After passing on the Sheru Classic last weekend in India, the surprise of the 2012 Mr. Olympia has a golden opportunity to be top dog at the Arnold Classic Europe, to be held this weekend in Madrid, Spain. Shawn Rhoden, who followed up two wins in August with a third place finish at the Orleans Arena, heads the 17-man field. With Heath and Greene, who went one-two again in India, not competing in Spain, the 37-year-old Rhoden has to be considered the strong favorite in Spain.
His strongest challenge should come from Dennis Wolf, who slipped to sixth at the Olympia, and ageless Toney Freeman, who was second to Shawn at the Tampa Pro a month earlier. The 46-year-old Freeman placed third behind Heath and Greene at the Sheru Classic.
Other notables flexing on stage will be Roelly Winklaar, Johnnie Jackson, Lionel Beyeke, Robert Piotrkowicz, Ronny Rockel, Hidetada Yamagishi and Ed Nunn. A guy I like, the always-in-shape Michael Kefalianos of Greece, will be among those hoping to crack the top five–like he did in Indiia, one slot ahead of Nunn.
Multiple Olympia champions Adela Garcia and Erin Stern lead the way in the Fitness and Figure line-ups.