Mr. Olympia 2010 Finals Review
The 46th Mr. Olympia was without doubt the most hotly contested bodybuilding contest of all time. Going into the finals it looked like Jay Cutler had it all to lose and would have to pull off something special to take home his fourth Sandow. Phil Heath was on the verge of stepping into the history books by becoming the 13th man to win the Joe Weider's Mr. Olympia all the while being pushed to the very edge by both Branch Warren and 2008 Mr. Olympia, Dexter Jackson. Both of these men were in their all time greatest condition and a slip from any of the top four would have seen the placings change without much debate.
But the contest for the title was not the only battle that took place; Kai Greene had a battle of his own on his hands. He has set the bar so high for what he can actually bring to the stage, there was no room for anything less than his Arnold Classic conditioning. Unfortunately, he was left out in the cold fighting for a place in the top 6.
Dennis Wolf made one of the greatest comebacks I have seen. Last year he failed to make the final 15, and that was on the back of two top 6 finishes. He turned up at the New York Pro and failed to impress, yet managed to qualify for the Olympia. When he stood onstage, the world knew that Dennis Wolf was back!
Where they placed....
10th Place: Hidetada Yamagishi
I actually had Hide in 9th place. He carries a lot of well conditioned muscle on his 5'6" frame and has no real visible weaknesses in the symmetry department, but he could do with some improvement in his back detail. He had some great old school posing, which reminded me of Mohammed Makaoui.
9th Place: Toney Freeman
The X Man is not finished yet as he was in the best shape we have seen him in some time. His conditioning was spot on but to move ahead in this line up he would've needed to add even more mass to his already huge physique. I actually had Toney Freeman finishing in 10th place.
8th Place: Victor Martinez
As Ronnie Coleman's heir apparent, did he fall short of Ronnie Coleman's predictions? Physique wise, not at all. He was as good as we have seen him, if not better than when he placed 2nd in 2007. But I feel that this year his best was just not good enough for the judges to reward him with a place in the top 6. I actually had Victor Martinez finishing in 7th place ahead of Kai Greene.
7th Place: Kai Greene
It looks like "The Predator" was terminated at this year's Olympia. Kai was huge and in good condition, but it was not what we are used to seeing from the two time Arnold Classic Champion. He seemed to lose control of his midsection and his lack of conditioning became more and more apparent, which kept him out of the top 6. I had Kai Greene finishing in 8th place behind Victor Martinez.
6th Place: Ronny Rockel
The Sultan of Symmetry, Ronny Rockel was one of the most improved athletes onstage. His compact physique is one of the most balanced and symmetrical I've ever seen. His legs and midsection were second to none and his back, which had been a weakness condition-wise in the past, could now stand the heat of competition on the biggest stage of all. A great result for the German, I had actually placed Rockel in 5th ahead of Wolf.
5th Place: Dennis Wolf
Dennis Wolf was written off by most after a dismal performance in 2009 and a lackluster showing in NYC. But Wolf put his head down and found what was needed to bring back the physique that landed him a 5th place finish in 2007. His back and calves still need a lot of development to be in contention for the Olympia title. I had Wolf in 6th place. Welcome back Mr. Wolf.
4th Place: Dexter Jackson
Probably Dexter Jackson's best ever condition and that includes when he won three Arnolds and even when he knocked out the champion and became Mr. Olympia. I don't believe there was anything else "The Blade" could have done to improve, his calves are his weak spot and he has done just about all he can there. The difference between Dexter, Branch, Jay and Phil was immeasurable. On a different day with different judges, who knows how it would have turned out for the former Mr. Olympia.
3rd Place: Branch Warren
Branch Warren has without a doubt made the most impressive improvements in his physique out of any of the Olympia competitors. In the past Branch's physique has been described as rugged mass, grainy and insanely muscular. This year however, the word symmetry was thrown in to describe the three time Most Muscular award winner. His waist has become more streamlined, and his condition has even improved from his 3rd place finish last year. I actually had Branch in 2nd place.
2nd Place: Phil Heath
The Gift was ON and he was conditioned from head to toe. From the back Phil Heath reminded me of Flex Wheeler and Shawn Ray, the detail that he had has not been seen on an Olympia stage in some time. There was nobody in the contest that could compete against his back double biceps. Cutler may have had him in the lat spread, as far as being wide is concerned, but Heath was by far the better, more complete bodybuilder in my expert opinion. In the side chest and triceps he stood out and he no longer suffers from being outmuscled. His added quality mass allows him to stand there with the biggest and baddest of them all. From the front, his symmetry is just as impressive as he had great sweep to his thighs, his midsection was tight and streamlined which gave him a great X frame look. I had Phil winning this contest hands down.
1st Place: Jay Cutler
Now 4 Time Mr. Olympia, Cutler was as good as he was last year, which was the best Jay Cutler we have ever seen. He was the biggest, fullest guy on the stage and took up quite a bit of square footage. However, as great as he was he was not that far ahead of the game. As usual his legs were huge and cut, he had some real deep striations, and his midsection was tight and streamlined, but he still had that boxy look for which he is known. In the back double biceps Jay was big and thick but lacked detail. I thought that both Heath and Jackson beat him and Branch Warren was pretty close to beating him too. However, when Jay hit the rear lat spread it was lights out. His back is wider than a barn door and his calves and hamstrings were in awesome condition. I actually had him finishing as low as 4th place, 2nd at best. I was really surprised when he was named as the 2010 Mr. Olympia. But I take my hat off to the four time champion for replicating his 2009 conditioning proving that it was no fluke.
At the end of the day, bodybuilding is a subjective sport and as athletes we put our faith in the hands of the judges. They derive their opinions based on specific criteria, and if the athletes meet these standards they get rewarded and if they don't, they fall behind. As an IFBB judge I have seen many a different physique and little guys beating big guys, big guys beating little guys and even guys that were not in top condition beating out more well conditioned athletes because it is about the overall picture, balance, symmetry, muscularity - the complete package. In my estimation Phil Heath fulfilled the ideal of what Mr. Olympia should be, however he will have to wait another year before he can fight the good fight and be in with a chance of taking home that Sandow.