Jay Wins 2nd Sandow
Cutler was declared the 2007 Mr. Olympia. That makes it two in a row, but was he the best physique in the competition? Some fans and experts don’t think so. Read my article to see what my take is on this controversial decision.
Normally my reviews are a synopsis of the show and a rundown of each competitor. I already did that in my judging review. If you want my opinion on each of the athletes you can go read that one. (I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. at the Luxor after the competition of the judging to finish that article so I could get the story over to Will for him to upload it up to our site ASAP.)
This article will be more of an editorial and opinion and just more fun to read so hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
The Wolf’s Howl
After some formal words and recognition from Ben Weider and David Pecker the contest began with a howl as the Wolf took the stage and displayed an amazing physique and superior presentation ability that surpassed every other competitor’s posing routine. Dennis Wolf really made a huge impression on every fan in the Orleans Arena. He was absolutely phenomenal.
His routine was beautifully choreographed and his choice of music was perfect. It was bold, classical and powerful. He transitioned from pose to pose with grace and sweeping movements like Arnold used to do. There was no doubt in my mind that when I saw him on Saturday night that Dennis Wolf will be Mr. Olympia one day. If would have been chosen this year, I don’t think the crowd would have objected.
On Friday night I asked Milos who he thought should win. He said Dennis Wolf, of course. Well, what was I expecting him to say? Jay Cutler? Milos is Wolf’s coach so he’s going to think his guy should win. My friend, Mike, was talking to Milos the next afternoon at the Koloseum booth and Sarcev was telling him that Wolf was going to get fifth place and he shouldn’t.
He seemed to have inside information. Whether he did or not, I don’t know, but he really seemed sure of what he was saying. Sarcev explained that a new standard of judging needs to implemented—a standard that rewards the small waist and v-taper. Mike argued that it wasn’t going to happen, but Milos adimately believes that if enough of us make some noise that things could change and the current standards can change.
7th Through 10th Place
I agreed with the decisions of the judges with these placings. It is how I would have called them had I been a judge, but I might have had Henry ahead of Johnnie Jackson. It was great to see David Henry make the top ten along with Silvio. Gustavo in 8th place was right where he should have been. I’m sure he didn’t like it, but his legs were lacking and he looked nowhere near his fantastic showing at the Iron Man, which he won a couple years ago.
The Top Six
Okay, here we go. I agreed with the judges’ decision of this group all the way up to sixth place. Oh, wait. Let me see. That would have been only Melvin Anthony. My agreement with the judges ended there. From what the judges asked for during the callouts and how they were moving guys around, I was expecting the placings as they were announced. It wasn’t a surprise.
I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing where an athlete will place according to the callouts and comparisons after watching a lot of shows. With that being said, it doesn’t mean I agree with the order. I didn’t. I was there watching the judging take place and watching every competitor pose individually on the stage.
I was even looking through binoculars and doing my own comparisons. I wasn’t watching the video on the projection screens. (And I certainly wasn’t looking at photos posted on web sites.) I was looking at the physiques in front of me and not basing my decisions on past conditioning, contest wins or reputations.
Before I go any further allow me to say that I’ve been fortunate to cover pro shows for Bodybuilding.com for about three years now. I’ve been to the Olympia many times. Over my 25-plus years of bodybuilding I’ve attended dozens of amateur shows from several different associations including the Nationals. I’ve competed (and won). I’ve trained many athletes who have even won state and regional titles.
I’ve emceed shows, been an expeditor and, yes, I’ve even judged a few amateur competitions. I’m telling you this to give you my credentials and to let you know I’ve been around the block a few times and I know a thing or two about this great sport of bodybuilding. I know enough to know when something doesn’t seem right and the placings of the top five at the 2007 Mr. Olympia do not seem right.
When Jay came out for the first time at prejudging to go through his 90-second routine, I thought it was game over and Cutler was going home with Sandow #2. He looked huge-even bigger than last year, but then he didn’t look as sharp as he should have been. He still might be sharp enough to hold off that Martinez guy and that other guy. Oh, what’s his name? Coleman. Yeah, that’s it.
There were many callouts and many comparisons during the judging. So many that it made the event seem really long, especially with the Fitness Olympia and Ms. Olympia finals to follow.
I knew Ronnie was in trouble when they called him out in a lineup that didn’t have Cutler in it. Not that I thought Ronnie was going to win it, but it was easy to see the judges where seeing where they would put this eight-time champion in the mix. When Ronnie was compared to Dennis Wolf, I was certain Wolf had Ronnie.
Wolf made Ronnie look smooth and, well, old and worn-out. It surprised me. Wolf really looked good next to Ronnie. Ronnie’s flaws leaped out. He had half a back and both of his triceps vanished in several poses. Seeing that comparison I thought Wolf had at least fourth in the bag. I wanted to see him next to Cutler. As I found out later, many people were hoping to see the Wolf-Cutler comparison.
That side-by-side comparison did not happen until the final posedown and that’s because Wolf took it upon himself to make the comparison happen. He followed Cutler and hit him pose for pose. Whichever pose Jay hit, Dennis hit. Many people, including myself, thought Wolf had Cutler beat in a few of the poses. So why didn’t that comparison take place during the judging the previous night?
Victor In Second Place?
Okay, so how do I think the placings should have went and who should have won? Victor Martinez should have placed first. He had the most complete physique in the show on both nights. Victor had the best combination of size, proportion, symmetry and definition. I’m not sure if he was at his best, but he was the best on stage both Friday and Saturday.
Jay was obviously smoother than he wanted to be even by his own admission. He said he had miscalculated something. Martinez hadn’t miscalculated and was in better condition and had the size and shape to place higher than Jay.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Cutler. I think he’s a great spokesperson for the sport and is a great ambassador for pro bodybuilding. (Shoot, I’ve got all of his DVDs and his CEO Muscle book.) But Jay was off on Friday night. He looked much better on Saturday night and came in much tighter. That reminded me of last year. In 2006, Ronnie was off on Friday night and came back 15 pounds lighter on Saturday.
He still lost. I thought it was a repeat of last year only it was Victor who I thought was going to take advantage of the current champ coming in a little smooth. That didn’t happen. Why not?
My Thoughts On The Rest Of The Placements
Where do I think the other guys should have placed? I would have had Dexter in fifth place. Fifth? Yep. Jackson was sharp and very aesthetic, but he’s just too small compared to the other guys. He got completely lost in the posedown. Him and Melvin looked like two little kids in comparison with the rest of the bunch.
Ronnie would have still been in fourth in my book. Despite his injuries, I still would have had him higher than Jackson, but I wasn’t surprised and didn’t find it outrageous that Jackson eventually placed third ahead of Coleman. Ronnie looked much better at the Saturday show, but still didn’t serve higher than fourth.
Here’s the big one. I thought Cutler should have had third place, possibly second. Really it could have been Wolf or Cutler in second or third place. Let me guess. Someone’s thinking that Wolf has “high lats” and skinny calves. Who cares? He’s got a waist the size of a wasp and Cutler doesn’t. Cutler has a problem with his symmetry. One arm and one leg is bigger than the other and Jay wasn’t nearly as sharp as Dennis.
It doesn’t matter that Cutler is the current champ. He was off just like Ronnie was last year and that means if someone else is in shape, he should place accordingly.
The Parking Lot
During the last comparisons prior to the posedown I was focusing on Jay and Victor. Top to bottom and back and forth. Victor was better on Saturday night. I thought he was on Friday too. At the moment before the champion was announced I was still judging the two physiques. Victor had more definition and had better shape and his overall appearance was superior to Jay’s.
For a moment I thought we’d have another upset this year and then Bob announced Jay as Mr. Olympia. I sat there for a moment speechless. Victor lost? I left the arena and walked out into the parking lot. Lo and behold, the people in the parking lot were on fire. I saw Flex and Dennis Wolf, Stan McQuay, Charles Glass, Ronnie’s friend “General Lee,” Chad Nichols, and many others.
Everyone thought the judging was misguided (they used more descriptive adjectives). Victor looked tired. Flex yelled out and asked who everyone thought should have won the Olympia. The fans yelled out “Victor!”
The Bottom Line
Jay is Mr. Olympia again and he’s a class act. He shook hands with all the competitors on stage, even the guys that didn’t make the top six. He was very respectful to his fellow athletes on stage. I know he wasn’t feeling well through it all. He had been sick for about five days prior to the show.
I saw him at the Expo on Saturday and looked like he should be in bed resting not signing autographs. Through it all Jay looked like a champion. Even in the posedown. Some people saw him running away from Wolf but I saw him leading the pack and saying, “Come on, boys. Follow me. I’m the champ.”
Jay wants to win three Sandow trophies. He’s got two down and one to go. I have a gut feeling that his third will be his most difficult. I can hear a Wolf howling in the distance and we all know Martinez is ready for Ronnie’s prediction from last year to come true really soon.
This year’s title might have been marred by controversy, but my gut also tells me Jay has already started formulating a game plan for that third title and isn’t going to let a Wolf stand in his way. He’ll make sure of it and there will be no “miscalculations” next time.