A WHOLE lot more. But don't just take our word; check out the following laundry list of all the new stuff going on at this year's show of shows. (For tickets and full details go to 2005olympia.com)
Wildcard Showdown - Friday night at the O takes on a whole new look with the addition of the Olympia Wildcard Showdown. Watch as a select group of top-tier pros who haven't yet qualified for the Mr. O duke it out in a winner-take-qualification (and $10k) competition. Can anyone say "high drama?" as these high rollers throw the dice for the chance to flex against Ronnie, Jay et al?
- Totally Revised Challenge Round - You said last year's Challenge Round could use some improvements; we made them. This year the scoring doesn't count towards the overall standings. Rather, it has become a contest in and of itself, with cash prizes totaling $50k and a judging panel consisting of former Mr. Olympias. How's that for a positive change?
- Ms. Olympia at the Expo - Fans will get to watch Iris Kyle defend her title in the Expo as she battles against the best in the world. This year's event will maybe be one of the most dramatic and crucial in the contest's history. With the 20 per cent solution in effect and the current womens bodybuilding scene polarizing support this year's contenders have a real opportunity to shape the destiny of their sport.
- UFC Octagon Cage - What's one of the fastest growing sports on the planet right now? Ultimate fighting! And we've got it!! Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Andrei Arlovski and a host of other heavy-hitting UFC champs and contenders will be laying it down in the heart of the Las Vegas Convention Center. You thought Ronnie and Co. were tough? Well they are. But these UFC guys turn it up a notch.
- A 1015 Bench? - Gene Rychlak is a bench-pressing beast. He's already broken the incomprehensible half-ton mark. Now he's going for 1015 lbs. - an all-time world record! And at the Mr. Olympia finals no less! To coin a phrase, this is going to be "sick." In a good way.
- Weider vs. MuscleTech - You read right. The #1 bodybuilding publisher vs. the #1 bodybuilding supplement manufacturer, in a bench press duel. Well, not the companies themselves, of course (we're all just a bunch of geeks) but our athletes. Weider athletes against MuscleTech athletes. The winning team gets bragging rights to die for. Of course we'll write that we won even if we don't.
- Superstar Training Seminar - Have you ever been to a sit-down seminar before? It's pretty cool- the pros talk about the contest, their diets, their training, etc. That's nice and all, but wouldn't it be really cool if you actually got to watch them train too? And wouldn't it be even cooler if you got to train with them, and have them instruct you as you went along? Guess what? Sunday morning after the O it happens with Ronnie & Co. Now THAT'S pretty cool!!
- Muscle Fantasy League (MFL) - As you're taking in the complete Olympia appearance leave yourself a few minutes in your busy schedule to join the Muscle Fantasy League. Why? Well, for one thing it's fun. For another it's free. Test your bodybuilding acumen by placing the Olympia contestants in their proper order. You may find that you know a thing or two about our fair sport. Oh, and did we mention all the prizes, we're giving away, including a JVC 42" plasma TV? Can't AMI employees play? Pleeeease???
- The Orleans - We've said it before and we'll say it again: This place rocks! The arena is state-of-the-art. We've done the run through ourselves and believe us when we say we're not just blowing smoke. The seats are better, the view is better, the sound is better, it's bigger, it's newer and it's cleaner. It's just a better venue than last year's. Period.
- LV Convention Center - It's much bigger than last year's space. Bigger aisles mean less congestion, more air to breathe, less contact with bodily odors. Not that any of us emit them...
Of course we have to say nice things about the Olympia. After all, we're running the thing! But here's the honest truth: More than a few of us involved with this production are longtime, dyed-in-the-wool bodybuilding fans and we are truly excited about this year's O, for personal reasons.
Not the least of which is the fact that this year marks the men's contest's 40th anniversary, which technically makes it Olympia XL. Fitting tag for the biggest Olympia of all time.
To book your place in history go to 2005olympia.com for how to purchase tickets and all other details.