A sold out crowd of over 6,000 jammed the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and was delighted when the newly elected Governor of California and seven time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Joe and Ben Weider on stage. "Finally I feel at home again. This is a terrific sport and if it wouldn't have been for bodybuilding I wouldn't have any of this. It's a great foundation," Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger thanked Joe and Ben for bringing him to America and aiding his career. He also mentioned how their continued support was paramount during his recent election as the new Governor of California.
"Schwarzenegger proves bodybuilding is about more than just lifting weights," said Joe Weider. "Finally it's beginning to dawn on the world that bodybuilders are smart. They develop determination. They don't give up. If they ever apply that to any profession... they can be a great success."
Another special moment occurred during the opening ceremony of the Mr. Olympia competition, Joe and Ben each received an American flag from a military representative as the following words were spoken:
"In recognition of their many years of support and dedication to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services, our country's most sacred symbol, it's flag, is presented to Ben and Joe Weider. The flags, which are now being presented by Master Sergeant Rob Wilkins, were recently flown over the Pentagon on their behalf."
Ben also received a flag that had been flown by military paratrooper during a training mission over Iraq.
For the fifth year-in-a-row, the total prize money for bodybuilding's biggest event has increased reaching a level of $400,000 with Coleman taking home over $100,000 and a Cadillac Escalade provided by Pinnacle. "Thanks to Wayne DeMilia's hard work and the backing of our sponsors, I'm pleased the total prize money continues to climb and I'm especially delighted that this year, each Mr. Olympia competitor received prize money," commented Ben Weider.
"Planning for the 2004 Olympia weekend has already begun and with the support of our loyal fans and fantastic sponsors, the future of our sport is brighter then ever," Weider said.
|2003 Mr. Olympia Results:|
- * Ronnie Coleman (USA)
- * Jay Cutler (USA)
- * Dexter Jackson (USA)
- * Dennis James (USA)
- * Günter Schlierkamp (Germany)
- * Kevin Levrone (USA)
- Darrem Charles (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Troy Alves (USA)
- Melvin Anthony (USA)
- Ernie Taylor (England)
- Johnnie Jackson (USA)
- Rodney St. Cloud (USA)
- Art Atwood (USA)
- Claude Groulx (Canada)
- Lee Priest (Australia)
- Jonathon Davie (Australia)
* Indicates 2004 Mr. Olympia qualification
Rob Wilkins, originally from Linden, N.J., is a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force stationed at the Pentagon, Washington, DC. Wilkins is also a Special Assistant for the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) and a recipient of the IFBB Gold Medal. To contact Wilkins e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.