable Top Contenders

I will now profile each of the athletes fighting for the top spots, and provide a placing prediction for each of them. I will start with the likely top ten, in no particular order, and work through the others (who are all worthy Olympia competitors, but are probably unlikely to win the top placing's).

This job is particularly hard given quality of physique all competitors possess. Presumed placing's are based on the Olympia background of all the competitors, their past placing's, and the collective opinions of fans and bodybuilding insiders. These are not exclusively my observations.


1. Gustavo Badell

    There was speculation that Gustavo was a one-hit-wonder, following his third placing at last years Olympia.

    However, earlier this year, Gustavo won the Ironman Pro, signaling his arrival as a true force, and smashing any notions that his physique could not compete with the big boys.

    A short time later, ahead of many big names, Gustavo placed third at the Arnold Classic. He has been criticized for a large waist, but recent reports have it that this is no longer a problem. A smaller waist, combined with the conditioning and size he is becoming famous for, should see Gustavo placing very highly this year.

      Prediction:
      Gustavo will finish third.


2. Chris Cormier

    Chris is one of the more experienced Olympia competitors, and this, combined with the unusual degree of symmetry he possess for such a big man, should see him placing within the top five.

    However, many have said that Chris has a habit of failing to peak sufficiently for the Olympia, and this could count against him if he miscalculates once again.

    The reality is, Chris probably has fewer physical flaws than any other Olympia competitor. If he times his peak perfectly, he may well place in the top three.

      Prediction:
      Chris will finish fourth.


3. Ronnie Coleman

    What can be said about Ronnie Coleman, that hasn't been said by commentators the world over.

    Ronnie's unparalleled level of muscular development and conditioning should secure him an eighth Olympia title. Before definitively predicting the top spot for Ronnie, two questions need to be asked.

    Can Ronnie win? Ronnie has proven that he can, by a wide margin, and, paradoxically, he appears to be getting stronger as the years go by. Is Ronnie beatable? Yes, but the only person who can prevent Ronnie from losing this year is himself.

    In other words, the Olympia is Ronnie's for losing - Ronnie owns the Olympia if he comes in the shape he is renowned for.

    However, if Ronnie mistimes his peak, and comes in slightly under par, several others will be lining up to dethrone him.

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An Interview With Seven-Time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman.
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      Prediction:
      Ronnie will finish first.


4. Darrem Charles

    Having won this years New York, and Toronto pro shows, Darrem is well positioned to cause an upset in one week.

    Darrem has magnificent conditioning and symmetry on his side, and with the new emphasis on aesthetics at this years Olympia, he could usher in a new breed of Olympian physique.

    Going toe to toe with mass monsters such as Ronnie and Jay is something Darrem cannot do, but the qualities he does bring to the stage, place him in a category all of his own.

    Darrem is one of today's most competitively successful pros, and depending on what the judges are looking for, could place either side of the top five.

      Prediction:
      Darrem will finish fifth.


5. Jay Cutler

    In previous Olympia's, Jay has come very close to unseating Ronnie, and he knows this years contest could be his, if everything goes right for him.

    Many are predicting Jay's triumph at this years Olympia, and he certainly has the package to do some serious damage. However, it is pretty safe to say that Ronnie is in a class of his own.

    n saying this, Jay has solidified his position as worlds second best bodybuilder (having come second to Ronnie on three occasions), and will probably, at some point, win the Sandow.

    The question is: can he do it this year? Jay truly thinks he can, as do his many fans. Many feel Ronnie will again triumph. We will have to wait and see on this one, but one thing is for sure: it will be a great battle.

      Prediction:
      Jay Cutler will finish second.


6. Victor Martinez

    All the talk surrounding Victor has him winning this contest in years to come. This year, however, he will need to bring his A-game as they say, to really stand any chance of placing in the top six.

    Victor has had a sporadic year, placing a disappointing third at the New York Pro, having been tipped to win the whole thing.

    Timing his peak is something Victor has had some difficulty doing upon turning pro, and this could prevent him from realizing his potential at this years Olympia.

    When Victor won the 2003 Night of Champions his conditioning was stunning. He has since added over 30lbs of muscle to his genetically gifted physique, and, if he comes in shape could place in the top six.

      Prediction:
      Victor will finish sixth.


7. Gunter Schlierkamp

    In recent years, Gunter has received his share of criticism regarding his allegedly over-rated physique. Many feel he is placed highly due to his popularity, and ties to Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazine.

    However, Gunter has a very complete physique for such a big man. He also arrives in great shape, and his stage presence is second to none.

    Furthermore, he is one of the only guys who can compare with Ronnie and Jay in the mass department.

    Granted, Gunter, rightly or wrongly, has placed highly in previous Olympia's. This year he is up against arguably the strongest field in the events history, and will have to bring a more complete, ultra-refined, package, to stand any chance of securing a similar placing.

      Prediction:
      Gunter will place eighth.


8. Dennis James

    One of the largest, most visually impressive, bodybuilders competing today is Dennis James.

    Dennis has placed as high as fourth in the Olympia and continues to impress with his gargantuan size. He does, however, have a tendency to demonstrate thickness around the waist, which throws off his symmetry.

    Case in point: two weeks ago, at the Charlotte Pro, Dennis was bested by an ultra-ripped Branch Warren, as he (Dennis) secured a second placing to qualify for this years Olympia.

    Dennis was roundly criticized for the waist he displayed at this show. However, if Dennis improves this aspect of his appearance, and comes in at 100-percent, he will make things very difficult for many of his fellow competitors.

      Prediction:
      Dennis will finish seventh (one place higher then last year).


9. Markus Rhul

    With the increasing emphasis on aesthetics, at the expense of sheer muscle mass, Markus could be in some degree of trouble at this years Olympia.

    Markus is probably second only to Ronnie in terms of muscle size. However, unlike Ronnie, Markus does not have the prettiest physique on stage (Ronnie does actually have great symmetry to compliment his massive size).

    Recent reports have it that Markus is looking less than impressive (compared to his previous showings), and will not place as highly this year.

    If the judges are looking for the freakiest physique on stage, they can look no further than the German giant. The problem for Markus is that bodybuilding is about completeness and marketability - most of his fellow competitors out-class him in these areas.

      Prediction:
      Markus will finish ninth.


The Other Competitors
(Who Could Pull Off An Upset)

Again, in no particular order.


10. Mustafa Mohammad

    Mustafa placed a disappointing 17th at last years Olympia, despite the general feeling that he would surprise many. Since this time, Mustafa has gained a lot of size, and has proven competitive in recent showings.

    Top five placing's in the Charlotte and Europa pro shows have given Mustafa the momentum he needs to place strongly at the Olympia.

    Unfortunately for Mustafa, the quality of competitors at this years Olympia may preclude a repeat performance. Having said this, he will probably improve on last years Olympia placing, and judging by the tremendous improvements he has made, could even break the top ten.

      Prediction:
      Mustafa will finish 16th.


11. Branch Warren

    Branch has had a tremendous year, besting two fields of quality athletes, in the short space of two-weeks, to win both the Europa Pro Show and Charlotte Men's bodybuilding event.

    Branch is known for his overall muscle density, and the best legs currently in the business.

    His symmetry, and conditioning, has also impressed over recent weeks. Branch will want to continue his spectacular run, as he makes his way up the bodybuilding ladder.

    However, at the Olympia, Branch will be facing the Ronnie's and Jay's of this world, and his physique may pale next to these experienced veterans.

    When it comes to placing well in the big one, experience and an ability to time one's peak, count for a lot. With an increased ability to do these things, Branch will become a real force at the Olympia.

      Prediction:
      Branch will finish 10th.


12. Quincy Taylor

    At the Europa Pro show earlier this year, Quincy impressed with his massive size and quality conditioning. He earned a third placing for his efforts.

    Two weeks later, Quincy again placed in the top five, this time at the Charlotte men's pro. Based on these performances, Quincy is sure to compare well on the Olympia stage in terms of size, and muscle quality.

    However, given the quality of competition and the experience needed to compete successfully in the big one, Quincy probably will not pose a legitimate threat. Additional experience and improved weak points will give him the edge for future Olympia's though.

      Prediction:
      Quincy will finish 17th.


13. Johnnie Jackson

    Popular Texan Johnnie Jackson will, as he has done at every show he has entered this year, undoubtedly provide a strong showing at the 2005 Olympia.

    Three second placing's (at the Toronto, Europa, and Charlottes Pro's), have positioned Johnnie as one of 2005's most successful bodybuilders.

    As everyone knows, however, the Olympia is a completely different story, and only the best of the best will place near the top. Blessed with an extraordinarily dense upper body, Johnnie will impress most in attendance at this years Olympia. If he can bring the same sort of conditioning he displayed at his other 2005 pro outings, Johnnie might finish one to two places higher than is predicted here.

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      Prediction:
      Johnnie will finish 13th (one ahead of last years placing).


14. Ronnie Rockel

    Ronnie qualified for the Olympia by placing third at the Australian Pro, behind eventual winner Lee Priest and runner up Chris Cormier.

    The physique Ronnie displayed at the Australian Pro was ultra-ripped and very impressive next to his fellow competitors on that particular day.

    The German native possesses a very dense, compact, physique, with great symmetry. In the smaller shows, he stands out by virtue of a smaller number of competitors, and the sheer quality of his physique.

    However, at the Olympia he is sure to be overlooked, but will impress nonetheless. Look for big things from Ronnie in future shows.

      Prediction:
      Ronnie Rockel will finish 20th.


15. Craig Richardson

    Craig impressed the judges enough at the New York Pro earlier this year to snatch a fourth placing. His physique is very complete, as he does not display any overwhelming, or underwhelming, muscle groups.

    His body has balance. Craig is not a small man, but his lack of size compared to his more experienced counterparts at this years Olympia, should see him placing out of the top ten.

    With more size, Craig will threaten for the top placing's in future Olympia's.

      Prediction:
      Craig will finish 18th.


16. Melvin Anthony Jr.

    Probably the best poser in the sport, Melvin Anthony has a magnificent physique, with great balance and no glaringly weak muscle groups.

    Compared to the big boys (who also have good balance) though, Melvin does not really pose any threat in terms of placing in the top echelon at this years Olympia.

    After winning the 2004 Night of Champion's (his first pro win), the marvelous one has taken time off to prepare exclusively for the 2005 Olympia. If Melvin times his peak perfectly, and demonstrates an improvement in size, he could break into the top ten, as he did in 2003 when he placed 9th. This year, though, Melvin is up against a vastly improved field of competitors.

      Prediction:
      Melvin will finish 12th.


17. Kris Dim

    The Kris Dim fans will not like this one, but with a higher quality field of competitors the Olympia will be a harder battle this year, and the top placing's will be reserved exclusively for established threats.

    Kris placed 12th last year, and continues to impress with his compact muscularity.

    Arms and Abs are big strengths of Kris's, and his conditioning is always near perfect. However, if he wants to threaten for the top placing's he will need to play the size game, while retaining the great symmetry he is known for.

      Prediction:
      Kris will finish 15th.


18. Alexander Federov

    Alexander is the unknown quantity at this years Olympia. His physique has been hyped to the point where many have him competing alongside Ronnie, Jay and Chris for the title of Mr. Olympia.

    However, Alexander does not have the experience of competing in an event as prestigious as the Olympia, and his physique, although big, has too many flaws, as demonstrated in previous showings. Conceivably, Alexander could place within the top ten. Realistically, he is likely to place outside of it.

      Prediction:
      Alexander will place 11th.


19. George Farah

    Although smaller than many of his Olympian counterparts, George presents a classy package onstage.

    Coming in ultra-ripped at his last appearance, the Charlotte Pro where he placed third to qualify for the Olympia, George will do himself, and his fans, proud when he stands onstage come October.

    Unfortunately, his physique, although clearly at Olympian level, cannot compete with the best onstage at the Olympia period.

      Prediction:
      George will finish 19th.


20. Ahmad Haidar

    The streamlined, and classy, Ahmed will at this years Olympia, demonstrate a physique worthy of the highest accolades - if one is judging purely from an aesthetic viewpoint.

    However, his lack of size will probably prevent him from breaking into the top ten.

    Ahmad, displaying the best abdominal development currently in the sport, placed an impressive second at this years New York Pro, ahead of several bodybuilding notables.

    With the Olympia's apparent emphasis on (balanced) size, Ahmad might sneak home with a placing one or two ahead of the one given here, but is unlikely to break the big time.

      Prediction:
      Ahmed will finish 14th.


21. Michael Sheridan

    At 5.5" and around 220lbs ripped, England's Michael Sheridan cuts an imposing appearance onstage.

    To qualify for this years Olympia, Michael presented an excellent package at the 2004 Russian Grand Prix, to come in third, one placing ahead of Alexander Federov.

    Although Michael does deserve his shot at the worlds biggest title, by virtue of his 2004 placing (which had him ahead of Kris Dim), to be brutally honest he will be out of his depth come Olympia time.

    This said, Michael will gain some excellent experience, which should position him to improve on this years placing in future shows.

      Prediction:
      Michael will finish 21st.


Lee Priest Update

Lee Priest's untimely withdrawal from the 2005 Olympia has shocked the bodybuilding world. Recent pictures of Lee show him looking to be in the best shape of his life - quite possibly even better than when he won the Australian Pro earlier this year. Lee has placed in the top six at the Olympia on three occasions, and was well positioned to repeat this performance come October.

Lee has a very large fan base, and many feel he could place near the top at the Olympia. Probably the thing that has let Lee down the most, during his long tenure as one of the better professionals around, is his inferior development in certain areas.

Comparatively weak chest and shoulder width have relegated Lee to the bottom half of the Olympia top ten (two seventh placing's and one eighth finish) on several occasions.

However, Lee's strengths are his ability to peak perfectly, and some of the best arms and legs the sport has ever seen. Based on his current level of conditioning, and his pro win earlier this year (where he beat Chris Cormier), Lee would conceivably have made the top five.

Forum Discussion:
Lee Out Of The Olympia?

Discuss Lee Priest's shocking withdrawl from the Olympia in the forum here.


The Wild Card Qualifier

This year an exciting dimension has been added to the Olympia weekend proceedings - the wild card showdown. Several pros, who haven't already qualified for the big one, have the opportunity to do so in this winner-take-all event.

One competitor gunning for the top spot might be David Henry, who has impressed all year with his near perfect physique, yet hasn't secured a qualifying position. Stay tuned on this one.

    To Learn More About The Wild Card Qualifier Click Here.

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