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2008 Olympia Highlights

Dexter Jackson 2008 Mr. Olympia Champion

Okay, back home and back to class after the extra long weekend. And, time to give my thoughts on the latest version of the Mr. Olympia. As you all know by now, Jay Cutler was knocked off his perch by Dexter Jackson. If you read my blog after the prejudging on Friday night, you know I assumed Cutler had the slight edge and was in position to win his third Sandow in a row. I didn’t know where Jay and Dex stood at that point, but since Cutler was better than he was in 2007, and Jackson was about the same, I just figured Jay was out in front again.

Top 6 Olympians

Top 6 Olympians

Top 6 Olympians

Top 6 Olympians

Before the final’s a day later, I found out Jackson held a nine-point advantage over Cutler and, although Jay looked much better on Saturday than he did 24 hours earlier (ditto for last year; why is Jay missing his peak so much at the prejudging these days?), it would have been shocking to see Cutler make up such a huge Jackson lead. Yes, Jay did best Dex by two points on Saturday night, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop The Blade from nabbing his first Mr. O crown.

I have no problem with Jackson winning; he’s been a great bodybuilder for years, which has included three Arnold Classic titles. But, when did the judges decide that shape would now supplant size in the criterion? I mean, Dexter always had better shape than Cutler. Hell, doesn’t everyone? Victor Martinez has better shape than Jay, but lost to him a year earlier. Jackson was third.

On the subject of Jackson, am glad to hear little ol’ me was on his mind at the press conference. I had to miss the event because of teaching duties at Pasadena City College that morning. Dex and I have gone back and forth about his alleged weight for years, and when he said he weighed 235 for the show, he asked if I was there, and if I had a scale so he could prove me wrong in front of the whole gang. Check out my video interview with Jackson from the Thursday night “Meet the Olympians” as we both take on the subject with fervor. And, no, I don’t believe Dexter Jackson weighed 235 pounds on his 5’6” frame. As I’ve pointed out for years, that means he weighs 25 pounds more than Shawn Ray did when he competed (at same height)? And, does it really matter? He’s Mr. Olympia, for gosh sake, whether he’s 220, 225 or 235.

Anyway, back to the contest. Personally, I thought Phil Heath was just as good as Jackson and if a change was going to be made, that The Gift could win the crown. At 10 years younger than Dexter, Heath has the best guns in the sport, and bests Jackson by far in the calves, thighs and hams department. Dex has wider shoulders, better chest and is thicker in the back. In any case, a close call.

Dennis Wolf was no better than last year, which is disappointing since the 5’11”, 260-pounder from Germany had an entire year to bring up his weaknesses. In fact, there was no way Wolf should have been fourth; that place should have been given to the amazing Toney Freeman. Freeman was the biggest surprise in the show. After losing the Masters competition to Darrem Charles in Atlantic City two weeks earlier, and placing only fourth in the Open division (won by Melvin Anthony), I thought Freeman had shot his wad. Wrong. Looked as good as ever—so good, in fact, that IRON MAN Publisher John Balik thought he might have deserved the crown.

2008 Mr. Olympia Weekend2008 Mr. Olympia Weekend

Silvio Samuel was the sharpest guy in the entire 19-man field, and should have been a slot or so higher. Ronny Rockel, who finished about as far back as I would have (14th—okay, maybe slightly higher than I would have finished), was the most overlooked. My “most improved bodybuilder of the Year,” Moe Elmoussawi, capped off a great season with a ninth place finish. And this is a dude who once begged me to let him compete in my Junior Cal because he wasn’t getting any pub from winning the California State title nearly a decade back.

I also thought Dennis James (8th) and Gustavo Badell (10th) looked the best they have in a long time and might have deserved more consideration from the judging panel when it came to selecting the top six finalists.

As far as “The Experts” go, Isaac Hinds shined the most. Lifter bet me a dinner Heath would finish ahead of Wolf, and named Toney Freeman as the “dark horse” in the show—if you saw our Mr. 0 predictions video on the site, shot the morning after the USA, I named Quincy Taylor for that honor. Yogi Avidan selected Will Harris. QT and Will were here, but sitting in the same seats Yogi and me were; in other words, egg heads, they didn’t qualify.

Hinds was also stunning in other picks, but I won’t go into that. Let’s just say Lifter had a hard, but happy, weekend. A lot of ups and downs, but he left Vegas a tired, but happy fella. Unless, of course, I mentioned his defeat at the hands of Yogi in their two round boxing match on Saturday at the Expo. Where was I? As the ring announcer, of course. You must see the video of this classic duel on I’m hoping to also get the video up at our site soon.

Steve Stone

On the down side of things, we’re all still stunned by the sudden death of Steve Stone backstage at the women’s judging on Friday. Steve, the best expediter in the sport and a guy I worked closely with for years (particularly at the Nationals and USA), collapsed from a reported pulmonary embolism and died doing what he loved best—working and helping the athletes.

I saw him briefly Thursday night and we kidded each other about having to set another record for the fastest show on record at the upcoming Nationals in Atlanta after getting the USA done in record time (for the third straight year) two months earlier in Las Vegas.

It’s a tragic loss. Steve had just turned 52, according to Kenny Kassel, his close friend for 30 years. Guess that old adage, the good die young, fits here. Condolences to Steve’s wife, Andrea (who was working the event, totaling scores) and the entire Stone family. Rest in peace, my man.

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

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