As if I haven’t sung the praises of Dexter Jackson enough … what key should the latest verse be in?
One of bodybuilding’s greatest stories ever, the saga continues as the 46-year-old former bantamweight scored his record-setting 27th and 28th pro victories at the Arnold Europe and the Olympia Europe.
Proving once again that size doesn’t always matter, the 5’6 ½”, 225-pounder finished ahead of mammoth Mamdouh Elssbiay, aka Big Ramy, a week after the Mr. Olympia to capture the Arnold Europe in Spain. For those into numbers, Jackson, who turned 47 on November 25, stands a half-foot shorter than Big Ramy and is probably 60 pounds or so lighter when the two step on the scale. Which, by the way, I wish they did.
We used to have weigh- ins at the press conference during the days of the Iron Man Pro, and, even though I allowed some of the competitors to keep their shoes—and sweats and fanny packs—on, making the number on the scale exaggerated, it did give the fans an idea of what the competitor’s true weight was.
Come to think of it, the Blade might have passed on stepping on that scale in 2004, the year he won the title.
Iron Man boss man Binais Begovic was in the house at Jackson’s win in Spain, and fortunately brought along photog Igor Kopcek with him so we can share what the top five—William Bonac, Shawn Rhoden, and Roelly Winklaar, respectively, followed Jackson and Big Ramy in third, fourth, and fifth—looked like.
Begovic even got onstage. No, the former bodybuilder is not making a comeback, he was there to present sixth-place finisher, Josh Lenartowicz, with a check for $2,500.
Jackson added another victory to his expanding résumé when he took the Olympia Europe in Dortmond, Germany; Rhoden, Bonac, Lionel Beyeke, and Winklaar finished second through fifth, respectively.
Question of the month: Where does Jackson rank among the all-time greats? Is he number one, based on most victories? Reader Steve Lauren from Tampa, Florida, thinks so. “Dexter is the best of all time because of his longevity,” Lauren wrote. “No one will break his record of 28 wins, and to me that should put him at the top.”
Now no one has been as great a Jackson supporter than yours truly, but we will agree to disagree on this one. For starters, better than Schwarzenegger, Haney, Yates, Coleman, or Heath? It would be tough now, I admit, to leave Jackson out of the top 10 based on his stunning accomplishments.
Ferrigno Legacy: DeAsha First In For 2017 Olympia
Nathan DeAsha, my “Most Overlooked” bodybuilder of the year, wasn’t in the Olympia Europe line-up, but he was onstage at the Ferrigno Legacy at the end of October, and at the end of the night, the latest gem from England was glad he was.
DeAsha scored an upset victory over favorite Justin Compton, not only giving him some cash, the Incredible Hulk statue, and some retribution over Compton, who beat him at the Olympia, but also an automatic qualification to the Big Dance in 2017.
I like this guy’s physique and feel he has the goods to crack the top 10 come September at the Orleans Arena. Won’t be easy, with rising stars Dallas McCarver (eighth), Lenartowicz (ninth) and Compton (10th) all planning to move up the ladder.
Congrats also go out to Robert Timms (Classic Physique), Melissa Pearo (Women’s Physique), and Cori Baker (Bikini) for their gold medal finishes and the Olympia qualification.
Timms is quite a story. Currently active in the Air Force, the Arizona resident overcame a battle with cancer several years ago with the same determination he’s now overcoming his opponents onstage. Like DeAsha, Timms is someone to watch out for come Olympia time.
One of the many highlights of the weekend was being asked by event producer Chris Minnes and Lou Ferrigno to host the “Coffee With Lou” seminar on Saturday morning, where about 100 fans showed up as Ferrigno shared many insights to his amazing career as a bodybuilder, actor, and a reserve sheriff with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.
Three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane was in the audience and came up midway to join the discussion. Zane, who went about 5’9” and 190 pounds during his competing days, explained to a couple of inquiring fans that “it’s not about size, it’s about quality” when asked the obligatory “what’s the best way to get bigger?”
As he normally does, Zane pulled out his harmonica and played (and sang) some tunes he’s written over the years.
On the subject of singing, Monique Hester, professional crooner and wife of Olympia Classic Physique champ Danny Hester, joined her hubby onstage at the Saturday night finals and sang live as the new-age “Sultan of Symmetry” did his routine.
Beautiful voice. Marvelous physique. Wonderful overall presentation. Nice added touch to the show, Mr. Minnes.
Anita Tinerino, Rancho Mirage Miracle
Just as things were about to begin at the Saturday night finals in the main showroom at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, tragedy struck.
A female spectator suffered a heart attack and, despite immediate attention by stage expediter Eric Abenoja (who is also a police officer), who performed CPR on the victim, it appeared it was too late.
I didn’t find out until the following week the female spectator was Anita Tinerino, the widow of former bodybuilding star Dennis Tinerino, who died from stomach cancer in 2010.
“She had a heart attack and died,” Minnes said. “CPR didn’t work, but my sponsor from SWAT Fuel, who is an ER doctor, administered an IV in the bone and brought her back to life.”
“I took over the chest compressions when I got to her,” Abenoja said, “but after three minutes, it didn’t work. No pulse and no breathing. I think the true lifesaver was the defibulator… according to our paramedics, they increase the chance of survival from 10 percent to 40 percent. I only heard second hand she pulled through.”
According to a couple of sources, she was taken to a nearby hospital, underwent surgery on Tuesday, November 8 (not sure if the procedure took place there or at another facility) and family members were trying to get her stabilized so she could return to her Northridge, California, home.
Nothing short of a miracle. Special thanks to all those involved in saving Tinerino’s life.
Brian Whelan: Returning To His Roots
It was a sweet homecoming for Brian Whelan, who competed in his homeland for the first time ever at the Irish National Bodybuilding Championships, held in Limerick, Ireland, in October.
Whelan, born in Dublin, made the long trip an extra special one by coming within a single digit of winning the Masters 50 division. The owner of Monrovia, California’s Foothill Gym received three first-place votes and four second-place tallies as he carried a crisp 205 pounds on his six-foot frame. As always, Whelan had no complaints about the decision.
“It was a big show,” Whelan said. “It had over 300 competitors … the organization is the Republic of Ireland Bodybuilding Federation [RIBBF], which is a division of the NPC. No gripes from me about my placing … but I’m not through just yet.”
For those who’ve been readers of this space for a long time, you may remember how Whelan almost lost his legs in a training accident at his gym on October 4, 2000. He was told he would be lucky to walk again, no less compete.
He did walk again. He did compete again, at first in a wheelchair, actually, in his return to the stage at Muscle Beach in on Memorial Day 2001.
And he was at his all-time best in Ireland. Who says you can’t go home again?
Arnold Classic Festivals Go Round the World
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer reached their goal last season by putting on the Arnold Sports Festival in all six continents, and as the Big Fella says, “I’ll be back.”
The 2017 schedule begins with the Arnold Sports Festival USA in Columbus, Ohio, March 2 through 5, with the Arnold Classic Australia taking place two weeks later, on March 17 through19, in Melbourne.
The South America event is slated for April 21 through 23 in São Paulo for the first time after being held in Rio de Janeiro since its inception in 2011, with the Johannesburg, South Africa, competition set for May 5 through 7.
The Arnold Classic Asia, in its second season, takes place in Hong Kong on August 18 through 20, with the season finale, the Arnold Classic Europe, being held in Barcelona, Spain,
“I look forward to continuing my worldwide fitness crusade in 2017 as we again travel to all six continents to promote the Arnold Classic multi-sports festival—the largest multi-sports festival in the word,” Schwarzenegger said.
Sabrina Perkins: Kids’ Play
I encounter many amazing folks in my travels, and the trip to the IFBB/NPC San Antonio Championships in October was no exception.
In the pro Bikini division, both Heather Davis and Jessica Wilson have the title “Doctor” before their name. I have emceed shows where both of them competed in the past, but had no idea of their amazing backgrounds.
It turned out to be an evening for MDs: Sabrina Perkins, a 48-year-old who looks 15 years younger, took the Overall in the NPC division in Bikini, besting some competitors 25 years younger, if not more. And I come to find out the 5’1 ½”, 108-pounder from San Antonio is also a doctor at the San Antonio Methodist Children’s Hospital. And that she barely made it to the show after putting in three consecutive overnight shifts a week out.
Looked like kids’ play from my vantage point, Sabrina. As co-promoter and head judge Sandy Williamson said, it’s now time to book your flight to Pittsburgh for the Masters Nationals. But take the week off before the contest this time around!
LONNIE TEPER’S RISING STARS
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current residence: Downey, CA
Weight: 111 pounds (contest), 117 pounds (off-season)
Occupation: Student, waitress, physical therapy aid using her massage therapy skills
Training location: 24-Hour Fitness in Downey
Contest highlights: 2016 NPC West Coast Classic, Bikini, Class A, 8th (out of 21 contestants)
Next contest: Local NPC event in mid-2017
On decision to compete: “My physical education instructor at East Los Angeles College thought I had good potential and encouraged me to compete in a local contest. After debating back and forth, I decided to give it a shot. I trained and meal prepped on my own for six weeks. It was demanding but fun, and I hope to compete again soon.”
Factoids: Of Peruvian/Mexican descent; One of five children: one boy and four girls; was known for her cross country and track achievements at Warren High School in Downey until she sang the National Anthem and became known as Kira The Singing Runner; studying kinesiology in college; enjoys modeling in her free time; has finished her course work in massage therapy and will be taking certification exam soon