Olympia Weekend: One Million Dollars in Prize Money

/ Posted 08.07.2013

Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend has reached a milestone—correction, a million dollar milestone. Yes, bodybuilding’s biggest weekend has hit the $1,000,000 mark, making Olympia Weekend’s total prize money figure the richest in the industry—by a country mile! Check out the increases in total prize money per division: Mr. Olympia has jumped from $650,000 to $675,000; the Olympia 212 Showdown has grown from $40,000 to $65,000; and the inaugural Olympia Men’s and Women’s Physique Showdowns kick in $20,000 a piece, and those figures combined with the other divisions add up to one million dollars in total prize money.

For years, the goal was to reach one million dollars by the 50th anniversary of Olympia Weekend, which would have been 2014. But thanks to the hard work and combined efforts of American Media Inc. and its CEO and chairman David J. Pecker, the IFBB Professional League and its president Jim Manion, and title sponsor Ultimate Nutrition, presenting sponsor Bodybuilding.com, and other valued sponsors, Joe and Ben Weider’s lifelong dream has become reality—ahead of schedule. And let’s not forget the folks who really made this possible, the fans.

“Without the fans none of this would have happened,” Manion said. “Whether you’re a fan who attends year after year, a fan who can only make a special trip once in a while, or a first-time fan, it’s because of your support of the event and the sport, that Olympia Weekend has been getting bigger every year and I know that with all the exciting things happening in the industry, it will continue growing in the coming years. The sky’s the limit.”

Ultimate Nutrition presents the 2013 IFBB Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, brought to you by Bodybuilding.com, September 26-29 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Get your tickets now at www.mrolympia.com.


Mr. Olympia: $675,000
212 Showdown: $65,000
Ms. Olympia: $60,000
Fitness Olympia: $60,000
Figure Olympia: $60,000
Bikini Olympia: $40,000
Men’s Physique Showdown: $20,000
Women’s Physique Showdown: $20,000

Total: $1,000,000

For more info, www.MrOlympia.com

Filed Under: Mr Olympia

Heath Nabs Second Sandow

/ Posted 10.03.2012

Kai Greene gets second; Flex Lewis tops Henry to Win 212

For those who paid attention, I watched the Olympia Weekend from the best seat in the house–my home office. Yup, missed the festivities for the first time in 21 years; decided to view the webcast produced by Bodybuilding.com and tweet and post on my Facebook page in blow by blow reports. Since all my comments are still there for your viewing pleasure, will not repeat what I wrote. You’ll just have to check it out yourself. And, while your at it, check out the results, and Roland Balik photos, on this site.

On the subject of the webcast, thumbs up to the crew that headed up the production; first rate to say the least. The picture was clear, and the angles plentiful.

Now, back to the show. You all know by now Phil Heath won his second Sandow in a row, taking home a check for 250K. I didn’t think Heath was better than 2011; he looked to be a tad heavier, and not quite as sharp. That said, a 95% Heath is still an amazingly “gifted” bodybuilder. And, according to the judging panel, a fairly easy winner with straight ones. Although Kai Greene returned to the form that won him back to back Arnold Classic titles in 2009 and 2010, Phil’s superior “flow” of his body (best arms in the game to start with, great calves, matching thighs, back width, et al) was more than enough to prevent the upset, although I do think this battle was, as they say, closer than the score indicated. Thumbs up to Greene for making a legit run at the champ. A champ, by the way, who, at 32, could rack up several more Sandow’s before he hangs up the posing trunks. Oh, by the way–as you know, I did pick Heath to go one-two in my pre-Olympia predictions. Thank you, thank you very much.

The two biggest surprises of the contest were Shawn Rhoden, the new age Flex Wheeler, who moved all the way up to third (I pegged him for fifth in my Olympia preview), and almost-43-year-old Dexter Jackson, who looked his best since winning this show four years ago en route to a fourth place finish. The Blade, who copped the Masters Olympia a year ago, becomes even a bigger favorite to repeat in Miami Beach in December. The biggest disappointment–at least aocording to the prognosticators, was Branch Warren, who fell all the way to fifth after winning his second consecutive ASC in March. Branch gets a chance to redeem himself, againsst basically the same field, this weekend in India at the Sheru Classic. I’ll go with Heath again, with Rhoden possibly moving up a slot into second if Kai doesn’t come in the same shape he did in Las Vegas.

In the 212, David Henry returned from a year’s deployment to look great. Just not great enough to take the title away from James “Flex” Lewis, a guy I felt should have won this division a year ago. I remember meeting Lewis at World Gym, Marina del Rey, several years back. Bill Comstock filmed us going calf against calf. I lost. Now Lewis is doing likewise against people like Henry, Eduardo Correa and Jose Raymond. And still winning. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Filed Under: IFBB, Mr Olympia

Mr. Olympia Qualification Series Standings

/ Posted 09.13.2012


1. Toney Freeman, USA, 11 points
2. Ben Pakulski, Canada, 10 points
3. Hidetada Yamagishi, Japan, 7 points
3. Balto Abbaspour, Iran, 7 points
5. John Delarosa, USA, 6 points
5. Fred Smalls, USA, 6 points
7. Grigori Atoyan, USA, 5 points
8. Sergey Shelestov, Russia, 4 points
8. Steve Kuclo, USA, 4 points
8. Mohammad Ali Bannout, Lebanon, 4 points
8. Robert Piotrkowicz, Poland, 4 points
12. Fouad Abiad, Canada, 3 points
12. Flex Lewis, England, 3 points
12. Omar Deckard, USA, 3 points
12. Feras Saied, Italy, 3 points
12. An Nguyen, USA, 3 points
17. Darryn Onekawa, New Zealand, 2 points
17. Vaughn Ettienne, USA, 2 points
19. Eduardo Correa Da Silva, Brazil, 1 point
19. Luke Timms, Australia, 1 point
19. Christopher White, Canada, 1 point
19. Renaldo Gairy, Canada, 1 point
19. Adorthus Cherry, USA, 1 point
19. Lee Banks, USA, 1 point
19. Ed Nunn, USA, 1 point
19. Todd Jewell, USA, 1 point

*Top 5 qualify for the 2012 Mr. Olympia
**In the event of a tie, the competitor with the best top five contest placings will be awarded the qualification

The following competitors have qualified to compete in the 2012 Olympia
Phil Heath, USA
Jay Cutler, USA
Kai Greene, USA
Victor Martinez, Dominican Republic
Dexter Jackson, USA
Ronny Rockel, Germany
Lionel Beyeke, France
Branch Warren, USA
Dennis Wolf, Germany
Evan Centopani, USA
Michael Kefalianos, Australia
Johnnie Jackson, USA
Cedric McMillan, USA
Bill Wilmore, USA
Juan Morel, USA
Essa Obaid, UAE
Shawn Rhoden, USA
Roelly Winklaar, Netherlands

Filed Under: IFBB, Mr Olympia

Mr. Olympia Coming To A Theatre Near You

/ Posted 08.02.2012

American Media Inc. has partnered with writer/director Vlad Yudin and producing partner Edwin Mejia of the Vladar Company to produce and direct a bodybuilding docudrama titled, Generation Iron. They will follow the world’s top seven bodybuilders as they fight to bring home the 2012 Mr. Olympia title. Yudin is slated to direct and co-produce the film with Mejia, along with executive producer Jerome Gary (who produced Pumping Iron), executive producer Damon Bingham (Tyson), executive producer David J. Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, Inc., and executive producer Jim Manion, NPC President and IFBB Pro League Chairman.

This film will take an unflinching look into the widely misunderstood world of bodybuilding. Filming was slated to take place in mid-July and the cameras will travel from Brooklyn, NY to Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, CA, to document the lives of each athlete as they prepare for the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding. The docudrama will star bodybuilding legends Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Branch Warren and Dennis Wolf and will follow the lives of the athletes as they push their bodies to the limit while preparing for the Mr. Olympia stage at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

This is one of many projects in the Vladar Company’s busy 2012 development slate, including the recently announced collaboration with Arcana Comics for the adaptation of the sci-fi graphic novel Head Smash and the paranormal thriller Catskill Park.

Director/Producer Vlad Yudin says, “There hasn’t been a film dedicated to an in-depth and honest look at the sport of bodybuilding since Pumping Iron, and a lot of things have changed since the 70s. The goal of the film is not just to show the grueling training but the individual sacrifice and immense character these athletes have. Just like the sport they are often misunderstood and I’m hoping to give them a platform to express themselves.” Yudin, who founded the Vladar Company in 2008 along with partner Edwin Mejia, is best known for writing, directing and producing Big Pun: The Legacy (2008), the critically acclaimed biopic about legendary rapper Christopher Lee Rios. In addition, Yudin directed, produced and penned the script for Last Day of Summer (2009), starring DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow) and actress Nikki Reed (Twilight).

“This film will provide one-of-a-kind insight into the very essence of competitive bodybuilding by following today’s premier athletes as they prepare for the greatest title in this sport, the Mr. Olympia. Audiences will witness firsthand, what it takes to compete at this level and there is no doubt that new legions of fans will be inspired by the dedication, heart and will of these amazing, larger-than-life individuals. Since taking over production of the Mr. Olympia and the leading industry publications FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines in 2004, American Media Inc. has changed the face of the sport forever, bringing it to the masses while still retaining its core audience. We are proud to be partnered with the Vladar Company to make this groundbreaking documentary for the next generation and help take bodybuilding to even greater heights.”

David J. Pecker
Chairman, CEO, American Media Inc.

“Every now and then, a movie comes along that influences the public in ways that no one could have imagined. Bodybuilding has been waiting a long time for this moment, but the fact that this film is happening right now, when the sport is more exciting than ever, makes it the perfect time. And the athletes starring in this film are living proof that there are no boundaries to what the human body can achieve. The IFBB Pro League and the NPC have helped turned bodybuilding into a global phenomenon and we are honored to be a part of history in the making as American Media Inc. and the Vladar Company pay tribute to this sport that we so dearly respect and love.”

Jim Manion
IFBB Pro League Chairman, NPC President

Filed Under: Mr Olympia


/ Posted 07.17.2012

Mr. Olympia Press Release


A staggering $900,000 is up for grabs at Joe Weider’s 2012 Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, plus a special surprise in store for next year.

America Media Inc. (AMI) and the IFBB Pro League, producers of the Olympia weekend are thrilled to announce that the prize money for this year’s event has been increased to $900,000.  "We’re proud to be increasing the prize money at what continues to be the biggest event in bodybuilding," said AMI Chairman and CEO David Pecker. "The athletes at the Olympia are the best in their sport and the rewards they’re fighting for should be the biggest in the sport."

This year’s Mr. Olympia winner is guaranteed a cool quarter-million-dollar check for his accomplishment.  In addition, the Bikini Olympia and the Olympia 212 Showdown prize totals will increase by a combined $25,000.

A new addition to next year’s Olympia, the IFBB Pro League has also announced that the winner of the 2012 Amateur Olympia will be granted a berth at the 2013 Mr. O. The 2012 IFBB Amateur Olympia is scheduled for November 29-30, at Kadalya Stadium in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

“The IFBB’s mission is to give athletes all over the world the opportunity to compete at the highest level," said IFBB Pro League Chairman Jim Manion. “Thanks to the combined efforts of IFBB President Rafael Santonja, Mr. Olympia LLC and AMI, we are making it possible for athletes to follow their dreams and for fans of this great sport to see the best bodybuilders in the world."

Industry leader Ultimate Nutrition once again presents Joe Weider’s 2012 Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend brought to you by Bodybuilding.com.  The weekend features the Mr. Olympia, 212 Showdown, Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Ms. Olympia contests and expo full of exciting events takes place September 27-30 in Las Vegas. Tickets are on sale now. Visit www.MrOlympia.com for further details.


Ultimate Nutrition presents the 2012 Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend brought to you by Bodybuilding.com

/ Posted 07.02.2012

Ultimate Nutrition presents the 2012 Olympia Fitness &ampj Performance Weekend brought to you by Bodybuilding.com is well on its way to becoming the largest and most exciting Olympia to date. Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ve planned for September.

We are thrilled that we have DOUBLED the size of the Mr. Olympia Expo. That’s right! We are taking over South Hall 1 AND South Hall 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Twice the size means twice the excitement. Join us, as we bring you events such as MHP’s America’s Strongest Man Championships, BSN’s Olympia Grappling Championships, Pro Powerlifting Championships, the Olympia 212 Showdown, Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Ms. Olympia and new events such as the Olympia Arm Wars and Men’s Fitness Ultimate Athlete among others that will get your adrenalin pumping! Bring comfortable shoes because you will get a workout walking through over 500,000 sq ft of muscle madness.

For the first time, we’re offering our fans an opportunity to purchase the Olympia Weekend Expo Pass – which will save time and money! The Olympia Weekend Expo Pass is available online for $45 when you sign up at http://www.mrolympia.com/tickets.html. Once purchased, simply pick up your passes at the Olympia Expo Will Call counter. It’s that simple!

For more information on all the Olympia Weekend festivities, please log on to www.MrOlympia.com

Filed Under: Mr Olympia

New Olympia Qualification Series Announced

/ Posted 03.16.2012

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, March 13, 2012 -  The IFBB Pro League, in conjunction with Joe Weider’s Olympia Weekend, announced the creation of the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series, a points-based system that will help determine qualifiers for all six IFBB Pro Olympia divisions.

The IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will award points to competitors placing in the top 2 to 5 of all Pro League events. At the end of the Olympia qualifying season, the five (5) competitors with the highest points totals in the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will qualify to compete at Olympia Weekend.

Since the winner of each competition automatically qualifies, no points will be awarded for first place. Additionally, competitors placing in the top 5 at the Olympia automatically qualify for the following year.

The IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will be effective immediately, and point totals for all 2012 contests will be included.

“We think this is a great way to expand the number of Olympia qualifiers beyond those who win contests and to build excitement for all IFBB Pro League events throughout the course of the year,” IFBB Pro League Chairman Jim Manion said. “It ensures that the best of the best will be competing on the Olympia stage.”

Points and qualifications in the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will be awarded as follows:

2nd – 8 Points
3rd – 7 Points
4th – 6 Points
5th – 5 Points

2nd – 6 Points
3rd – 5 Points
4th – 4 Points
5th – 3 Points

2nd – 5 Points
3rd – 4 Points
4th – 3 Points
5th – 2 Points

2nd – 4 Points
3rd – 3 Points
4th – 2 Points
5th – 1 Point

To view the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series standings, as well as the current qualifiers for Olympia weekend, click on the links below.

Men’s Bodybuilding

212 Showdown

Women’s Bodybuilding




Any questions regarding IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series should be directed to the Olympia office via email at rchang [at] weiderpub.com



“Experts” Divided on 2012 ASC: Wolf, Warren and Jackson Get Top Votes

/ Posted 02.24.2012

On paper, the 2012 version of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic could be among the most balanced in the 24-year history of the Schwarzenegger/Jim Lorimer produced event. Four of last season’s top five return to Vets Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio on March 3; one of them is the 2011 champ, Branch Warren, who would have entered the show as the pre-contest favorite under “normal” circumstances. But, for those who even remotely follow the industry, you know that Warren tore a quad a month out from last year’s Mr. Olympia, and had to pass on the chance to chase the Sandow eventually won by Phil Heath.

How will Warren, the 5’6 1/2″, 245 pounder–a five-time winner of the “Most Muscular” award in Columbus–bounce back from the accident? When I talked to Branch a couple of months ago he assured me he would be as good as new. And Yogi Avidan believes it, because that’s who Avidan is picking to walk away with the $130,000 grand prize.

“I think Branch is going to dominate again!,” says Yogi, who then added that “none of us are talking about Evan Centopani, who is the dark horse. My five-year-old son, Adam, is predicting Evan will win!”  Hold on Yogi–a lot of us feel Centopani, fourth last year, is definitely in the hunt for the title. The 5’11″, 265-pounder is a great bodybuilder, and I have the 2007 NPC Nationals champion actually nipping Warren for second. Not a popular pick, according to many.

So, who am I going with as the name I will announce from the podium as the latest ASC winner? Big, bad Dennis Wolf, the 6’0″, 262-pounder from Germany (now living in Las Vegas), who gave Branch a good run  for the top slot last year, then followed that up with a strong fifth place showing at the Olympia–a single digit behind fourth place finisher Victor Martinez. With Branch an unknown factor due to the August surgery, this is a great opportunity for Wolf to finally jump into the winner’s circle. Dennis combines size and shape, and, even though he has a couple of flaws (calves, lower back), should have enough of the total package to win the show…..IF he shows up in his all-time best shape. As Elvis once sang, “It’s Now or Never”, big guy.

The bravest pick of the group? Isaac Hinds, who is giving his props to the Blade. Yup, Lifter is going with Dexter Jackson, fifth last year, to move up four places this time around and earn his fourth ASC victory, which would tie him with Flex Wheeler as the all-time record holder. Dex, coming off that 100 grand win at the Masters Pro World in December, is still going strong at 42-years old. “Dexter is a wiley vet,” counters Hinds. “He’s been there before, and his showing at the Masters proves the Blade is far from rusty…in fact, I’d say he was at his sharpest ever.”

Another cat I think can cause some trouible is Brandon Curry, who will be stepping on the Vets stage for the first time. After a slow start in 2011, Curry put his name back in the headlines with an impressive eighth place finish at the Olympia. If the  former NPC USA overall champ, who carries about 235-240 pounds or so on his 5’8″ frame, can continue to improve, Curry will be in a hurry to land in the top five.

Lionel Beyeke opened the new season with a victory at the FLEX Pro on February 18; can Beyeke challenge for the title in Columbus? I say not yet, although he does have great shape and looks awesome from the front. Lionel needs more calves and back crispness to battle the big boys at the ASC, but I think he can challenge for a top six finish.

I’m also interested to see how Matthias Botthof fares. Matthias dominated the Arnold Amateur last year, and has the muscle to be in the tussle at the next level.  Also aiming for top six finishes–and it won’t be easy–are Ben Pakulski and Fouad Abiad, who finished behind Beyeke in second and third, respectively,  at the FLEX Pro. And, both guys had their fans who felt they could easily have won the show. Pakulski is a freak, with the best calves in the game, and Abiad has a nicely balanced body who can hang with the top fella’s when he’s in prime time condition.

Ditto for Shawn Rhoden, the modern day Flex Wheeler, who was not at his best at the FLEX Pro, but has another two weeks to dial things in. Now, how about Eduardo Correa? The 5’7″, 217-pounder was so detailed at the FLEX show he could have been placed the cover of a “Shredded Wheat” cereal box. I felt he could have actually won the contest…but finished a surprising fifth. My only guess is Correa was considered too “small”. Well, he ain’t that small, and he was the best conditioned man in the line-up. Okay, he needs more size on his quads, and his color was off at prejudging, but who doesn’t have a weakness here or there? Seeing where Eduardo finished in Santa Monica doesn’t portend well for his chances in Columbus, with a vastly tougher line-up, but you never know. One thing I will predict–the fans will go nuts over the peeled  Brazilian physique star.

Perhaps the most interesting competitor is veteran Gustavo Badell, at one time of the sport’s shining stars, who is making a “comeback” at the ASC after not taking the stage for three years. At 39, does Badell still have what it takes to be a top contender? Ask me March 3.

Make sure to check out the Arnold Classic prediction video I did with Dave Palumbo last month at the LA FitExpo. It’s tough picking the top folks even if you see them the week of the show. Not seeing any of them, and going on record, a month out, is even more difficult. But, it’s fun, and it helps promote the show. So, right or wrong, let’s get ready to rumble.

The “Experts” Pick the 2012 ASC

Lonnie (“The Swami”) Teper
1. Dennis Wolf
2. Evan Centopani
3. Branch Warren
4. Dexter Jackson
5. Brandon Curry
6. Lionel Beyeke

Isaac (“Lifter”) Hinds
1. Dexter Jackson
2. Branch Warren
3. Evan Centopani
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Lionel Beyeke
6. Brandon Curry

Ron (“Yogi”) Avidan
1. Branch Warren
2. Evan Centopani
3. Dennis Wolf
4. Dexter Jackson
5. Brandon Curry
6. Gustavo Badell


Heath Snags Sandow From Cutler

/ Posted 09.20.2011

Filed Under: Mr Olympia, Video

The Great Debate: “Experts” Agree to Disagree on Mr. O Predictions

/ Posted 09.10.2011

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. The “Experts” have put their Mr. Olympia predictions on the line. And, as usual, it’s not a party line vote. The most acclaimed “Expert”, the Swami, is again going with Jay Cutler to make it five Sandows this coming weekend at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Hardbody Hinds is, per usual, shouting that nobody will touch Phil Heath this year, and says The Gift should have been unwrapped in 2010. Yogi Avidan insists Kai Greene, coming off his easy win at the New York Pro in May, will be mean and lean en route to his first Olympia crown. All three had Branch Warren in the top five; Branch will sit this one out after tearing a quad on August 20 at a guest posing appearance.
Drum roll, please:

1. Jay Cutler
2. Phil Heath
3. Kai Greene
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Dexter Jackson
6. Victor Martinez



1. Phil Heath
2. Jay Cutler
3. Kai Greene
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Dexter Jackson
6. Victor Martinez



1. Kai Greene
2. Jay Cutler
3. Phil Heath
4. Dexter Jackson
5. Dennis Wolf
6. Ronny Rockel


Although the “Experts” agree to disagree on the Mr. O, all three are going with Kevin English to make it three wins in the 202 and Under Challenge.

We’re out.