1999 IFBB Grand Prix of England
31st October 1999
The DVD started off with a shot of Ronnie Coleman looking as massive as
ever. What was most impressive was not so much his mass, but coupling over
260 pounds of rock hard muscle with a slim waist. Some quick shots of other
pros were shown and they were looking large.
Tommi posed to the Star Wars theme music and was dressed up in a Jedi
costume complete with lightsaber and mask. Once he removed the costume and
mask it was clear he was close to contest condition and put on a good
routine. I'm not sure why Tommi was guest posing and not competing at the
show. In any event Tommi looked big and in good condition displaying good
muscle hardness especially when he hit the most muscular pose. The lighting
also highlighted his condition, visible throughout his back and glutes in
the rear poses. Tommi did one of his famous back flips which is proof that
not all bodybuilders are muscle bound as some would make us believe. He hit
the mandatory poses and posed to a variety of music throughout his
Cavan Derby then said a few words to the audience. Dorian Yates also said a
few words after being introduced by Cavan. He came across eloquently and
intelligently and was very well spoken.
Next the competing bodybuilders were announced:
Jean Pierre Fux
USA via Yugoslavia
Nasser El Sonbaty
USA via Yugoslavia
Flex and Kevin were so big they looked silly coming out on stage. Then when
Ronnie came on the stage he had the same effect but with an even trimmer
waist - he looked "sick" as in unbelievable. Big everywhere except for his
waist. His abs were looking full and deep to boot. Markus Ruhl looked scary
big but lacked the conditioning he has shown lately which he has been
gradually improving upon over the years. Nasser looked big and in good
condition before his fall from grace. Gustavo was not even close to the form
he has shown in USA. Neither his conditioning nor his size was at that same
level. That is not to say that he didn't look good, but he brought his
physique up substantially in the years since then, most notably at the 2005
Mr. Olympia and 2005 Ironman contests.
Next up, the first callout was shown which consisted of Ronnie Coleman, Flex
Wheeler and Kevin Levrone. They were all just insanely big and Ronnie
Coleman had one of his very best showings at this contest - possibly his
best ever. Next up, Ronnie traded places with Nasser El Sonbaty who was
compared with Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone. All three were looking
incredible, and as I touched on earlier, it was sad to see Nasser's fall
from grace since he used to be an incredible champion of bodybuilding.
Markus Ruhl was compared with Milos Sarcev and Dexter Jackson next and all
three were looking good, although Dexter was not as dry as he had been in
recent years. This may have been related somewhat to his use of oil or
tanning, but overall his conditioning was not as impressive as what he has
been displaying in 2003 and onwards. His glutes were showing striations and
overall his conditioning was still very good.
Flex Wheeler was compared to Dexter Jackson and Kevin Levrone and he was in
the middle of the group. He and Kevin Levrone both looked amazing and Dexter
was not quite at their level at that point in his bodybuilding career.
Ronnie Coleman went back up against Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone and they
hit the mandatory poses. They all looked incredibly good in pretty well all
of the mandatories. Ronnie's side chest was out of sight and his back poses
were unreal from top to bottom. His conditioning was incredible, his arms
and delts were huge, and even his calves which some say are a weak point for
Ronnie were as big as can be. Ronnie's calves may lack detail and shape, but
they definitely do not lag for size! Ronnie's abs were slightly distended in
the "abs and thighs" pose, but I do mean slightly. His stomach was amazing
for a man of his size.
Nasser, Milos, and Dexter then posed to the mandatories. Milos always had an
incredible physique with great detail and proportions. His arms lagged
during his career, but with such a perfectly sculpted physique, it is ok to
have one weak point! Dexter's front lat spread displayed his excellent taper
and Nasser's thighs were huge and shredded. All three bodybuilders hit the
abs and thigh pose by putting their hands on top of their head, but I find
the superior way to hit this pose is to put your hands behind your neck. In
any event, all three pros looked great at this show - a smaller show which
by all means was Olympia or Arnold Classic calibre.
The remaining bodybuilders went through comparisons and even the
bodybuilders who placed lower in the show were in great conditioning and
sporting good size.
Milos Sarcev hit the mandatory poses with Markus Ruhl and Nasser El Sonbaty.
While Markus has improved since 1999, he was still ridiculously big at the
time and had muscle simply spilling off his frame.
Round two ended and Andrulla Blanchette guest posed at the show. She was
huge for a woman and her lat spread was crazy. Her hair was blue during the
presentation and while her conditioning was not contest ready, she was in
respectable condition for a guest poser. She posed to the song "Wild Wild
West" by Will Smith which was popular in 1999. She later went on to become
Dayo Audi was the first to pose. I was impressed with his colour, oil, and
conditioning which he seemed to nail. He was a lot smaller than some of the
top bodybuilders at the show such as Ronnie Coleman and Kevin Levrone, but
he still displayed respectable size and once again, incredible conditioning
for a bodybuilder who I have not heard much about in my time following the
sport. He is still competing and recently placed 2nd in the Masters Over 40
Mr. Universe contest of 2006.
Oleg Zuhr is a bodybuilder who I had not heard about much since 2000 which
was the year I started following bodybuilding. He did a very impressive
moonwalk at the start of his routine then he went into his posing which he
performed to powerful music. He had a perfect six pack and overall good
proportions and conditioning. Posing was clearly a strong point for Oleg and
he used his presentation to highlight his strengths while hiding his
weaknesses. His overall proportion and structure were definitely in his list
Rod posed to some hip hop music and sported good size and respectable
conditioning. He was very motivated during his posing routine and it's
always nice to see a bodybuilder who is happy to be on stage and give the
fans a pleasing and energetic routine.
Jean Pierre Fux
Jean Pierre was one of the biggest bodybuilders to ever set foot on a
bodybuilding stage and was even said to be too big. There comes a point when
you simply can have too much muscle, and no matter how well in proportion it
is, it is simply too much since no human male frame was designed for it.
This is a problem with a lot of pro bodybuilders today. Fux's problem was
not so much having too much size though (no judge really considers THAT to
be a problem), but his relative lack of conditioning and stomach distension.
He appeared somewhat smooth or lacking in colour slightly, as if maybe he
needed just a little while longer to nail his contest conditioning. As for
his stomach distension, it was a problem as was his large waist. His size
was amazing though and for that reason, he was one of the most impressive
bodybuilders of his time, and one of the most impressive bodybuilders on
stage that night.
Ken Jones was on the opposite end of the spectrum to Jean Pierre Fux. He was
displaying good conditioning but simply lacked the size to do any damage at
the show. He lacked both overall muscular size and stature to compare well
with the top dogs at the show. He was shredded, and in person I once heard
he is actually impressive, but in a contest with the best bodybuilders in
the world, his lack of size was apparent. His unique posing routine found
him on the ground during one part of his presentation and he definitely had
some degree of gymnastic ability.
Colin also had a motivated routine which he clearly enjoyed himself. His
arms were round and full and his conditioning was bang on. Sporting good
proportions, he was mid size compared to the smaller and bigger guys at the
show. At a show with this calibre of competitors you need everything to win
- size, conditioning, and excellent proportions. He still showed great
conditioning as well as perfect colour for the show.
Jeff posed to "Nobody" by Keith Sweat, followed by some robotic music. He
was full and round, but lacking somewhat in conditioning and size. Like some
of his fellow competitors, he did seem to enjoy posing and being on stage
being a bodybuilder and showing it to the world.
I felt John had a nice healthy colour. He had a good physique and it is
difficult to comment on anything in particular about it, because nothing
stood out either in a knockout way, or in a poor way. Everything was
generally balanced and he looked like he had a good time being on stage.
(Editor's note. John's new DVD Believe to achieve will be released in
USA via Yugoslavia
Milos had what I would consider to be a perfect physique. His physique was
reminiscent of that of Sonny Schmidt in my opinion. He had round muscles, a
perfectly trim midsection, and mass, but not such that it was overwhelming
given his bone structure and stature. Speaking of stature, Milos is also
5'10 and 1/2 and has a long look to his physique which looks more pleasing
to me than the shorter bodybuilders. He hit Bob Paris' classic kneeling pose
perfectly, and just as well as Bob ever did. Milos falls in a class of
bodybuilding physiques which I would consider to be first rate. However, I
may be wooed a little by Milos physique due in part to his height and his
looks. It's hard for me to aspire to look like a 5'6 and 240 pound
bodybuilder who is bald and sports a massive waist and GH gut. I've always
found myself looking up to bodybuilders who have balance to their physiques
as well as those who are handsome and are at least of average height.
Flex posed to "Girls All Pause" by Kurupt as well as some other hip hop.
Flex looked incredible in every way - he was a cartoon. Where Milos looked
human, Flex had proportions which didn't looked cartoonish in their
roundness. He was very balanced and in great condition, looking as hard as I
had ever seen him.
Kevin was as big as I have seen him for this show. His delts were as big as
ever and so were his arms. His triceps in particular stood out, and both his
delts and triceps gave him an incredible side chest pose. That being said,
Kevin looked good in every pose. Kevin posed to "Killing in the Name" by
Rage Against the Machine. Kevin was one of the best bodybuilders in the
world at the time that he was competing and a serious threat to Ronnie's Mr.
Olympia title. Watching this DVD you will easily see why.
Ronnie looked incredible! He had the upper body mass of a 260 pounder and a
waist more suitable on someone weighing 220 pounds. Ronnie posed to "You're
Like A Dream Come True" by Brian McKnight. I would have thought that this
music was simply too slow for a physique as huge and powerful as that of
Ronnie, but his small waist and epic proportions made it a perfectly
appropriate song. His physique, despite its insane mass, still had a great
degree of elegance to it. I can't personally see how anyone wouldn't be
impressed by Ronnie. Ronnie was honestly not lacking anywhere. He was the
clear winner - in a VERY tough contest - from the moment he stepped on
Markus had close to the same size as Ronnie, but it is proof size in itself
is not enough. Ronnie is not just a huge mass of muscle as some seem to say,
and look no further than a comparison to Markus Ruhl to see what it means to
be closer to that description. Not to say Markus is just a huge mass of
muscle, but he lacks the proportions Ronnie does, as well as the small
waist, and of course, Ronnie's conditioning which is close to the best in
history. Markus looks like the muscle is way too much for his frame, yet
Ronnie who is even bigger, seems to more comfortably hold his mass. See the
DVD for yourself and you will understand what I mean. At the end of his
posing routine, Markus hit a most muscular pose which was out of sight.
Nasser El Sonbaty
Nasser was big as can be and was still close to his best by the time of this
contest. I personally feel his best was in 1997 when he came second to
Dorian Yates at the Mr. Olympia contest, but he hadn't declined too much by
the time of this contest.
Peter was another middle of the road pro at this show, not in the top tier
nor in the bottom. He looked very good but did not have the size to do
damage at the show. His conditioning was excellent though. He is famous for
his huge arms.
Gustavo was not even close to the showings he had in recent years at this
show. He was very smooth, and not just by his own high standards, but by any
standard. His hamstrings were literally devoid of any detail whatsoever, and
his glutes were as soft as can be. He had reasonable size, but having such
poor conditioning made him a non factor at this show. Gustavo posed to "You
Belong To The City" by Glenn Frey.
Dexter looked better at the night show compared to the prejudging in my
opinion, and was looking absolutely shredded in his most muscular pose.
However, I was disheartened to see his stomach distension even as early back
in his career as this show was.
Jamo was another pro in the middle of the pile at this show since he didn't
have the size to do damage. I think if he had come into the contest with
Rich Gaspari level hardness he could have cracked the top placings, but when
you lag in size, you simply cannot place very high compared to larger pros
in equal conditioning as you.
The pros then lined up and the top six were announced:
Nasser El Sonbaty
The pros went through the mandatory poses and while Ronnie was the clear
winner, it was hard to say who deserved second - both Kevin Levrone and Flex
Wheeler looked incredible. I would have had Milos in fourth, Nasser in
fifth, and Dexter in sixth to round out the line-up. Milos did have the
physique in the line-up that I would most want to aspire to, but in
bodybuilding size is very important and it's hard for a "smaller" but more
aesthetic bodybuilder to fare well against larger competitors.
After going through the necessary quarter turns and mandatory poses, the
group posed down to "Birth Defect" by Helmet. Each of the pros looked
amazing and Ronnie, Kevin, and Flex were probably the most impressive. As I
said, Dexter's conditioning seemed to improve by this time in the show and
he was looking sharp.
The top six were then announced:
Nasser El Sonbaty
USA via Yugoslavia
USA via Yugoslavia
1999 Chemical Nutritional Products English Professional Grand Prix Winner
Ronnie made Milos look small standing next to him, and honestly, Kevin
Levrone didn't exactly look large next to Ronnie either - Ronnie was huge!
Not to mention, Ronnie was a very well deserved champion of this show,
although I would have probably had Kevin in second, I think Flex looked
incredible and I have no major issues with him having won second at that
show. What's important is that the most deserving bodybuilder won it all.
Ronnie gave a speech thanking God first and Dorian Yates next. Ronnie was
short of breath, but very humble and grateful during his speech. He thanked
the audience, and said that bodybuilding will eventually be big like golf.
This is something that I disagree with because I don't see that ever
happening. Ronnie said that the hard work of bodybuilders will one day be
recognized at that scale, but I happen to disagree with him on that.
Next up, Ronnie was interviewed and explained that he was extremely pleased
with the results of the show and the year to date. Kerry and Jan Kayes who
promoted the show were interviewed next and Kerry said that everything ran
smoothly and he was very pleased. He said that it probably cost him money to
run the show and he said that he wish more people had attended the show.
Wayne of GMV did his usual great job of shooting this event while his team
shot in the pump room.
This DVD was considered by some on the getbig.com message boards as being "the greatest show on earth", and I have to say, it is definitely one of the best bodybuilding contests ever. It was Mr. Olympia caliber, even though it was not the Mr. Olympia contest. Most of the pros who competed looked just as good or even better than they did at the 1999 Mr. Olympia and so this DVD is a great one to add to your collection if you're looking for a very competitive contest. Ronnie, Kevin, and Flex are all at their best or close to it, and it is worth watching for their performances alone.