Cutler was in the best shape of his life and he was standing his ground with Ronnie in every pose. It was a very exciting Mr. Olympia contest, where many of the athletes, including Gunter, arrived to do battle in their all-time best condition.
Making the drive up the I-15 from southern California to Las Vegas the day before the Mr. Olympia gave me plenty of time to admire the arid landscape of the Mojave Desert. As I was gazing at those dry rocks from the freeway I started thinking, "How many competitors are going to come in with that dry, rock-hard, grainy look?"
That was the big question that was answered during Saturday morning's judging, which led to the other question on everyone's mind. "Who will win the 2005 Mr. Olympia?"
The prejudging began and each athlete was given the opportunity to individually hit the mandatory poses. This gave the judges a quick look at each athlete to see what kind of shape they were in.
They started this procedure last year and I think it's a good idea because it is fair to all the athletes. The callouts are based on their observations from the individual compulsory poses. Callouts were based on reputations in the past.
Wild Card Winner:
I still had not heard who won the Wild Card show the day before and the first competitor to take the stage at the prejudging was David Henry. That immediately answered my question of who won the Wild Card on Friday night.
David was in great condition - even for having competed the day before. Holding a peak for two shows in two days is not an easy feat. I saw him at the Expo later and he looked great. He looked a little tired, which was entirely understandable.
The Intro Round:
Jay Cutler was about the tenth competitor to be introduced. I was waiting to see how he would come in.
Would he be huge, full and dry after taking a full year off to rest up this one show? The answer was oh yeah! He looked great and he was dialed in, His coloring was really nice and dark too. He was on and ready for battle with Ronnie this year.
After the intro round - if it is a round - it was obvious that many competitors were in top shape. It was just a matter of standing everyone next to each other to see how they stacked up.
Martinez, James, Anthony, Badell, and Schlierkamp all looked to have figured out the dryness thing. Each athlete was shredded. Oh, and that other guy, Ronnie Coleman looked like he and Chad put together another winning strategy.
Sure he was in great condition, but, based on the introductory poses, I thought Badell would have been in the first callout. At the end of the symmetry round it was obvious the show was between Cutler and Coleman.
The muscularity round began with a callout between Coleman and Cutler. Both men standing next to each was an awesome sight to behold. Both were huge, full and ripped beyond belief. This was going to make the judges earn their money because even Jay's back was better this time out.
He still doesn't have Ronnie's glutes but Jay's getting much closer in that area too. As of writing this article I haven't seen the judges scoring sheets but I gave Cutler the nod in a few poses, namely the side triceps and front ab shots. Jay looked phenomenal.
Schlierkamp's boasting before the show of how he was going to take down Ronnie was backed up with superb conditioning. Gunter had dialed in again and when he flashed that huge smile the crowd went nuts. It was obvious the crowd and the judges like Gunter.
Badell had tightened his tummy and looked great too. This had the makings for a very good show. There might even be a few surprises when the placings were announced later on in the evening.
My picks after the judging were as follows:
1st - Ronnie Coleman
2nd - Jay Cutler
3rd - Gustavo Badell
4th - Victor Martinez
5th - Melvin Anthony
6th - Gunter Schlierkamp
Dennis James, Branch Warren, Darrem Charles, and Markus Ruhl were battling it out for the rest of the top ten.
Battling it out for last place were the big Russian, Alexander Federov and Mike Sheridan. I have to say I was really disappointed in Federov's conditioning.
He was smooth and did not look very impressive. I'm not sure what he did different this time, but my advice to him is to not do it again; it didn't work very well.
The top 15 were allowed to show their routines. Thank goodness because that would have made the show last forever with all the technical glitches during the show.
Jay Cutler, the hometown boy and Ronnie Coleman, who actually came out with a crown and a royal red robe and a scepter, got the most applause. Gunter was up there in crowd approval also.
My favorite routine was from Gustavo. He did a tribute to each Mr. Olympia and did one or two of their well-known poses in his own style. It was really well done and refreshing clever. Good job Gustavo!
The top ten were announced and Mustafa Mohammad came in at the number ten spot. I had Ruhl there. Darrem Charles was ninth. Branch Warren got an eighth-place spot in his first Olympia. Melvin Anthony garnered seventh place. Dennis James got sixth place.
The top five then did battle for the challenge round. I'll have another in-depth article on that. It seemed very unorganized, riddled with technical problems and disappointing.
Gustavo won in it by beating Ronnie in a sudden-death pose down.
For the final placings, Martinez was announced in fifth place. Schlierkamp was fourth. Badell got third and there were lots of boos in the crowd from Badell's loyal fans. I think it was fair placement, though.
Jay Cutler was announced as second - again. Coleman fell down on his knees and went face down for a long time and he was either praying, resting or just letting it sink in that he had again won. His acceptance speech wasn't exactly eloquent, but it was all Ronnie.
His speech was straight from his heart. There were no politics. He loves being Mr. Olympia because it is still fun to him. He was there with his mom on stage thanking his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ numerous times and he told everyone to believe in themselves and let God reign in their lives because he has a plan for us. He then downed a one-liter bottle of water in about 10 seconds.
Congratulations, Ronnie. I'll be there next year to see you make history with your ninth straight title!
Check Out The Full Results & Pics From The 2005 Olympia Here.