I live in southern California so I got up early Saturday morning and fired up my iBook G4, set it on the kitchen table and got ready to enjoy the live webcast of the 2006 Masters Pro World as I wolfed down some egg whites and drank a protein shake. That was at 7:00 a.m. and my muscle-building breakfast was gone and I had already started thinking about meal #2 before the Masters Men walked out on stage.
2006 Masters Pro World Championships Highlights
To View The Masters Webcast Replays, Click Here.
I wasn't surprised; however, because the Pro Show was being held in conjunction with an NPC event and, in all fairness to the promoters, things like athlete registrations, fitness competitor warm-ups and such can cause delays. If it was solely an IFBB Pro event, it probably would have began closer to an on-time start.
| What Do IFBB And NPC Stand For?
IFBB stands for the "International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness". Visit their website at http://www.ifbb.com/.
NPC stands for "National Physique Committee, Inc." Visit their website at http://www.npcnewsonline.com/.
As the athletes came on stage one at a time for their individual introductions, it was obvious who was going to be in the running for taking home the title. Big Bob was more than ready and displayed an abundance of confidence. It was no surprise that Groulx and Jablonicky were ready also. And so was Johnny Stewart.
Before I go any further, I think the reason for the individual introductions has to be explained to the general public and some pros as well.
A few years ago, a number of IFBB pros were complaining that the first-round (symmetry) callouts were based on past reputations of the competitors regardless of the shape they were in the day of the contest.
In order to appease those complaints, each competitor was given the opportunity to show the judges what kind of shape they were in by having an individual evaluation by the judges before the first round. Of course, now I've read that pros are complaining that they lose their pump by the first round and it's stupid to have an introduction. Pick and choose, guys. You can't have it both ways!
When the comparisons in the symmetry round began, it was a little difficult to see the comparisons well. The lighting was good front and center, but the ends of the line-ups were not well lit.
And, yes, it was a webcast and not cable-network quality broadcast in HD. (Honestly, though, I was thrilled to have this event live at my breakfast table. Hey, I remember when I was kid - I'd have to wait three to four months to find out results in the magazines!)
Lighting aside, Big Bob was the stand-out and dwarfed his fellow competitors. Pavol looked pretty good and, to my surprise, Johnny Stewart looked better. Even though he did take second place at the 2003 Masters Olympia, I hadn't considered him a frontrunner.
Based on previous showings and the history of other pro contests, my preview pick for winning this contest was Pavol. He's had better Olympia placement than his fellow competitors and has won a few shows. I was rooting for Bob, but I thought if Pavol came in top shape he'd give Chick some trouble.
Pavol has looked better in previous appearances. From the side and back, Bob had him hands down. Bob made Jablonicky's legs look skinny in comparison.
Johnny Stewart was in great shape and came the closest to knocking off Cicherillo. Stewart has very full muscle bellies and still had a youthful looking physique. (I'm sorry to say many of these competitors have started to look like Masters competitors with that long, stringy look to their muscles and saggy skin on their midsections.)
Stewart definitely has a few good years left in him if he decides to continue competing. My guess is that he will.
Claude Groulx was not in the great shape that garnered him the Masters Olympia title. At that time, his muscles were full and he had insane conditioning. He wasn't able to bring that look to the stage at the Masters World this year.
His biceps were noticeably down in size and shape. Looks like they're both torn. Although his back showed plenty of detail, he simply didn't have enough muscle to contend with Cicherillo's thick, flaring lats.
Stan McCrary was big, very big. He carries a lot of muscle on his frame and he was ripped, but he looks blocky and has a wide waist. He lacks the amazing v-taper that bodybuilders are known for.
I thought Rusty Jeffers should have placed higher than eighth. Realistically he could have been third. He has great proportions and a very aesthetic physique. His posing routine was easily the best in the show.
I'm not sure why he placed as low as he did, but it's a little difficult to tell from watching online, or even worse, viewing photos. The judges might have seen something other than what I saw.
To View Masters 2006 Photos, Click Here.
Football fans love to play Monday-morning, armchair quarterback or whatever you'd like to call it. Pro bodybuilding fans on message boards like playing "If I were the judge." I get the feeling that the majority of these complainers have never been to a live bodybuilding competition - watching or competing.
You cannot really see the overall details of all the many physiques and compare them objectively unless you're sitting there. It is common for photos to be taken at different times when poses are not completely struck by all the competitors. (At this year's Iron Man, Lee Priest spent so much time trying to be dramatic, he didn't even get his abs flexed and tightened by the time the judge called "Relax" in one of the front-ab pose comparisons.)
Lighting variations make a big difference too. That's one reason why guys are moved around on stage and made to switch places. So even if you're watching a pay-per-view or a webcast you do not get the same perspective as seeing it live.
The show had its share of technical glitches. Even the eventual winner's music got messed up, but since Cicherillo had an unusual, two-part routine with two different songs and a planned encore, perhaps the sound crew thought the first song was the wrong one?
I'm sure it wasn't an easy task of keeping track of all the competitors' music with their cues in both the NPC and IFBB events. Like I said earlier, had it been just an IFBB event, or an NPC event, I'm sure things would have gone much smoother.
At the end of a very long night, Bob Cicherillo chalked up pro win number one and again qualified for the Mr. Olympia this fall. Bob was in good shape and had the look of a champion as soon as he stepped on stage. He looked the most professional, too, just by the way he stood and by the way he presented his physique.
Overall, it was a great finish to Chic's online video series, "War For The Worlds". Hmmm... could there be a sequel for the Olympia prep? But since Bob has already stated that he will emcee the Big O this fall and would not compete even if he did qualify by winning the World, will Johnny Stewart, the second-place finisher, get the nod to compete? I hope so.
- Bob Cicherillo
- Johnny Stewart
- Pavol Jablonicky
- Claude Groulx
- Stan McCrary
Additional Masters Results
- David Marinelli (best over 50 award - $1000)
- Charles Urrego (best over 60 award - $1000)
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