Ronnie Coleman will walk onto the stage at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on September 29 and 30, 2006 and try to win his ninth consecutive Mr. Olympia title. Will Coleman make bodybuilding history or will Jay Cutler make history on his own and pull off the greatest upset ever on a Mr. Olympia stage?
In addition to Jay Cutler, there are a few other athletes looking to take a shot at beating Ronnie. Here's a quick rundown on the competitors that might have a chance of knocking the big man off his throne.
Big Jay has taken second to Coleman four times since 2001. He came very close to edging out Ronnie for the title back in 2001. Ronnie was off that year and Jay was on, really on. Each year Jay competes he vows that this will be his year. Last year, with a much-improved back, Cutler looked great.
It was arguably his best look since the 2001 Olympia, but it wasn't enough. In addition to placing second, he also won VyoTech's "Best Wheels" award at last year's Mr. Olympia. Cutler lives, eats and sleeps bodybuilding. If anyone deserves to win an Olympia title based on tenacity, perseverance and dedication, it's Cutler.
Ronnie Coleman, however, is still competing and as long as Coleman comes in with unbelievable conditioning, as he usually does, he will win. If Jay comes in dry, no one besides Ronnie can beat him, but he will come in a close second.
Jackson skipped last year's Mr. Olympia. I don't blame him. The whole Challenge Round was a joke for two years running. The Challenge Round's gone and Dexter's back.
He looked good enough to win, but after a layoff these guys usually come back with added size. If Dexter comes in with his Arnold classic look or better he'll still knock off Gustavo Badell and take third place.
Gustavo has been adding size the past few years and has learned how to come in shredded and dry. Badell's waist, however, has been growing along with him and it makes him appear blocky because his v-taper is hindered. If he comes in great condition, he'll take fourth. If Gustavo is a little smooth, he could slip to fifth and maybe even sixth.
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Gustavo Badell At The 2006 San Francisco Grand Prix.
Gunter took fourth place last year and if he comes in looking like last year, he'll take fifth because Dexter's back in the mix. Even though Gunter's the heaviest competitor in the show and the only guy to defeat Coleman recently, he's also the tallest athlete and needs to put on just a little more size to place higher. If he does add even more size, Gunter will be very difficult to beat.
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Gunter At The 2005 Olympia.
The top five is sort of predictable when it comes to the Mr. Olympia. If the competitors come in as good as the year before, they'll usually retain their placings. Guys like Branch Warren could mess things up for the current top five, however. Branch could easily come in shredded and dry and make the top six or a place or two higher.
Warren has the mass and density to do very well. He needs a little more arm size and to strike his poses better to be a top-three threat. Look for Branch to come in sixth.
Judging from the recent video on the web where he's talking with Chad Nichols, it looks like the Marvelous One has added some marvelous size. If he does come in bigger and nails his conditioning, Anthony might secure a seventh-place position.
Although Ronnie has gone on record saying that Victor Martinez could be his successor, it could be a few more years before Victor gets his conditioning down pat. He's had trouble with consistency and comes in a little too smooth a little too often. Call it a gut feeling, but Martinez will come in at eighth place.
Can Dennis bring it together this time? He's well known for looking absolutely phenomenal a few weeks out and then something happens. He ends up looking flat or smooth and has trouble keeping his stomach tight.
Except for his high lats, which everyone seems to point out rather quickly, he has a very good structure and unbelievable size. Sorry for the pun here, but another "gut" feeling has Dennis in ninth place.
Coming off his recent Europa win, Toney Freeman will be riding momentum and confidence for him to round out the top ten.
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Video: 2006 Europa Routine: Windows Media (8.1 MB)
The Other Guys
As of the writing of this article, there are still two more Mr. Olympia qualifiers to be held. Markus Ruhl will most likely qualify in Spain and if he does, look for him to be in the top ten also.
Individual Posing Routines:
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Although all these guys in this last group are great bodybuilders and have earned the right to stand on the Olympia stage, they still need some time to grow into the current style of physique that's taking the top places from the judges at the Mr. Olympia. For example, a guy like David Henry looks outrageous posing by himself, but stand him next to Ronnie and he gets dwarfed.
Until judging standards change, the smaller guys won't stand a chance. An under-200 lbs. division has been proposed by a few people and that might bring back an interesting aspect to the competition that's been gone for more than 25 years. If that ever does happen, it'll be a few more years down the road before that would be implemented.
| David Henry Posing Routine @ 2006 Colorado Pro/Am Classic.
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Why not save the best for last? Ronnie has brought several looks to the stage through his bodybuilding career. Many agree his best look was at his Arnold Classic win in 2001. In 2003 he blew everyone away with the most incredible size and conditioning ever seen in a bodybuilding competition.
In the past couple years, however, Ronnie has been showing "a few chinks in his armor" as Shawn Perine put it. Ronnie's in his forties now and is showing some age to his physique. Ronnie has been so far ahead of his competitors for so long it's almost strange to think other guys might be catching up. In all likeliness, however, Ronnie has a few years left him in to more than adequately defend his title.
The bodybuilding world stands poised with excitement as we await the outcome of the 2006 Mr. Olympia. Coleman could make history with nine straight wins or he might get bumped off by Jay Cutler or even Dexter Jackson if Ronnie's not spot on. Bob C. also stated on PBW that Ronnie's behind in his training. If that's true, will it be enough of a gap to create a new champion?
In less than a month we'll all know.