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As Las Vegas braces for a highly anticipated Olympia Weekend, the city of Atlanta will take center stage this weekend. When the GNC Show of Strength was announced for October 9th, it appeared that bodybuilding fans would be treated to a rare Olympia "sneak preview".
Historically, the Olympia is held months after the conclusion of the regular IFBB schedule. But this year, the GNC promoters have boldly opted to stage their show just 3 weeks before the annual showdown in Vegas.
In recent weeks, we have heard a lot about the decrease in prize money for this event, however, this hasn't stopped some top talent from competing for the $20,000 winner's check. Dexter Jackson and Chris Cormier have opted out, but there still remains an impressive stable of talent. Here is a brief preview of the contenders:
Let's be reminded, the GNC show has proven to be one of the LEAST predictable shows. In its first year, Gunter Schlierkamp defeated Ronnie Coleman in a stunning turn of events. In 2003, Dexter Jackson managed to snag the $100,000 first place check… ahead of Jay Cutler.
| Troy Alves
| Victor Martinez
Nasser El Sonbaty
In Other News…
Here is the latest edition of reader mail:
Q. Dan, it seems that there are mixed opinions about the new Olympia "Challenge" Round. Do you think it's a positive addition to the show?
A. The Challenge Round is EXACTLY what the show needed. Up until now, the athletes never had a voice on stage. They would show up, hit their poses, and collect their trophies. NOW, we will actually be able to hear from the athletes on stage! The challenge round creates a new layer of strategy and the crowd will love it.
Q. Dan, we haven't heard much about the Fitness Olympia. Now that Susie Curry is retired from fitness, who do you think will wear the crown?
A. I love all the fitness girls because they work so hard. In my opinion, there are 3 girls who really stand out.
Kelly Ryan, Adela Friedmansky and Stacy Hylton. These 3 athletes bring the best "combination" of physique, athleticism, strength and showmanship. But, lets be very honest... Kelly has deserved this crown for a few years!
She remains the most popular and the most gifted all-around athlete in the sport. Her fan base is large and her routines are worth the price of admission. The sport of fitness needs Kelly on top.
Q. What's the deal with the GNC prize money decrease? I read on Pro Muscle Online that the prize money dropped from 100k for the winner, all the way down to 20k. What's the story with that?
A. The situation with the
GNC Show of Strength is rather unusual. Apparently, the promoters were not happy when the IFBB increased the sanctioning fees.
As a result, expenses increased and several sponsors subsequently opted to pull out. In the end, all of this added up to a massive drop in prize money. Needless to say, there are "other" versions of the story, so I'll reserve my opinion until I speak to the right people. It now appears that a few headliner athletes are re-considering their plans to compete in the event.
Q. Dan, I read in the recent Flex Magazine that Darrem Charles has now won more pro contests than Gunter Schlierkamp, Lee Priest and Dennis James, COMBINED. Wow, that's impressive! Do you think he can do damage at the Olympia?
A. This is Darrem's 6th career Mr. Olympia. Last year, he finished a very impressive 7th place. Darrem is gunning for one of the coveted spots among the Top 6. He continues to improve and add quality size, thickness and detail.
2003 Mr. Olympia Results
|12||Rodney St. Cloud||USA||58||64||60||35||217|
Darrem is looking forward to getting his callouts with Cormier and Dexter. You just might be surprised when you see how Darrem compares.
Q. I just finished reading a couple of your articles on Bodybuilding.com. I always enjoy them. I especially loved the article titled "From Rising Star - To Superstar".
A. Thanks Melissa. I really enjoy writing the Bodybuilding.com column. The guys at Bodybuilding.com have created the #1 most visited site in the industry. Keep checking back for more articles and commentary soon. The article that you mention can still be viewed at the following link. (
From Rising Star to Superstar)
Q. Will the Olympia events be televised this year?
A. I recently spoke to executive producer Richard Enlow. Great News! The show will be carried, once again, live on pay-per-view. I can assure you that there is a major commitment to increasing the quality of the television production for the Olympia.
In years past, the production has experienced some growing pains, but it sounds like the producers are poised to bring an improved level of quality and expanded coverage (including all of the Women's events). Check back soon to Pro Muscle Online for more updates on the Olympia TV show… including some surprise guest-star announcements!
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