The Arnold Classic has become the premier bodybuilding event of the year. Since its inception in 1989, it’s set new standards in entertainment, stage production and competition among the top professional bodybuilders in the world. The presence and celebrity of the contest namesake, Arnold Schwarzenegger, only add to the excitement.
In 2008 the Arnold Classic celebrated its 20th anniversary. In addition to an intense competition among some of the best professional bodybuilders in the sport, the ’08 edition featured a few surprises. One of the highlights was the appearance of all the previous Arnold Classic champions onstage. It was great to see all those legends—from ’89 winner Rich Gaspari to current champions Victor Martinez and Dexter Jackson—take the stage together and stand next to life-size pictures of themselves when they won the contest.
Thanks to the efforts of veteran videographer Wayne Gallasch, this year’s Arnold Classic has been recorded on two high-quality DVDs, “2008 Arnold Classic—Prejudging & Finals.” The discs contain an astonishing 237 minutes of footage—107 minutes from the prejudging and 130 minutes from the finals—so you can watch all the action onstage and backstage.
Disc 1 includes all the comparisons and mandatory poses from the prejudging rounds. All 15 contestants are shown in the order of their appearance. You see them pose individually and then watch the judges call out all the comparisons. The callouts reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each bodybuilder, and the cameras give you an up-close view.
Disc 1 contains some extra highlights. The most exciting is footage from the pump room, where the competitors get ready to step onstage. Wayne also includes a photo gallery from the prejudging and interviews with masters of ceremony Clint Richard and Hollywood Yates.
Disc 2 features all the excitement of the finals, including the full posing routines of each competitor. Gallasch employed four cameras at various vantage points in Columbus, Ohio’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium to get the best views. Because of Wayne’s extensive experience filming bodybuilders and bodybuilding competitions, the DVD is seamlessly edited to show each bodybuilder to his best advantage.
After each competitor has displayed his physique for the judges and audience, emcee Lonnie Teper—the best in the business—announces the awards for Best Poser and Most Muscular. The contest concludes with the exciting posedown of the top six competitors. The top four—Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, Kai Greene and Branch Warren—were in the best shape of their lives, and the audience shows its appreciation during the raucous posedown.
Extras on Disc 2 include a moving tribute to legendary bodybuilder Reg Park, who passed away in November 2007. Reg was Arnold’s idol and a very dear friend; his heartfelt speech reflected sadness and loss.
One of the most impressive acts on the Arnold Classic stage over the years has been the incredible Alexis Brothers. Their exciting hand-balancing and strength act always brings the audience to its feet. It was only fitting that the Alexis Brothers returned to the Arnold Classic for the 20th anniversary, and their performance earned them another enthusiastic standing ovation. You have to see it to believe it.
If you want to experience the Arnold Classic in its exciting entirety, get your hands on the “2008 Arnold Classic—Prejudging and Finals.” You’ll feel like you’re sitting in the front row. IM