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Coleman Says He’s Back in ‘Olympia…2010. It’s a “Family Affair” at San Jose Championships’

The big news coming out of the San Jose Saturday night was that Ronnie Coleman announced, after his guest posing stint (after prodding from yours truly at the podium, natch) that the rumors of him returning to the Mr. Olympia stage are true. In 2010, that is.

“Well, since you are asking me direct, I will tell you the truth-I’m finished as far as the Mr. Olympia goes–for this year; I will be competing in the show in 2010.” Any predictions, fans?

IMG_0574It was a one-day trip for me; I got to the venue Saturday morning as the pre-judging was winding down, and left early the next day. But, it was an action-packed 24 hours. I made my first appearance at Regular Joe’s, the famous downtown eatery, for the first time in about 15 years. The grub is still terrific.

And, after drooling over Mary Roberts’s photos in the mags some 25 years ago, I actually got to meet one of my early icons in person. As I walked from the auditorium to the restaurant with top NPC bodybuilder Claire Rohrbacker O’Connell and her hubby, Shawn (who was judging the show), Claire told me she was meeting Mary and her husband, Tom Nista.

I learned that Mary and Tom live in Elk Grove (Sacramento area), and that Mary would be handing out awards at the finals. Tom had put in his name for a reservation of four, but was kind enough to invite me to join them. Since I wanted to look at, err, talk to Mary and let her know about my longtime admiration, I jumped at the chance. Plus, I could tell Tom was a really generous guy, and would pick up the tab. So? Well, they don’t call me the Swami for nothin’.

IMG_0570It was a fun time, reliving some of Mary’s top moments as a pro, finding out that Tom and I both were Cal State Long Beach grads (and lived in the same area at one point), and that Claire competed in the 2008 Nationals with TWO torn biceps! When I asked her how in the hell she was able to finish the show (the right arm was injured during her posing at the prejudging), she kept going back to “And I still finished 5th!”

Tom, 55, who still competes in Masters competitions, also told me about the passing of his father, Joe, a couple of years ago. For those not well versed in bodybuilding history, Joe was a former Mr. America and Mr. World champion.

Even though I’ve known promoter Paul (Brother) Love for nearly 25 years, and have hosted his contest in the past, it was the first time I met Sarah and Geff Malone, who now co-produced the event with Paul as well as running their Max Muscle store in Santa Cruz. By the way, Geff and Sarah, thumbs up on the trophy girls!

It was a “Family Affair” in the Bodybuilding competition; Ruben Escobar, 30, won the Super Heavyweight and Overall in the men’s division, while his mother, 53-year-old Fatima Johnson, took the Women’s crown. Talk about some great Nicaraguan genetics.

IMG_0589Escobar, a thick 5’6″, 235-pounder, promptly told me after the show that he will knock off my USA pick, Mark Alvisi, in less than two weeks in Las Vegas (have you viewed the Swami’s video on the site yet?). And that he will trim down another 5-7 pounds to make sure he’ll be tight enough to back up his bold prediction. Mom, by the way, will also be on stage in ‘Vegas; I remember announcing Fatima as the winner of the Middleweight class at the show in 1998, I believe.

Ruben bested Heavyweight winner Kali Muscle (not making up the name, I swear!), Light Heavyweight champ Brent Smith, Middleweight titlist John Pereira (who also took the Novice Overall), Lightweight winner Jimmy (I wanna) Nguyen and Bantamweight gold medalist Jonathon Paez en route to the Overall title.

Megan Fei, a knockout of Vietnamese and Caucasian heritage, and the always-sexy Maysa Quy, topped the field in the Figure and Bikini competitions, respectively.

IMG_0582You can see these two gals, along with several other San Jose contestants,  on the crowded Artemus Ham Auditorium stage in Sin City in less than two weeks. Crowded I say? Well, looks like Jaguar Jon Lindsay could be approaching 500 contestants by game day.

But, let’s not jump the gun; I’ll be back at the podium this Saturday for the always-tough LA Championships, where it now looks like up to 200 may be in the field.

See ya there?

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk


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