Isaac Hinds' 2008 Arnold Classic Review.

While everyone in attendance tries to recover from the wild and crazy weekend a number of the IFBB Pro Bodybuilders will be heading to the land down under to compete in the New Zealand and Australia shows. Here is my review of the 2008 Arnold Classic

Another Arnold Classic is in the books. While everyone in attendance tries to recover from the wild and crazy weekend a number of the IFBB Pro Bodybuilders will be heading to the land down under to compete in the New Zealand and Australia shows.

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Men's Breakdown
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There was a ton of hype going into the Men's portion of the competitions. Phil Heath was coming off a victory at the Iron Man Pro and Dexter Jackson was hungry to reclaim his ASC title for the third time. Melvin Anthony was looking to upset them both and show he was more than just a killer poser.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
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Phil Heath At The 2008 Iron Man Pro.

View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 Iron Man Pro.

The men had a few surprises in their contests that not many could have expected. Let me break it down as I saw it from the front row of the show. I wrote a preview article going into the show, how close was I in my predictions.

As you can see I wasn't too far off in most of my predictions with the exception of a couple. The surprises of the show were Melvin Anthony and Branch Warren but for different reasons. Branch was second to Dexter a couple years ago but has struggled to match up with him since.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2008 Arnold.

Branch improved his physique and came looking for the title. One of the hardest, most conditioned guys on the stage he looked awesome, especially in the legs. He's always known for his huge legs but this year he brought his upper body more in line with the lower.

Finishing in fourth was a great showing for Branch. Melvin Anthony showed up too heavy and not in his best condition. He has all the parts to be a champ but lately it's been hit or miss for Melvin.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony At The 2008 Arnold.

He tried to come in different then his Olympia showing that proved to be a mistake. It was clear Melvin was not happy by te looks he displayed when he wasn't called out in the first couple of comparisons. Many thought he could win the show, including the former swami Lonnie Teper.

Melvin now has the Swami Curse. If Lonnie predicts you'll win you're most likely jinxed. Look for Melvin to come into better shape in Australia and be battling it out with Dexter in the top callouts.

Lonnie Teper Respond To His Predictions.

Your winner was Dexter "The Blade" Jackson for a third time. Dex was in great condition, as always, and brought the best Dexter Jackson to date.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Arnold.

He wasn't about to let this new, young cat coined "The Gift" ruin his party. Oh no, The Blade was sliced and diced which proved to be the winning combo. Dexter didn't win unanimously on the scorecards and I did see it closer than the scores showed between him and Phil.

Dex is headed to Australia now to attempt two victories in a row. When accepting the title from Arnold on Saturday night, he attributed his conditioning to Muscle Tech's Hydroxycut Hardcore.

Phil Heath improved dramatically from 07 to 08 and was able to hold his own against the champ. There would be no gift for Heath as he landed in second, which many felt was deserved. I am a biased as I'm friends with Phil and have seen him compete in every show he's done.


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Phil Heath At The 07 and 08 Arnold.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath.

He's come a long way and look for him to improve even more before his first Olympia showing this year. All Phil needs is time and he will become one of the best bodybuilders of all-time. Phil didn't get one wish though and that was to be compared next to Melvin Anthony.

Phil Heath Phil Heath
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Phil Heath.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath At The 2008 Arnold.

I remember Melvin telling me at the NPC Jr. Nationals when Phil won, that Phil was good but no way could he hang with the big boys like him. Well, it looks like time tells and Heath showed he is now a legit top six at the Olympia

Kai Greene is one of the best posers in the biz. He also brings some of the craziest conditioning to the stage. I thought he was in better condition when he won the Colorado Pro show in 2007 but he was still in great shape for this show.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2008 Arnold.

Kai added some size since we last saw him and if he comes in a little sharper watch out. His back is tremendous and his quads show more dicing than an episode of IRONCHEF AMEREICAN. He's also a top six contender for the Olympia.

Kai Greene's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
Watch All The Routines Below.

Branch had people buzzing before the show about how crazy he would look. He definitely showed up in shape and had improved his physique.

Branch has always been one of the most muscular guys on stage and this event was no different. He walked away with the Most Muscular award and rightfully so. The crowd sent out a string of boos when he was announced 4th but it was a good call by the judges.

Most Muscular
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Branch Warren Wins The Most Muscular Award.

Rounding out the top six, Silvio Samuel and Gustavo Badell will both be taking their Olympia qualifications to Vegas this September. Silvio placed behind Gustavo two weeks ago at the Iron Man but was able to tighten up and beat Gustavo this time out.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Arnold.

Silvio is now going to take some time off before he begins his Olympia prep. Gustavo needs to continue to work on bringing his legs back in line with where they were a couple years ago.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell.
View More Pics Of Gustavo Badell At The 2008 Arnold.

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Women's Breakdown
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The women took to the stage on Friday night and there were a few expected placings and a number of surprises. The biggest shock came when Iris Kyle was not called out in the top 6. Iris was the defending champ and looking to repeat. Anyone who was at the prejudging could see suspicious marks in her buttocks and shoulders.

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Suspicious Marks.

I sat directly behind the judges and it was blatantly obvious she shouldn't have competed. Like the men I previewed and made predictions on the show. Clearly no one saw Iris out of the top six, but aside from that I wasn't too far off in the top six.

Iris Kyle Iris Kyle
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Iris Kyle.
View More Pics Of Iris Kyle At The 2008 Arnold.

When Lonnie Teper asked me who I thought I saw winning this show I told him Yaxeni. She was the mot balanced between with her muscle and conditioning. It was clear to me she'd be the winner on Friday night.

Yaxeni Oriquen Yaxeni Oriquen
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Yaxeni Oriquen.
View More Pics Of Yaxeni Oriquen At The 2008 Arnold.

Dayana Cadeau gave her a run for her money but ended up in the bride's maid spot again. Lisa Aukland took my predicted spot in third and carries a nice balance of muscle and conditioning. The only surprise to me was the judges calling Iris Kyle out with some of the top callouts.

Lisa Aukland Lisa Aukland
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Lisa Aukland.
View More Pics Of Lisa Aukland At The 2008 Arnold.

I didn't think she deserved to be in those callouts when she was clearly not going to place well due to the funky marks on her body. Betty Pariso showed that age doesn't matter when it comes to placing well. She's the oldest competitor on stage but showed a seasoned veteran can often have the upper hand.

Betty Pariso Betty Pariso
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Betty Pariso.
View More Pics Of Betty Pariso At The 2008 Arnold.

Brenda Raganot has an amazing physique when she is in shape. She showed that at this show and placed ahead of Kathy LeFrancois for fifth. Kathy looked her best ever and if there were two weight classes I would have put her in first. She doesn't have the muscle many of the others do and it could be attributed to when she tried to downsize for figure.

Brenda Raganot Brenda Raganot
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Brenda Raganot.
View More Pics Of Brenda Raganot At The 2008 Arnold.

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Figure
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Aside from my correct picks with Gina Aliotti winning and Amy Fry in third, I had a few misplaced competitors. Gina, in my opinion, was the clear winner from the moment she took the stage.

Gina Aliotti Gina Aliotti
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Gina Aliotti.
View More Pics Of Gina Aliotti At The 2008 Arnold.

She wasn't crazy hard with her conditioning but was still one of the hardest competitors on stage. I like the look she brought to this show and if she brings a similar look to the Olympia, watch out Jenny Lynn.

Jennifer Gates showed me what was difference a few weeks can make. I predicted her in fourth as I thought she was too far behind in her prep and wouldn't be able to catch up. She showed that I was once again wrong and she is a top competitor in the IFBB. Second place for her was great and well deserved.

Jennifer Gates Jennifer Gates
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Jennifer Gates.
View More Pics Of Jennifer Gates At The 2008 Arnold.

Amy Fry is one of the tallest competitors and carries herself well. She is balanced and looks great. She could win a smaller show or two if she chooses to compete before the Olympia.

Amy Fry Amy Fry
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Amy Fry.
View More Pics Of Amy Fry At The 2008 Arnold.

The surprise to many was Chastity Slone back in the top placing. Few people predicted her to crack the top six at this show. She looked great and caught the judges attention for a top spot.

Chastity Slone Chastity Slone
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Chastity Slone.
View More Pics Of Chastity Slone At The 2008 Arnold.

Sonia Adcock landed in fifth and yet again I was wrong in my predictions, I had her in second before the show. Sonia looked like she had over-dieted for this show and her legs continue to be her downfall. No question, she is a beautiful woman but it's about the entire look and not just a pretty face.

Sonia Adcock Sonia Adcock
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Sonia Adcock.
View More Pics Of Sonia Adcock At The 2008 Arnold.

If it were all about pretty faces, newcomer Nicole Wilkins would be winning every show. Rounding out the top 6 was Paola Almerico, who showed up looking great in her Arnold debut. The most overlooked competitor was Juliana Malacarne. She is the most balanced competitor on stage but continues to place low because of all the muscle she carries. I had her in 4-7 place after prejudging.

Juliana Malacarne Juliana Malacarne
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Juliana Malacarne.
View More Pics Of Juliana Malacarne At The 2008 Arnold.

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Fitness
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I wasn't too far off with my predictions in fitness, with the exception of Oksana Grishina. I predicted her in third and was a wee bit off base.

Winning another Fitness International title was, Kim Klien. As her father corrected me backstage after her win, it is no longer Klien I asked Kim about this on video right before she went into the Athlete's meeting on Thursday night and she confirmed she was single and couldn't be happier.

The reason it still said Klien was because of the promotional materials and score sheets were printed with Klien on them. She will be going by Schiedler from now on. A new name and a new Kim, fitting for this ASC. Her physique had never looked better and she had a vibe about her that showed calmness and confidence.

Kim Klien Kim Klien
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Kim Klien.
View More Pics Of Kim Klien At The 2008 Arnold.

She was more personable and seemed more relaxed than in year's past. Her routine was reflective of being free in her personal life and it was well performed. I had Kim pegged as the winner after prejudging.

Jen Hendershott came in second and is one of my favorite competitors in fitness. I lover her raw energy but being objective, I actually would have placed her in third at this show. Something about her routines this year didn't WOW me.

Jen Hendershott Jen Hendershott
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Jen Hendershott.
View More Pics Of Jen Hendershott At The 2008 Arnold.

They were good but they weren't over the top, in your face, knock your socks off like in years past. I'll have to follow up with Jen on the routine and the connection to her friend who passed away last year. She dedicated it to her friend and mentioned there was a connection to her in it. Jen will always be one of the top competitors.

Julie Palmer flipped into third. I like Julie and she has improved her routines and physique over the years. Again, nothing personal but I didn't see her in third. I thought her two-minute routine was a little hokey and took to long to setup.

Julie Palmer Julie Palmer
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Julie Palmer.
View More Pics Of Julie Palmer At The 2008 Arnold.

She was dressed as a golfer and hit some type of Nerf balls into the crowd. I was afraid one was going to zip into a judge or photographer's eye. As I mentioned in my previews it would be a battle of the Julies and it proved to be true.

Julie Lohre placed fourth and I would have her in second. Her physique looked great, her strength moves were awesome and she is stepping on stage with more confidence. You can see it in her posing and her routines that she is comfortable on stage. She performs her routines with ease and gave one of the better routines at the evening show.

Julie Lohre Julie Lohre
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Julie Lohre.
View More Pics Of Julie Lohre At The 2008 Arnold.

Tracey Greenwood and Regiane Da Silva rounded out the top six. They both put on a clinic in the routine rounds. Their physiques hold them back from moving up in the ranks but if either enters the right show throughout the year they could be in the top 2.

Tracey Greenwood Tracey Greenwood
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Tracey Greenwood.
View More Pics Of Tracey Greenwood At The 2008 Arnold.

The two NPC National winners were at the bottom of the placings but weren't out of place on stage with the veterans. Oksana was clearly not at her best and was the poorest showing from her since taking the stage in the states.

Oksana Grishina Oksana Grishina
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Oksana Grishina.
View More Pics Of Oksana Grishina At The 2008 Arnold.

I like her routines and her 45 second one is off the hook. Her physique hurt her in the placings and she needs to go back to the look she brought to The Arkansas Pro show. She's a champ and if her physique improves, watch out!

That's how I saw it from the front row and while some placings I didn't agree with, overall it was a great show and well judged. It's a great beginning to the year and look for a number of these competitors to do well through out 2008.

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Top 15 Posing Routines
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