- The Olympia Competition is taking place Sept. 24-26th in Las Vegas, NV.
- Kai Greene is expected to be a worthy competitor and take a top spot.
- The fight for the Olympia title could come down to Jay Cutler and Phil Heath.
Mr. Olympia Open Class Preview - Can Jay Do It Again?
Scheduled to take place from the 24th to the 26th of September, the 2010 Mr. Olympia will play host the usual assortment of phenomenal pro bodybuilding athletes and will also include several new faces - notably Erik Fankhouser, Roelly Winklaar, Edward Nunn and Essa Ibrahim Hassan Obaid - ready to fight it out with the established battle-proven top tier elite of the sport. With many of the same athletes competing in the Mr. Olympia year after year it might, to the uninitiated, appear that the event could be in danger of becoming repetitive and boring.
Those who watch the sport of pro bodybuilding closely, however, will know that the reason droves of spectators make the Olympia pilgrimage each year is because they are always guaranteed something new; the sport of bodybuilding is always changing - both the competitors' physiques and the way contests are run - and such change inevitably brings many surprises, spectacular improvements in the physiques on display and a fair few controversial moments mixed in as well.
Each year the Mr. Olympia contest - bodybuilding's first ever pro event and the biggest and best spectacle of its kind - usually brings out the best in the athletes that contest it. Each year it promises to showcase the best bodybuilders on the planet. Each year it provides the greatest bodybuilders in the world with the opportunity to show the improvements they have spent most of the year working on. This will be no exception in 2010.
With current champion Jay Cutler again defending his title in a field that might just be the most hotly contested in Olympia history, fans could see the crowning of a new king. With 2009 being the year of the mass monsters, with the biggest of them all, a best ever Jay Cutler beating out the huge and freakily ripped Branch Warren, thus setting up an epic battle for 2010, there was much controversy with fans divided on who should or should not have rounded out the top six.
Will the mass trend be reversed this year? Can men such as the tremendously gifted Phil Heath and the ever-classy Dexter Jackson make it one and two respectively, as many have predicted they will? And where will the current Arnold Classic champ Kai Greene, who is definitely in the hunt for a top three placement, factor into the equation?
In these following top ten predictions I have attempted to determine what will go down come September 25. Stay tuned to bodybuilding.com for updates, and interviews with the major athletes.
Top Ten Mr. Olympia Open Class Preview
10th Place: Edward Nunn
Winning the Europa Battle of Champions earlier this year did much to solidify Edward Nunn's place in the pantheon of future Mr. Olympia contenders. Displaying an incredible V taper - one of the best in the current pro bodybuilding game - along with vastly improved legs and chest development, he is certainly one to watch for at this year's Mr. Olympia. With more evenly distributed muscle mass and slightly crisper conditioning he will soon be challenging for the top placements in bodybuilding's big leagues.
9th Place: Hidetada Yamagishi
Coming in slightly off in his last contest - the 2010 Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships - was enough to relegate pro bodybuilding's latest force to be reckoned with to 7th place, a position the Japanese champ has become increasingly unaccustomed to over the past two years. With a big win at the Europa Show of Champions earlier this year, over established competition, Hidetada Yamagishi is now well placed to challenge a great many of his pro competitors for the top placements. With his excellent conditioning - when on - and compact, well-rounded muscular development he will be looking to make his best-ever Olympia appearance at this year's event (he placed 9th in 2009). If he can show significant improvements then he may place as high as 7th, but in such esteemed company it is unlikely that he will go any further than that this time around.
8th Place: Ronny Rockel
Ronny Rockel has been making steady improvements year after year; after routinely finishing out of the Mr. Olympia top ten bodybuilding's most balanced competitor placed a career-best 7th at last year's event with a physique many felt could have been shuffled several spots ahead. With Ronny nothing really stands out, such is the balanced and well-proportioned nature of his physique: this is both his biggest asset and greatest drawback. Although he is always praised for his excellent development and conditioning after an event, he often fails to place where many feel he should. The judges, it appears, tend to overlook him. With a solid 6th placement at this year's Arnold Classic, though, and recent pictures demonstrating even greater improvements to those shown this time last year, he should have no problem again making the top ten. And again, if any of his competition arrive even slightly off he is unlikely to have any problem finishing as high as 6th in 2010.
7th Place: Dennis Wolf
A competitor with all of the potential in the world, but, unfortunately for him, an inability to fully realize it, Germany's Dennis Wolf will need to have made some serious improvements to again dominate the competition as he did in 2008 (his second Olympia appearance). Placing fourth at this event signaled his arrival as a potential future Mr. Olympia champion. However, the following year he placed a disappointing 16th and in quite possibly his worst conditioning ever. Blessed with the physical attributes needed to win the Mr. Olympia and the physique to make a statement on this stage for many years to come, Wolf will be aiming to no less than number one at this year's spectacle. Consider the impact conditioning can have on a competitor's chances of winning bodybuilding's biggest event. Even with development as great as Dennis has he will need to be absolutely peeled to stand any chance again the sport's best. But if Branch Warren can come from nowhere to place second to Cutler - as he did in 2009 - Wolf certainly can do the same if he nails his shape just right.
6th Place: Victor Martinez
The 2007 Arnold Classic champion has been hailed as the next Mr. Olympia for several years now. No less than the great eight-time winner Ronnie Coleman had proclaimed Victor Martinez as his successor. After several disappointing life events including knee surgery which made his bodybuilding comeback a hard one in 2009 - where he placed 6th at the '09 Olympia, a drop from 2nd in 2007 - he has not truly recaptured the form that saw him come within close range of claiming his first title in '07. With probably the best combination of size, shape and overall aesthetics in pro bodybuilding today there is no reason why Martinez cannot win the Mr. Olympia. He has no apparent weaknesses, unlike the other men who routinely make the top six. One thing these men do have, however, is an ability to peak to perfection, something Victor has had trouble doing consistently. If he can bring it all together in 2010 he could steal the show, though he will have a lot of work to do to defeat the current crop of stars.
5th Place: Branch Warren
When the dust cleared, 2009 had Branch Warren standing side by side with eventual winner Jay Cutler on bodybuilding's biggest stage. In placing a career-best 2nd at this show, with conditioning and size that held its own with all of his fellow pros that day, he could not be denied. If he can bring the same package - with further improvements to the proportionality of his physique and overall aesthetics - he might just find himself in a similar position this time around. The great thing about Branch is that he always makes an impact, whenever he hits the stage; his development combined with the response he gets from the crowd and the fighting spirit he possesses always guarantees his inclusion in the final standings. In 2010 the Olympia stage will again host bodybuilding's biggest fan favorite. Should he bring his best ever combination of size, cuts and shape - which he most definitely will - the top six will be wide open, once again.
4th Place: Dexter Jackson
In winning this event back in 2008, Dexter Jackson, also a three-time Arnold Classic champion, reignited the size versus shape debate through defeating men up to 40 pounds heavier, many of which also are top six contenders. With an excellent combination of size, conditioning and shape - though not as good as Martinez, who dominates in most physical categories - Dexter is always in the mix and a potential winner of any show he enters. At over 40 years old he continues to show that age is no impediment to bodybuilding success, as has also been ably demonstrated in recent years by many of his Olympia cohorts. Will he again claim this most prestigious title in 2010? You would not want to bet against it, but hard choices have to be made and Greene, Cutler and Heath do, at this stage of the game, appear to be likely top three material.
3rd Place: Kai Greene
With back to back Arnold Classic wins (2009-2010) and a fourth place finish at the 2009 Mr. Olympia - while not at his best, according to the man himself - one would have to be crazy to bet against the massive and symmetrical Kai Greene landing anywhere other than top three at this year's Olympia. But such is a crazy game of pro bodybuilding, if he comes in as little as one percent off his game he may be completely out of the running. That is how it tends to work at this level of competition. But, on the other hand, if he brings further improvements to those he showed earlier this year when capturing his 2nd Arnold title and if his competition arrive not at their very best he may come close to actually winning this year's event, or may even walk away the victor.
2nd Place: Jay Cutler
Though Jay Cutler is the current Mr. Olympia champion and it is widely known that for such a competitor to lose they must arrive way off their usual conditioning, one feels that Cutler, in making his biggest impact ever on this stage last year to claim his third title, might just be feeling the strain of maintaining a certain level of conditioning year after year, something that, unlike with other competitors such as Dexter Jackson, does not tend to come naturally to him. And with the younger, sharper, more aesthetically gifted and potentially hungrier Phil Heath in his physical prime Cutler will need every ounce of muscle to overcome this new threat. Not possessing the best aesthetics in the game, but having unequalled size, Jay has made the most of his mass genes to routinely trounce the opposition. This year he may have to provide more than the largest muscles on stage. If he is 100 percent on, he should win. If he is marginally off, though, he may land as far back as third or fourth.
1st Place: Phil Heath
Although not demonstrating the same degree of complete development as Victor Martinez, or even Dexter Jackson, or the same level of size Cutler or Green possesses, Phil Heath does have something neither of these men has: a physique that captivates the attention like no other. Perhaps it could be the glaring contrast between the gargantuan size of his arms - the biggest in bodybuilding today - and his comparatively narrow chest width (a feature that would have any other competitor relegated out of the top six), or it could be the impressiveness of his cuts, which highlight every muscle striation to ensure his formidable development is show to its best advantage. Placing 2nd at this year's Arnold Classic, and coming very close to winning it, has positioned Heath at the top of the bodybuilding food chain. Very few come close to matching the impact his physique makes. Can he best his occasional training partner and good friend Jay Cutler to take the top spot? Many feel he can and if he can put it all together he should. But it will be extremely close.
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