David Robson's 2007 Arnold Classic Review.

Overall, the 2007 Arnold Classic will be remembered for three things: the crowning of a new champion in Victor Martinez, the solidification of Toney Freeman, and the emergence of Phil Heath... Here is a closer look at the top six!

One week before the Arnold Classic pro men's event, I predicted that it would be close between Dexter Jackson and Victor Martinez for the title, but that Victor, based on his current form and ranking would win. Well history will show that Victor did win, but not without competition from some of the toughest competitors ever seen on a professional stage.

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As usual, Dexter Jackson was on, but again he was the same old Dexter. Victor, on the other hand, seemed to have improved both in size and confidence from his third placing at the 2006 Mr. Olympia. Pushing them both was the second biggest man onstage, Toney Freeman (the biggest being Marcus Ruhl).

I predicted Toney would place fifth; such are the improvements he has made over the past year. But third now puts him in some really respectable company and theoretically places him in the top five at this years Olympia should he bring a similar package.

In fourth was Gustavo Badell, a placing I predicted would be his as he is still a very dangerous competitor, one who always brings the right size and shape when it counts.

Fifth and sixth brought us surprises in the sharply contrasting forms of Phil Heath and Silvio Samuel respectively. Both of these men have the potential to become bodybuilding's next biggest stars, and they certainly shone bright at the Columbus Convention Center with near-flawless shape and good size.

Overall, the 2007 Arnold Classic will be remembered for three things: the crowning of a new champion in Victor Martinez, the solidification of Toney Freeman as a front-runner for the Olympia top five and the emergence of Phil Heath and Silvio Samuel as new threats. Lets now take a closer look at the top six.


1. Victor Martinez:

    One of the favorites going into this show, everyone was watching to see just how favourably Victor might stack up against winner for the past two years, Dexter Jackson.


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Victor Martinez.
View More Pics Of Victor At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    While neither men were at the their best condition-wise, Victor brought a fresh perspective to the stage, with greater size compared to Dexter's slight edge in conditioning and shape. Victor is a guy who seems to have it all: great shape, size, and the right attitude. The question now is, "who can beat him come Olympia time?"

Victor Martinez Posing Routine.
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2. Dexter Jackson:

    In a hard fought battle with Victor, the sliced one eventually lost by a narrow margin. Visibly upset to have had his winning run broken, Dexter still gave the crowd plenty to talk about: some of the best shape and conditioning onstage.


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Dexter Jackson.
View More Pics Of Dexter At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    Can he come back to claim his third best bodybuilder in the world status? With improvements, any improvements, and, of course, dominance over the new Arnold Champ, Victor Martinez, this is probable.

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Dexter Jackson.

Windows Media (7.0 MB)


3. Toney Freeman:

    Easily the biggest, most muscular man in the top six, Toney dominated the stage for the most part. It seemed he was able to hold his conditioning from the Sacramento Pro, which he won a week earlier.


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Toney Freeman.
View More Pics Of Toney At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    Actually, Toney looked bigger and better at the Arnold, proving what he said five days out: that he would continue to improve to make it four shows out of four. Well, he did improve, but it is now two out of three for the big man, a feat that makes him the most successful bodybuilder of 2007 right now. One suspects his 2007 winning steak has not finished.

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Toney Freeman.

Windows Media (10.1 MB)


4. Gustavo Badell:

    Always a threat, Gustavo brought to the Arnold stage one of his best efforts yet. Seeming to get better as the show progressed, he kept fighting for the top position. It was not to be though, and he ended in fourth.


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Gustavo Badell.
View More Pics Of Gustavo At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    Gustavo always reminds me of a prizefighter when he competes. He never takes a backward step and literally forces the judges to take note. What they saw in Columbus was a ripped to the bone Gustavo with some of the best size onstage.

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Gustavo Badell.

Windows Media (9.6 MB)


5. Phil Heath:

    "The Gift" could not be a more apt name for Phil. From every angle he looked great and his shape would have to be almost unsurpassed. His conditioning, as usual, was terrific. He did, however, seem to be a little down on size compared to the likes of Victor and Gustavo.


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Phil Heath.
View More Pics Of Phil At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    When he can combine maybe 20 more pounds of muscle with his already superior shape he could, in the near future, win the Mr. Olympia. He is that good. Fifth in his first Arnold should be considered an excellent achievement, as he was up against bodybuildings very best.

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Phil Heath.

Windows Media (8.2 MB)


6. Silvio Samuel:

    With a special "last-minute" invite to the Arnold, Silvio Samuel proved that his recent successes (including second at the Sacramento Pro) were no fluke to place ahead of many perennial competitors in Columbus. His shape and size cannot be denied.


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Silvio Samuel.
View More Pics Of Silvio At The 2007 Arnold: Finals

    In a sport that often contrasts the more massive competitors with smaller, more aesthetic guys, Silvio is unique in that he provides both along with his own distinct shape. Sporting some of the best leg development seen in some time along with biceps that dwarf his head and shoulders, but not out of place, Silvio has a look that will take him far in this sport.

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Silvio Samuel Saviour.

Windows Media (8.9 MB)