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2008 Arnold Amateur Championships Review!

The prejudging was held at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium so the athletes got a taste of what the professional stage is all about. Here is my review of the 2008 Arnold Amateur Championships.

In 2007 Bob Lormier and Mike Davies presented the first Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Competition. In 2008 a bold and innovate move was made to open the event to all IFBB amateur competitors from Europe, Asia, Canada and all of the Americas.

The addition of these top athletes introduced a new competitive spirit to the show as well as a truly international flavor. There is one group may not have been so delighted with the addition of the international competitors: The American men bodybuilders. The Americans were soundly skunked taking first in only two classes.

Men's Bodybuilding

The men's super heavyweight and eventual overall winner Tarek Elsetouhi clearly dominated the stellar cast of competitors.

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Tarek Elsetouhi.

The Egyptian born Elsetouhi, who now resides in Germany, was thick and symmetrical and posed with the confidence of a twenty-year veteran.

His chief competition was Poland's Robert Piotrkowicz. It was a disappointing loss for Piotrkowicz who is reigning 2007 IFBB amateur overall world champion.

Robert Piotrkowicz
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Robert Piotrkowicz.

The Pole had great shape and deep muscle bellies but Elsetouhin's conditioning and narrow waist was the overall deciding factor.

Californian Benjamin Parra walked away with first place in the heavyweight class although second place Argentinean Jorge Asp looked sensational as did number three Mathew Stefan of Peru.

Benjamin Parra
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Benjamin Parra.

Asp and Stefan were only a small part of the South American Cartel that came to conquer in Columbus. I would be remiss if I didn't mention fourth place Carlos Rodriquez.

Carlos Rodriquez
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Carlos Rodriquez.

Rodriquez had the most pleasing physique of the show. His lines flowed well and his posing was exquisite. With proper training and diet he has room to grow into an international threat.

The light-heavyweight class was definitely the most evenly matched of the night. Each of the top five came in phenomenal shape.

The high caliber of competition pushed the athletes well beyond the norm. The Brazilian Behemoth Eduardo Correia posed his way into Arnold Classic history taking first place on the way.

Eduardo Correia
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Eduardo Correia.

There was a friendly clash for second and third between Swede Pierre Chamoun and the American young gun Christopher Jalai. Chamoun got the second place nod from the judges with Jalai getting the biggest response from the crowd.

Pierre Chamoun
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Pierre Chamoun.

The middleweight category was the classic battle of size versus conditioning and symmetry. Arturo Casteneda displayed a physique flaunting both. Just right amount of muscle for his frame and his conditioning couldn't get much better.

Arturo Casteneda
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Arturo Casteneda.

Second place winner John Durante probably had Castenenda in the legs. With further improvement in his traps and delts and Durante can make his name in the middleweight class.

John Durante
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John Durante.

The number three man was Raul Martinez of Miami Beach. On any other day Martinez could have taken the class but Castenenda and Durante physiques were a level above the rest of the class.

Raul Martinez
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Raul Martinez.

Thick as a brick is the only way to describe welterweight winner Javier Reynoso. Reynoso had to be wider then he was tall.

Javier Reynoso
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Javier Reynoso.

He swaggered about like a longshoreman as he pounded one classic bodybuilding pose after another. There was nothing artistic about Reynoso's presentation.

It was brutal and in your face a` la Sergio Oliva. The polar opposite of Reynoso was second place winner, Italian pretty boy, Corrado Maggiore.

Corrado Maggiore
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Corrado Maggiore.

He posed with the fluidity of Nureyev bringing the Arnold Expo crowd to near silence. New Yorker John Givens took third place in the welterweights.

John Givens
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John Givens.

Lightweight champion Jose Carlo Santos is no stranger to the winner's circle. He was the 2007 65kg class winner at the 2007 men's amateur championships in Korea.

Jose Carlo Santos
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Jose Carlo Santos.

The Brazilian born Santos defeated his nemesis from Malaysia Szali Abd Samad who was also a class winner at the world championships last year. The Buckeye State's Omar Holt was relegated to third place.

Szali Abd Samad
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Szali Abd Samad.

The bantamweight class was the only class boasting an All-American line up. Kentuckian Dewayne Sammons bounced back after a disappointing prejudging to claim first over Mark Zmitravich.

Dewayne Sammons
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Dewayne Sammons.

Lowell Starr placed third in a close race with teen Lance Maxwell. Maxwell's fourth place finish in his first national competition is no small feat.

Lowell Starr
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Lowell Starr.

Maxwell won the teen division in last years Flex Wheeler Classic with a posing routine that left the "Swami" Lonnie Teper nearly speechless. That is quite an accomplishment in itself.

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Women's Bodybuilding

The Arnold Amateur women's competition also featured some great physiques from around the world. Women's overall winner Mari Carmen Gomez Segura dominated the heavyweight class not only in her physique but by her stage presence as well.

Mari Carmen Gomez Segura
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Mari Carmen Gomez Segura.

The Arnold Expo spectators came alive during Segura's routine and stayed around to cheer her overall award later. Her closest competition in the heavyweight class was from the blond Canadian Marylynne MacKenzie although Segura was in a class of her own. Marcia Furgeson took third place honors.

Marylynne MacKenzie
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Marylynne MacKenzie.

The middleweight class went to Holly Nicholson with Alicia St. Germain in second and Californian Becky West a close third.

Holly Nicholson
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Holly Nicholson.

One of the most appeasing female physiques of the evening would have to go to middleweight fourth place winner Carrie Simmons.

Carrie Simmons
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Carrie Simmons.

Simmons possessed the ideal mixture of muscularity and definition while still maintaining her femininity. She was rewarded for her efforts by the loudest crowd response of the evening.

Joanne Stewart came all the way from the Land of Kiwi to compete in the Arnold Amateur. The New Zealander soundly defeated her lightweight competition leaving second place to Millie Cleveland and third place to Glenda Bozett.

Joanne Stewart
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Joanne Stewart.

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Women's Fitness

It was fitness short winner Allison Ethier's dynamic fitness routine that gave her a solid standing in the lineup. Her routine was a mixture of dance, gymnastics and some incredible upper body strength moves.

Sylvia Tremblay's mix of classic fitness routine moves coupled with her skilled baton twirling presentation prompted quite the applause during prejudging.

Sylvia Tremblay
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Sylvia Tremblay.

Megan Tennant's James Brown medley was my favorite of the fitness routines. Blending the moves of the Godfather of Soul with the flash of a Las Vegas showgirl it made for an interesting mix. At evenings end Tremblay took second and Tennant third.

In the fitness medium class Chantal Dicaire was the only competitor that came to play. And play she did. She had a great routine that featured some serious hang-time in her leaps. Chantal also made her strength moves look effortless.

Chantal Dicaire
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Chantal Dicaire.

The finals came down to Ethier and Dicaire both of whom have impressive competitive credentials. Ethier took 5th in her class at the 2007 CBBF and Dicaire placed second in her class at the same Canadian Championships.

The two Canadians had traveled a long road before finally competing side by side in Columbus. I doubt the judges had an easy time with the decision but decide they did. The 2008 fitness overall award was presented to the high school math teacher from Quebec Allison Ethier.

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Women's Figure

Over one hundred figure competitors from around the globe descended on Columbus to bring their idea of the best body to the stage. With six classes of world-class figures prejudging must have seem a daunting task to the international panel.

The dark haired beauty from the Silver State Candice Houston earned top honors in Class B and took the overall award too. She had competition though.

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Amateur Figure Competitors.

Class A winner Linda Fodor-Egelstig and Class C winner Pamela Soper both presented fantastic physiques. Fodor-Egelstig sported wider shoulders and more of a sweep to the thighs as apposed to Soper's more streamlined look.

Class D seemed the most difficult to judge due to the similarity in the top five physiques. Each contestant delivered a package in line with IFBB guidelines.

Winner Kristy McKinney probably got the first place trophy for her excellent stage presentation and chiseled abdominals.

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Amateur Figure Competitors.

Tall and conditioned with perfect skin tone was what gave Canadian Natalie Waples the edge in Class E over the lovely Francisca Dennis. Dennis possessed some of the best-shaped delts of the show and her V-taper was quite impressive for a woman of her height.

In Class F it was Sandy Helmig who trekked all the way from Alberta, Canada to win the class. The blond haired, green-eye beauty looked like she would be more at home in Malibu then the Great White North.

Second place was the ebony princess Jennifer Hernandez. Hernandez is from the New York City and deserves the "best personality award." She was the darling of the show.

Another few of my personal awards: The best smile award goes to Colorado's Jaime Meade. The Georgia Peach Melissa Froio takes the title for the tiniest waist. Best eyes go to Lindsey Bundy. And sexiest hair goes to Keisha Pedigo.

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If there were any doubts about the Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Competition after its shaky debut last year they were put to rest after this years production.

The prejudging was held at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium so the athletes got a taste of what the professional stage is all about.

The morning spectators turned out in droves and stayed all the way to the end. The finals were held on the Arnold Expo main stage and the fans that were unlucky enough to get seats were standing fifteen persons deep.

Once again congratulations and thanks to promoters Bob Lormier and Mike Davies for producing such an outstanding event.

Amateur Videos From The 2008 Arnold Classicdot

    Men & Women's Amateur Prejudging.

    Watch The prejudging for the amatuer competitors.

    WMV (217 MB)