2005 Ironman Pro Report.

Mr. Natural Universe & Mr. Natural Olympia winner takes his time to talk about the results along with his comments from the 2005 Ironman...
The 2005 Pro IRONMAN Pro Invitational took place on February 19, 2005 in rainy Pasadena, California. Although the skies opened up and gave a steady deluge of rain for the full weekend, it didn't dampen the competitive enthusiasm onstage where the Pro IRONMAN boosted one of its finest line-ups in the 16 year history of the contest.

Riding on the momentum of his impressive third place finish in the 2004 Mr. Olympia, Gustavo Badell was placed in the unusual position of the favorite to win this year's Pro IronMan Invitational.

In addition, last year's runner-up, Lee Priest [Interview], was back and promised to compete in his standard winning condition. Add in Melvin Anthony [Interview], 2004 Night of the Champions winner and Troy Alves, who was promising to return to the refined condition of his rookie year in 2003, and you've got one impressive line-up.

Lee Priest @ The 2004 Ironman & Various Competitors.

All of the competitors participated in a weigh-in on Friday night at the Fit Expo. Most of the athletes choose to keep their warm-up suits on with their physiques under wraps until the contest officially began on Saturday morning. However, Gustavo Badell was feeling ultra-confident and he took off his warm-ups to reveal his drastically improved physique to the audience. Troy Alves soon joined him for a mini-posedown to the delight of the crowd.

The bodyweights of the competitors were all announced to the crowd as they individually stepped on the scale. Gustavo weighed a massive 250 pounds, 16 pounds heavier than at this same show last year. Lee Priest was four pounds heavier at 203 pounds. Troy Alves was a ripped 221 pounds while Melvin Anthony tipped the scales at 233.

Gustavo & Troy @ The Press Conference.

King Kamali surprised everyone by weighing a massive 254 while his rival Craig Titus came in a little lighter at 238 pounds. The heaviest competitor in the show was Ed Van Amsterdam who weighed in at an astounding 305 pounds.

Here Are The Final Results Along With My Comments For The 2005 Pro IronMan Invitational:

1st Place - Gustavo Badell

Gustavo looked incredible in winning his first pro show of his career. Weighing 250 pounds at a height of 5'7"-5'8", Gustavo was ultra-thick and hard. He almost looks like he is on the verge of being too big as his waistline is threatening to expand due to the incredible mass he has added to his physique in the last year. He overwhelmed the competition with his superior thickness and hard conditioning. No one on stage could match Gustavo in the mass and thickness department and it should be interesting to see how he places at the Arnold Classic two weeks later. With much tougher competition (Cormier, Dexter and Victor Martinez), Gustavo will have his work cut out for him but he should be right up there with the best in the sport. After all, Gustavo did beat all three of these competitors at last year's Mr. Olympia.

2nd Place - Lee Priest

Lee has placed second four times at the Pro IronMan and he was hoping to end that bridesmaid position with a win here but he couldn't overcome the mass and hardness of Gustavo. Lee presented his standard thickness and size combined with rock hard muscularity but his legs and glutes still looked a little too soft compared to his vascular and ripped upper body. His arms and legs are still some of the biggest in the pro division but he needed to be harder than ever to take first place this year.

3rd Place - Troy Alves

Troy was in fantastic condition at the Pro IronMan. He stepped onstage full and very hard and, with his great shape and aesthetic proportions, many in the audience thought Troy should have won this competition. It's all a matter of individual choice and the judges went with the impressive thickness of Gustavo and Lee over the incredible shape and hardness of Troy. After a disappointing year in 2004, Troy redeemed himself with his condition at this show. Often criticized for displaying soft hamstrings and glutes, Troy proudly showed off his hard and striated glutes this year when he turned his back to the crowd. Look for Troy to finish in the top five at the Arnold this year.

4th Place - Melvin Anthony

Marvelous Melvin Anthony brought his genetically gifted physique to the first pro show of the New Year hoping to continue his win streak that began last year at the Night of the Champions. Melvin has small joints combined with full muscle bellies in the tradition of 5 time Pro IronMan champ, Flex Wheeler. Unfortunately, Melvin seems to have a difficult time with water retention and often competes with a thin film of water covering his awesome physique. His glutes and hams are routinely not hard enough to challenge for the top spot and that was also the case tonight. Melvin seemed to soften up a little for the evening show compared to the pre-judging but he looked to be behind Gustavo, Lee and Troy even at the pre-judging. Despite his missed peak condition, Melvin still gave a rousing performance on the posing platform. He was awarded for his efforts with the Vince Gironda Posing Award along with a check for $1000.00 for his outstanding posing routine.

5th Place - King Kamali

King Kamali competed in his best shape in years at the 2005 Pro IronMan. Weighing over 250 pounds, Kamali was impressively thick and hard as he battled his way back into the top five. Although still not quite as hard as he was in his debut as a pro in 2001, Kamali was definitely improved from the last few years. He was much more massive with noticeably bigger arms and legs. His back and hamstrings have always been a strong point and they didn't disappoint here. Although he lost out to Melvin Anthony for the best poser award, Kamali was able to defeat his long-time rival, Craig Titus, by placing in the top five.

6th Place - Craig Titus

Craig Titus showed up in good condition at the Pro IronMan but he was not able to make the top five. Lately, Craig seems to have found the formula that allows him to show up vascular and full. His legs and arms are very impressive with noticeable vascularity. However, he apparently is not shredded enough for the judges and his chest is still out of proportion to the rest of him. His back and abs don't look as lean and hard as his legs and arms do. I still feel Craig's best condition was in 2001 when he placed second to Chris Cormier at the San Francisco Pro show. Titus literally dropped to his knees in disappointment when he was announced sixth place.

7th Place - David Henry

David Henry. David Henry was extremely impressive in seventh place. Although competing at a bodyweight less than 200 pounds (David weighed in at 191), Henry was full, ripped and hard as a rock. His waist stood out as the smallest onstage, a very noticeable attribute in this age of rapidly expanding waistlines. David's arms and delts are very well-developed for his frame and he never looked small in the line-up. I don't know why Henry placed out of the top five. With his dense hardness and full muscle bellies, I could have seen him as high as fourth or fifth.

8th Place - Mark Dugdale

Mark was making his pro debut at the Pro IronMan after his very impressive overall win at last year's USA Championships. Mark is one of the sport's most well-liked competitors due to his close family (wife Christina and his three beautiful daughters) and his movie star good looks. Everyone likes to see a good guy make it to the top and Mark is one of the sport's genuine good guys. As for his physique, Mark competed about 10 pounds heavier than at the 2004 USA while still retaining his trademark hardness and conditioning. His back is his weak point and he could use more width in his upper body to match the incredible thickness of his pecs, delts and legs. Mark has the shape and quality to go far. He just needs the time to slowly add more size and width to his physique.

9th Place - Mike Morris

In ninth place was Mike Morris. With some of the thickest quads in the sport, Mike sported a very thick and massive physique to achieve his top ten placing at the Pro IronMan. His legs are very impressive with striations covering his huge but well-shaped quads. His upper body is also thick but his equally thick waistline doesn't help his symmetry and shape.

10th Place - Indrise Ward El

Fighting his way into the top ten was former USA champion Indrise Ward El. Indrise has pretty good shape with full muscle bellies but he has some strangely shaped body parts. His quads above the knees look like they are attached high or are the result of a muscle tear. Although he has a small waist, Indrise doesn't have the hard and ripped look in the abs to challenge for a higher placing. If he could match the hardness of Troy Alves or David Henry, he would rapidly move up the ladder.

11th Place - JoJo Ntiforo

Placing just out of the top ten was NPC Nationals heavyweight winner JoJo Ntiforo. JoJo has one of the best physiques on the pro circuit. With outstanding Lee Haney shape and proportions, JoJo looks like a potential champion when he is standing relaxed to the front with his small waist and full, thick muscle bellies. His quadriceps have the craziest sweep I think I have ever seen on a bodybuilding stage. From the rear, JoJo needs to improve his hamstrings and his calves to match his outstanding quads. He also didn't appear to be hard enough from the back compared to the front. I'm very encouraged by JoJo's physique and I hope he brings up his lagging body parts from the rear to match the rest of his awesome physique. He has the shape and proportions to do some real damage on the pro circuit. Check out an interview with JoJo here.

12th Place - Rusty Jeffers

Also making his pro debut was veteran competitor and 2004 NPC Masters Nationals winner, Rusty Jeffers. Rusty also displayed great shape and proportions but was a little too smooth to make it into the top ten. He posed very well with graceful movements and he could do well in the future if he competes hard and ripped.

13th Place - Eduard Van Amsterdam

The biggest competitor onstage was the rugged Eduard Van Amsterdam. I had seen photos of Eduard in the magazines before but I didn't realize he was such a big man. The leg development on Eduard was super thick and massive, especially his monstrous calves. Despite his hulking size, Van Amsterdam displays an affable presence onstage and his playful posing routine in which he pretended to bounce an invisible basketball in between poses was very well-received the by the audience.

14th Place - Frank Roberson

Speaking of affable, the energetic Frank Roberson took the stage ready to shake things up. Frank is quickly being known for his outgoing personality and wild facial expressions onstage. The "Texas Tornado" made the crowd laugh with his antics during the pre-judging but didn't compete in the condition he showed as an amateur. During the evening finals, Frank donned a cowboy hat and belt for his posing routine. Looking like a cross between a male strip routine and hip-hop, Frank strutted his stuff for several minutes in an attempt to win the Gironda Posing Award. I was sitting directly behind Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman at the finals and the look on Ronnie's face as he watched The Texas Tornado bump and grind to his music was priceless.

15th Place - Heiko Kallbach

The last official placing was occupied by the German Giant, Heiko Kallbach. At a bodyweight of 275 pounds, Heiko is definitely one of the largest competitors to fill a bodybuilding stage. Although he competes in hard and vascular condition, Heiko does not have the pleasing shape and symmetry needed to advance to the top in bodybuilding. It was good to see the judges marking down those competitors who lack the beautiful shape that is required in a top bodybuilder. There were many physiques onstage at the Pro IronMan who showed obvious abuses of the drug-enhanced physique (steroids, growth hormone and synthol) and these bodybuilders, despite their massive size and vascularity, do not deserve top honors in a physique contest.

What Else Happened?

Before the top ten competitors were announced, the Peary Radar Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jim Lorimar. Jim is the business partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the annual Arnold Classic that is held every year in Columbus, Ohio.

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Before Jim joined forces with Arnold in 1976, he was actively involved in promoting weight lifting events in the Columbus area. It is his outstanding organizational skills that are directly responsible for the overwhelming success and growth of the Arnold Classic.

During his speech after receiving his award, Jim boosted that this year's event will feature 27 sports, 14,000 athletes and more than 100,000 spectators who will make their way through the massive 600 booth Arnold Expo during the weekend of March 4-6th.

In addition to the Peary Radar Lifetime Achievement Award, another honor was also presented that evening. The Art Zeller award for outstanding achievement in Artistic Excellence was presented to Albert Busek.

Albert was one of the first to photograph a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in Austria when he published the Sport Revue Magazine. An enduring and valuable contributor to the sport for over 40 years, Albert was very deserving of this great award.

Did You Know?

At the 2003 Ironman, Wayne Gallasch won the
"Outstanding Achievement In Cinemetography". Learn More.

When the top five competitors of the Pro IronMan were finally announced, the audience was treated to an energetic and inspired posedown. King Kamali and Gustavo Badell were grunting and yelling with each mandatory pose that was called out by the head judge. This seems to be a new trend in the pro shows, making noises while hitting the individual poses.

During the posedown, Kamali tried pointing out his superior glute/ham tie-in compared to Gustavo but the King didn't have anything on the soon-to-be-crowned Pro IRONMAN champ as Gustavo boasts some of the best hamstrings in the sport.

Many of the competitors looked exhausted at this point of the contest as they had been worked very hard in the mandatory poses preceding the posedown.

In The End

Gustavo Badell was crowned the 2005 Pro IRONMAN champion. Joined by his wife and young daughter onstage, the happy winner announced to the crowd that he would be the one to win the Arnold Classic title in two weeks in Columbus, Ohio.

Regardless of the outcome, Gustavo looks to be a force in the sport of professional bodybuilding in the years to come.

Pics Author Took