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The introduction of the new Challenge Round (wherein the top six get to challenge each other to individual poses) to the Mr. Olympia contest has raised a lot of comment and controversy. We asked some of the sport's leading competitors what they think of this new innovation. Fasten your seat belts.
| Ronnie Coleman:
I think it's stupid and a big waste of time. The posedown is more valid; at least, there, you are comparing physiques, not individual body parts. Why should they change a proven format, in the first place?
After all, they're not changing the rules of baseball, football or other sports, so why change bodybuilding? It's been working all these years, and the Mr. Olympia sells out every year. I don't see what this stupid round - what do they call it? - is supposed to do.
I don't think some in-your-face, show-off round that is ideal for egos but a disadvantage for serious bodybuilders should determine who wins Mr. Olympia.
| Jay Cutler:
The excitement factor will be great for the crowd. You're going to see a lot of movement in the placings as the guys at the bottom end of the top six make their challenges. Every guy should be able to beat every other guy in the top six in at least one pose; so, it's knowing which pose to call against which guy. That's going to add a lot of entertainment value to the show.
| Gunter Schlierkamp:
It will provide a clearer and more extended comparison among the top six, which the audience missed, if they were not at prejudging; and it will help fire up the crowd, at least for the first show. A big complaint from lower-placed guys is that they didn't get the chance to pose with all the guys above them - now they have that opportunity.
| Troy Alves:
I like the idea. What I think it does is give the judges a chance to really take a look at the top guys in the condition they bring to the stage Saturday night. So it's more important than ever for guys to hold their peak throughout the day, as opposed to just peaking for the prejudging
It's a tremendous thing too because it will bring so much excitement to the sport. It opens up the door for everyone in the top six to get their chance at first place and each pose becomes valuable. If you make a mistake in calling poses it could mean a difference in $20k in prize money. I've already started thinking about which pose I want to use on each guy.
| Craig Titus:
I love the whole idea of the challenge round, and the scoreboard is going to make it even more exciting. It's an excellent change for the audience, and it's great for the competitors, too. Now, you'll see competitors in even better condition at the night show than you have in the past. It also makes the competitors be a little more strategic and think about what pose is best to use against which guy. The crowd response is going to be enormous.
| Shawn Ray:
Any change to the formatting of the contest is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. For too many years the sport was static. The athletes were progressing, the prize money was progressing, but the competitions themselves were at a standstill. So I'm all for this kind of change. As to how the round will work out in the end, we'll have to wait and see. But I'm sure if there are any kinks they'll be worked out and improved upon for next year.
What's great about the challenge round is that it gives athletes the chance to be active participants in the competition, not just bodies filling a stage.
2004 Mr. Olympia Line-Up
(Plus potential for three other athletes to qualify at the Show of Strength on October 9)
- Ronnie Coleman - USA
- Jay Cutler - USA
- Dexter Jackson - USA
- Dennis James - USA
- Gunter Schlierkamp - Germany
- Troy Alves - USA
- Mustafa Mohammad - Jordan
- Gustavo Badell - Puerto Rico
- Chris Cormier - USA
- Markus Ruhl - Germany
- Kris Dim - USA
- Darrem Charles - Trinidad
- Ahmad Haidar - Lebanon
- Craig Richardson - USA
- Richard Jones - USA
- Pavel Jablonicky - Czech Republic
- Johnnie Jackson - USA
- Claude Groulx - Canada
Withdrawn From The Contest:
- Kevin Levrone - USA
- Ernie Taylor - England
- Lee Priest - Australia
- Melvin Anthony - USA
- Jaroslav Horvath - Slovakia
For more details, all event ticket prices, plus hotel and flight reservation information, click on 2004olympia.com.