Here's my take on the top placements, as well as my personal thoughts on
athletes I had in the show. . .
1st - Ronnie Coleman: All year, everyone (officials) had been telling us to
make certain Ronnie comes in at 250 or under - bascially repeat the 2001
conditioning, size, etc. - so that's what we did. Because of this, we brought
him in way lower than he needed to be. On August 30 - he was 296 - and just
sick looking - I could've dropped water from that point and brought him on
stage around 285 and it would've been the craziest sight anyone would ever
seen. Unfortunately we got caught up in pleasing everyone but ourselves.
Overall, his conditioning was great - from the back he was full, hard, dry and
everything was right on the money. From the side, the same - but from the
is where I was not satisfied. His waistline was much smaller than it had ever
been - so very pleased with that, but to get it there, the chest and delts
on the flat side - and from the front, he lost a little of the fullness in the
lat. Another problem we ran into was when changing his diet going from carb
depletion to carb loading - it seems to throw his body off - so, these are
things that will be changed for the GNC pro in 3 weeks and for the '03
Don't be surprised if Ronnie is 285 and in the freakiest conditioning ever at
the O next year!
2nd - Kevin Levrone: He completely surprised me - and a lot of people and
looked the best he had looked in years. His legs were bigger than last year -
however, still down from what I feel to be his personal best - '93/'94. One
thing I had noticed is that his waist was thicker than it has been in previous
years. However, abs still in good shape. His overall conditioning was average,
too soft from the back (glutes, back and hams). He still carries his trademark
large delts and triceps and his posing routine was the best it had been in
years - probably what carried him solidly into the 2nd place spot.
3rd - Chris Cormier: Chris was another person that everyone had counted out of
the top 3, however, I had seen pics of him all year and knew that he would
lock for the top 3 - as long as he put forth the effort. Chris was about 5
pounds heavier than at the 2002 Arnold and conditioning was pretty close to
same. However, for Chris to move up and become a threat - he still needs
another 10-15 pounds of solid muscle. His legs were in great shape - nice and
full - abs were nice and crisp - although I would've liked to have seen them a
bit sharper, but I was happy with his overall appearance. Chris still needs a
little more thickness/fullness to the back, however, it is constantly
4th - Dexter Jackson: Dexter looked about the same as he always does -
a good thing - his conditioning is superb and he's pretty darned complete.
Shawn Ray out and a much smaller Flex Wheeler in the lineup, it was a perfect
situation for the judges to move Dexter up into the top spots. For Dexter to
place any higher, he still needs to make added physique improvements - needs
more thickness to the back - and really when you comment on thickness - just
more of it everywhere. He does have great structure - his lats are a little
high which makes for a longer torso, but his muscle insertions tie in so well
and look so good, that there is the tendency to overlook this. All in all a
much deserved spot for him.
5th - Gunter Schlierkamp: Who would've guessed - or even thought last years'
15th place finisher would break the top 5??!!!!!! I DID!!! Gunter was
definitely the most improved athlete on stage. We spent a lot of time this
making improvements both in size, shape and conditioning and it was greatly
deservingly rewarded. We had improved his delts tremendously - giving him a
wider look and a much improved "V" taper to the waist. His overall
the back and lats showed both in his front and back lat poses and his stances.
His conditioning was 100% on the money, and I couldn't have asked for his
overall package to be any better for this point in time. If I am able to
dedicate more time to him this year and make the necessary improvements,
will be a severe threat at any show he enters. I felt he could've been much
higher - maybe as high as 2nd - but of course, he is one of my athletes and
6th - Lee Priest: I had been hearing all year that Lee was coming into this
show lighter and in the best shape of his life. Lee looked good and was
deserving of 6th place. However, his usual physique problems were still
- a little soft in the front of the quad and soft in the glutes and
It looked to me that he definitely did try to come down lower, but
unfortunately when Lee comes down that far, he flattens in the chest and back.
His arms are still the most complete and impressive in the sport and if he
would ever come in dead on the money - he's another threat to anyone.
7th - Flex Wheeler: For Flex to place 7th in this lineup, basically drug free,
is a huge accomplishment. For this show, I didn't assist Flex with his
nutrition, but I did dry him out. I took him down as dry and as low as I could
without sacrificing too much fullness and size. His conditioning was good - he
has definitely been better, but for his overall situation - he looked good. I
feel Flex's biggest downfall for this show was his size. He still has his
classic lines and the smallest, flattest waistline in the show, however, he
lacked the size and fullness to be competitive for the top spots. With a few
minor adjustments, I feel Flex can come in a little bigger and fuller - and in
turn we could do more with his water to bring him in tighter - 10 more added
pounds of muscle, and I feel he is back in the top spots again.
8th - Markus Ruhl: Markus is just one of the freakiest guys in the sport,
period! He is one of those guys that is just fun to watch because he just has
so much muscle and is just so big. His conditioning was a little off, I felt.
He was very soft in the glutes and the back and lacks the separation and depth
to the muscle that could put him higher. However, his sheer size and
musclularity was enough to pull him into 8th - a respectable place for him.
9th - Orville Burke: For a guy getting ready to turn 40 - he looks damn good.
He was the biggest I had ever seen him, however, his stomach was a little more
bloated this year than in the past and his conditioning was a little off from
last year -I felt last years' conditioning at the O was his best. He's one of
the widest guys that you will ever see and his lat spread is just freaky
10th - Dennis James: I thought this was a gift. Dennis just doesn't have the
physique in that lineup to be in a top 10 spot. His stomach was bloated and I
feel the overall shape that turned him pro at the nationals is almost gone.
legs have always been a weak point, and this was evident at the show. He does
have huge delts and a huge upper chest - in a tank top and in the gym, he
impressive - but he lacks the overall top to bottom symmetry and harmony in
muscles to out place more complete physiques. I felt his overall conditioning
was good, but not great.
11th - Craig Titus: Craig was definitely improved and looked better than last
year. Stomach was a little bigger than last year - but overall much fuller.
Still his one major weak point is the chest. His conditioning was pretty
good. He still has improvements to make. I'm not sure if I would've have had
him this high, but then again, I would've had him over Dennis James.
12th - Art Atwood: The question on everyone's mind here is how did Art beat
Markus in Toronto, show up at the Olympia in better shape and bigger and place
4 spots behind Markus? Obviously, this is the Olympia, not Toronto. I also
that there are a couple of things that come into play when comparing these
1) Markus' sheer size is overwhelming, and 2) we can thank everyone's good
buddy Shawn Ray for! Inexperienced judging. Shawn bitched and complained all
year about a new judging panel - so we ended up with the most inexperienced
Olympia pannel ever - and it showed strongly in Art's score sheets. He ranged
from 9th (which I felt deserving) -all the way to 21st place votes - and that
was in the SAME ROUND - something sound wrong with that scenario? I think so.
Art's overall conditioning was very good - he had added some good size since
Toronto, but for Art to do well on the Olympia stage - he just needs a bit
maturity to the muscle - and overall refinement which will come with time -
he's a new pro with a very bright future.
13th - Ahmad Haider: In my opinion - he should've been much higher. He's not a
huge body builder, but has a great overall package - and how could Markus,
Orville, Dennis, Craig, etc., come close to him in the symmetry round -
one of Ahmad's strongest points. Muscularity wise, that is another story,
felt he could've evened things out and moved up with the symmetry round. I
would've had him in 10th. His conditioning was about the same as the Arnold. I
would like to see him come in a little drier.
14th - Ernie Taylor: His overall package was pretty good and he was in good
shape - but I still feel he needs to make some significant improvements if he
is to hang with the top guys.
Ernie is a great guy - but whether there is anything in the triceps or not -
they are still stupid looking - and throw his entire physique off balance.
leave them alone - and work on the rest of the physique - make those
improvements, and I think he could move up.
15th - Nasser El Sonbaty: This is the first show since '97 that I didn't work
with Nasser. From the front, he was actually in pretty good shape and looked
good. He was big, dry and full. Where the problem lies, is within his delts -
rear delts to be specific. It's destroying his physique and the judges are
crucifying him for it. In actuality, what's happened is capsulations in the
rear delts - whether it be calcium deposits, or something else - there's only
one way to fix it - having it fixed surgically - if he wants to get back in
hunt - please get this fixed!!!!!!!! Nasser is a great guy and a superb
- one of the very first guys I ever started working with and when he comes in
the right way - a huge threat to anyone.
16th - Darrem Charles: First of all - me and Kim want to give out are
sympathies to Darrem and his family for there terrible loss - for those of you
who don't know - his mother was murdered in front of her home two weeks before
the show. We also give Darrem great praise for his strength and courage to
continue on with the show and for his performance. He looked good - he just
needs to add muscle to move up. 15 added pounds of sheer muscle to his
and his comparisons will include Chris Cormier and Kevin Levrone. He's always
lean - but I'd like to see him come in drier - so that his physique shows that
crisp finished look.
17th - King Kamali: One of my athletes. We struggled the entire weekend trying
to keep him full and the final outcome was that he was flat on stage. I was
happy with his overall conditioning and he had taken 2 inches off his waist
it was nice and flat. Unfortunately, so was everything else. We should be able
to correct these problems for the GNC pro in 3 weeks and he will move up
dramatically. Unfortunately, because he was out of the top 15 after the
rounds, his posing routine wasn't judged and I think this definitely would've
pulled him up higher - at least several spots. It was one of the best routines
he had ever done and I felt one of the best 3 of the night.
18th - Bob Cicherillo: This was Bob's first Olympia and his best conditioning
and overall package since he turned pro. He added much size and thickness
throughout his upper body, however, he still needs more thickness to give the
look of added depth in his side shots. Most of the judges told me this is what
hurt him. Also, in this day and age, over half of the guys on stage had
striated glutes and this is Bob's one trouble area, however, they were tighter
at this show than ever, and I feel they will continue to improve.
19th - George Farah: Well, he wasn't last place like everyone said! I said the
entire time he would end up 15th - 20th - and he did. I feel he could've
potentially been 2-3 spots higher, however, he's a little guy and the little
guys usually don't fair too well at the Olympia, unless you are a freak like
Lee Priest. He conditioning was right on the money - he was full and he hung
pose for pose with the best in the world - I would like to see a little more
fullness in the hamstring - and with time - more size.
20th - Francisco "Paco" Bautista: Only one thing to say, "Got Milk"?? Freaky,
freaky conditioning - but the worst gyno I had ever seen on an Olympia stage.
21st - Claude Groulx: A little off from some of his previous appearances -
needs to be bigger and harder for an Olympia stage.
22nd - Tommi Thorvildsen: Still has the hard glutes - the back flip in the
routine is cool - but he's just a little too blocky to get the good
comparisons. He's still young - so give him time.
23rd - Jaroslav Horvath: A little soft - hard to believe that only around 6 or
so months ago beat Kevin in a show! Just needs overall size and conditioning -
actually his structure isn't too bad.
24th - Gustavo Badell: Just needs more size, width. - mainly width to give a
better "V". Conditioning - average - just needs more of everything.
25th - Don Youngblood: Looked incredible at the Masters O, but it's just too
long to try to hold that peak for the Olympia. Plus - the Olympia stage is
another ballgame entirely in comparison to the Masters. His arms were down
tremendously - but due to an injury incurred during a recent photo shoot. But
all in all - Don has accomplished quite a bit this year and it is an honor
to be on the Olympia stage - making it there through hard work and
There are a lot of pros watching the show from their seats!