Kai Greene brings it all together again this year to prove he's one of the best bodybuilders in the sport by recapturing the 2010 Arnold Classic Title. He also chalked up another Best Presentation Award with an amazing display of muscularity and agility.
- Kai Greene: $130,000
- Branch Warren: $50,000
- Dexter Jackson: $30,000
- Toney Freeman: $15,000
- Ronny Rockel: $10,000
Top 6 Winners
1. Kai Greene:
You never know if Kai Greene will get down to the weight he needs to be for him to have his diamond-cut conditioning. It seems I hear reports before every contest that he's nearly 300 pounds a few weeks out and then he loses more than 25 pounds and shows up in fantastic shape.
Things were no different at this year's Arnold Classic. Kai showed up in tremendous shape and looked better than he did at the Olympia and he won his second Arnold Classic title.
Kai again this year displayed his crazy thigh development complete with striated vastus muscles. It looks like little ladders have been imprinted onto his legs when he flexes his quads. In the evening show, however, I thought he looked a little less sharp, still better than the Olympia, but he was still good enough to win the competition.
Kai could use more trap development. It's very noticeable in his back lat spread. Compared to the athletes in that pose he has very little development in that area. His unusual presentation went over well with the crowd once again.
Although he didn't do any bicycle kicks he did do a headstand where he crawled up the brick stage set backwards. It's sort of hard to explain. You might want to watch the replay of the webcast.
Kai was told he has great momentum going into this year's Mr. Olympia when he was congratulated by Arnold on stage.
2. Phil Heath:
Phil Heath displayed an incredible physique at today's judging and at tonight's finals. His full and sweeping muscle bellies combined with amazing separation between muscle groups give him a winning combination.
Another important aspect in Phil's overall appearance is his skin tone. He doesn't have the leathery look that most of the other competitors display. It really helps to give a finishing touch to his physique.
I asked him a few minutes before the finals what he weighed and he replied he was right at about 240, which is where he wanted to be at the Olympia. It's amazing what a difference a little food poisoning did to his physique at the Olympia last fall!
Lee Haney summed it up backstage when he saw Phil he said, "He has a taper. Now that is bodybuilding!" I had Phil in first place after this afternoon's judging and I had him in first tonight, but the judges saw it differently than I did.
3. Branch Warren:
Maybe it's the 500 pounds of bison he eats every year or maybe it's the 405-pound military presses he does. Maybe it's in the Texas water. Whatever it might be, Branch has discovered something that makes his conditioning incredible.
I mean he had striations in his hamstrings, for crying out loud! Who has striations in their hamstrings? Some athletes hope to see a few lines in the back of their legs. Not Branch. He goes for cross-striated hamstrings.
I'd like to see more detail in Warren's back. His back is big, but it lacks the crevices and separation of Heath, Greene, Jackson, and even Rockel. If Branch can achieve that detail, he will be on his way to possibly winning an Arnold and an Olympia.
His routine was one of brute power. His music was fitting—powerful classical to start then some hard rock with a music switch. Branch energized the crowd. He made you feel like you can work just a little harder in the gym.
A sea of boos accompanied the announcement of when Branch was announced in third place. He was tighter than he was in the judging and the judges must have taken note of that because he was awarded his second Most Muscular Award.
4. Dexter Jackson:
I knew the day would happen when I saw Dexter when he was not at his best and looking a little—dare I say it?—smooth. His abs looked sharp as usual, but his legs looked especially soft.
They didn't have that crisp look that he is so well known for. I thought his legs looked a little smaller and his hamstrings were not as visible either. Tonight I thought he looked a tad sharper. Not much. Just a little.
5. Toney Freeman:
Toney Freeman came in smooth at the judging. Had he been sharper he might have been a place higher. The best I have seen him was the 2008 Mr. Olympia.
He also looked very good at the 2007 Iron Man. If he can bring that package to the stage again, he'll stay in the top five. Given his age, Toney might not be able to recapture that elusive conditioning he needs so badly.
The X-Man was a little sharper during the judging. The crowd liked Toney and his routine was slow and fluid. That's the style he is known for. He looked in fair shape, but he was far from his best conditioning. Fifth place actually surprised me.
6. Ronny Rockel:
I was very impressed with Ronny Rockel. He was razor sharp and he has great symmetry and proportions. His side delts look like bowling balls capping his shoulder joints. He has a deep separation between his delts and arms, which is especially noticeable in his side chest pose.
I have to give credit where credit is due. In the past I have been a little harsh with Ronny's posing ability. It is very evident that Rockel has been putting in lots hours practicing his presentation.
He is much more polished and that shows he takes his role as a professional seriously. After tonight's show I had Ronny in fifth and Toney and sixth.
The Rest Of The Competitors
Hide presented a very smooth and fluid presentation at the night show. He showed his classic posing ability. The crowd really liked his routine and cheered with approval.
Nobody does a pop-and-lock routine better than Melvin Anthony. He did the usual routine, which starts with a classic style and then ends it with robotics, slides and dance moves. Still holding water, Melvin dazzled the crowd.
For all the fans of Roelly on the message boards, I thought Roelly looked good, but he still has some growing to do before he places in the top five or six. I saw Zack Kahn backstage in the pump-up room before the finals. He made the point that Roelly looks really good by himself but when he's against other IFBB pros he doesn't look as impressive.
Last Men On Stage
Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Ronny Rockel, Branch Warren, and Toney Freeman were called out as the final six competitors.
During the final comparison I thought Rockel faded a little bit and had some trouble holding his stomach in. Dexter seemed a little sharper. Phil, Kai and Branch were still going strong. The posedown was entertaining and Phil and Branch did the classic head-to-head most muscular.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Sylvester Stallone was presented with this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. The crowd roared when his name was announced. It was fun seeing all the clips that were shown from his movies. You just can't beat those Rocky training sequences.
Okay, I'll admit it. Seeing Arnold and Sly on stage together was awesome. And it was obvious they both have a huge fan following. (And as a footnote, I did get to shake hands with Stallone while he was walking through the Expo this morning.)
The 2010 Arnold Classic had the best stage sets of any professional bodybuilding competition I've ever seen. It had an Aztec temple with projectors shining moving textures and flames on top. JumboTron screens were on the temple and pyrotechnics were used for the introduction of the competitors. Various LED lights and fog were used throughout the show.
All around it was a very professional show and entertaining with kids dancing, a strongman competition, which Derek Poundstone won again, and the Columbus Opera team sang the Grand Old Flag and the National Anthem to start things off this evening.
The tribute to the recent Olympics was hilarious. Imagine an overweight man in full-body tights acting out various Olympic events to music. Well, maybe you don't want to imagine that... but it was funny!
The competitors at this year's competition were outstanding. The competition was close and it was refreshing and exciting to see a few guys having a legitimate chance of winning the show. Kai came through in the end and garnered a second Arnold Classic title. It sets up a very exciting Mr.Olympia this fall. Jay Cutler is really going to have his work cut out for him this year.