“Experts” Tab Heath to Retain Sandow

/ Posted 09.25.2012

www.ironmanmagazine.com
Lonnie “The Swami” Teper

1. Phil Heath
2. Kai Greene
3. Branch Warren
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Shawn Rhoden
6. Evan Centopani

Ron “Yogi” Avidan

1. Phil Heath
2. Branch Warren
3. Kai Greene
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Evan Centopani
6. Dexter Jackson

Isaac “Lifter” Hinds

1. Phil Heath
2. Branch Warren
3. Dennis Wolf
4. Kai Greene
5. Dexter Jackson
6. Shawn Rhoden

Filed Under: Olympia Weekend
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OLYMPIA PRIZE MONEY HITS ALL-TIME HIGH

/ Posted 07.17.2012

Mr. Olympia Press Release

OLYMPIA PRIZE MONEY HITS ALL-TIME HIGH

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.

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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:

TIER 1 – ARNOLD CLASSIC
2nd – 8 Points
3rd – 7 Points
4th – 6 Points
5th – 5 Points

TIER 2 – SHERU CLASSIC, ARNOLD CLASSIC EUROPE
2nd – 6 Points
3rd – 5 Points
4th – 4 Points
5th – 3 Points

TIER 3 – NEW YORK PRO
2nd – 5 Points
3rd – 4 Points
4th – 3 Points
5th – 2 Points

TIER 4 – ALL OTHER IFBB PRO LEAGUE COMPETITIONS
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

Figure

Fitness

Bikini

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

 

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“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

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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:

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

 

HARDBODY HINDS

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

 

YOGI AVIDAN

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.

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Leaving Las Vegas

/ Posted 09.27.2010

Okay, already left. Sunday afternoon, as a matter of fact. But, isn’t the headline cute? On the flight home a young man, sitting one row in front of me, smiled when we were getting ready to file off the plane after landing at the Bob Hope Airport (Burbank), and said, “The Swami did it again!”

Glad you noticed, fella. ‘Cause Dave Palumbo and Chris Aceto acted like I needed a one way ticket to a rubber room when, on the prejudging wrap on Friday night, I had the gall to say my pick, Jay Cutler, should be in front despite the mad challenge by Phil Heath. And that Kai Greene wasn’t in shape…20 pounds too heavy.

In the end, of course, who was correct? By the way, how about my selection of Erin Stern two month’s out to dethrone last year’s new Figure champ, Nicole Wilkins Lee? To me, Stern has the bod that is the postage stamp for Figure. Tall, sleek and athletic looking, with wheels from heaven. Of course, I also tabbed Kevin English to repeat in the 202 and under competition. Since Kev was the favorite going in, not much credit deserved there. BUT, he did have to best, once again, the great David Henry, who is always in wonderful shape.

On the subject of prognostications, the BONEHEAD PICK OF THE YEAR award is cemented in the hands of Ron (Yogi) Avidan. First off, he (and his partner in crime, Isaac (Hardbody) Hinds, somehow put last year’s Mr. Olympia in FOURTH place in the prediction video done two months out at the USA Championships.

Then, to top it off, Avidan’s selection to take the Sandow from Jay, Kai Greene, ended up in SEVENTH place. At least Hinds’ pick of Heath to win it all was a solid one after Phil’s best ever performance. To be fair, Yogi did have Heath in second and was one of a very few who put Branch Warren as high as third, so he does deserve some props.

Other weekend honors:

IN YOUR FACE AWARD: Cutler, for shutting up all his naysayers (again), with a near unanimous victory for win number four. This, despite being so dehydrated at the prejudging that Jay literally had to be helped to his car in the parking lot. If there was any doubt regarding Jay’s dominance, that was squashed at the finals where he showed up 15% better than Friday night. The Ultimate Beef is still the Chief.

CONSISTENCY AWARD: Heath, for following up a great showing at the 2010 Arnold Classic, where he lost a highly disputed decision to Greene, with another sublime performance at the Olympia. Where are the people who claim you can’t peak twice in the same season?

MOST IMPROVED: Dennis Wolf. I didn’t have the big guy from Germany (now living in Vegas) in my top 10 after finishing out of the top 15 last year and coming back with a not-so-impressive third place finish at the 2010 New York Pro. Wolf bounced back with a look that was close to his top five physique in ‘06 and ‘07 to deserve this honor.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: (tie) Kai Greene and Roelly Winklaar. Greene was the pick of many to dethrone Jay, but was way off at the prejudging to even be considered for a top five finish. However, he did look vastly improved on Saturday night, and many felt, me included, he should have moved past Ronny Rockel (6th) and Wolf in the final standings.

I had Winklaar in the top 8 after looking great at the Arnold and then dominating the New York Pro. But, Roelly was way off in Vegas (finishing 14th) and will have to prove in the coming year he still has what it takes to be a top contender. I say he does.

COMEBACK KID: Hidetada Yamagishi. I never thought Hide would even get on stage at the Orleans Arena after suffering a leg injury a couple of months back. But, not only was Hide there, he made it back into the top 10 to finish off a terrific year.

BEST EVER AWARD: Johnnie Jackson. No pre-contest hype for last year’s “World’s Strongest Bodybuilder” winner, but I feel Johnnie could have been in his all-time best condition, finishing in a tie with Dennis James for 11th.

BEST POSER: Marcus Haley. Haley always gives a great performance in the round that isn’t scored anymore. I appreciate his efforts to entertain despite that; at least you win something in my eyes, Marcus.

GOOD-BYE AWARD: Dennis James, who announced on stage the Olympia was his final show. Dennis the Menace has had a great career after winning the USA back in ’98. Thanks for all the great moments on stage Dennis, you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

I’m tired (was back teaching class Monday am and Monday pm), so that’s it for now. But, as that big dude once said, I’ll be back.”

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