Isaac Hinds, who certainly deserves the tile of “Man About Town”, first notified me of the news last week. The Swami would have to make a new pick for the Arnold Classic, ‘cause my original selection, reigning champ Victor Martinez, injured his left knee and is out of this season’s March 1 flex fest.
Dave Palumbo, quoted on “Getbig Headlines” (go to www.getbig.com for the link), said Martinez was doing a set of warm-up lunges at his home gym in New Jersey when he felt “something give”; an MRI revealed extensive damage, and Victor had surgery the following day. At this point, Victor’s status for the Mr. Olympia is uncertain, but I’d say the Dominican Dandy has plenty of time to rehab, then slowly get back into contest prep for The Big Dance at the end of September.
Hinds also was the first to let me know of Ronnie Coleman’s marriage on December 27 to Rouaida Christine Achkar, who he met a decade back at a Paris Sports Expo. Rouaida was born in Lebanon and raised in Paris; according to the site, the eight-time (and now retired) Mr. Olympia said “the big party will be held in Lebanon on July 26, 2008.” Guess that means we won’t see ya at the USA, eh Big Nasty?
The first of its kind reunion of male and female champion bodybuilders will take place during the finals of the Arnold Classic; all 20 previous male and female winners (12 men, eight women) will be honored by promoters Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer. “Arnold and I are honored that these men and women have competed here,” says Lorimer, “and have helped focus worldwide attention on Columbus. We will recognize and honor these living legends during the 20th Anniversary Arnold Classic, and we’ll give Columbus fans the unprecedented opportunity to meet all the winners at the same time.”
And, special thanks to Jim for not only continuing to rehire me as the emcee of the event (has done so yearly since 1993; our “contract” has always been his word), but also giving me the opportunity to do the introductions of the title holders on this always special evening. I tip my cap—again—to the Governator and Jim for always making their event bigger, and better, with each outing.
Gustavo Badell, the 2005 IRON MAN Pro champion and one of the pre-contest favorites at the February 16 battle at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has signed with Weider Publications.
As I say on “The Experts,” over, under and out.