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Major Flaws of the 2004 Mr. Olympia Challenge Round


BodybuildingPro.com Bodybuilding Contest Main Pages Mr. Olympia 2004 Updates Major Flaws of the 2004 Mr. Olympia Challenge Round

2004 Mr. Olympia Finals & Prejudging (DVD) - KING RONNIE crowned by the Governator! Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walked onto the Olympia stage holding the Sandow trophy and presented it to Ronnie Coleman for tying his record. Both men stand only one victory away from all-time leader Lee Haney. BUY IT NOW Mr Olympia


Go to: MAJOR FLAWS OF THE 2004 MR. OLYMPIA CHALLENGE ROUND

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MAJOR FLAWS OF THE 2004 MR. OLYMPIA CHALLENGE ROUND
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I would like to use this article to finally address some of the flaws with the addition of the challenge round at the 2004 Mr. Olympia Contest. Don't get me wrong, the challenge round was probably the most entertaining addition to the Mr. Olympia contest in years, but entertainment doesn't mean that the round was a good one in principle. I feel that some of the aspects of the round should be addressed and why the round was probably a bad idea.

1. First off, what the hell is the IFBB doing putting a round like this in the biggest bodybuilding contest on earth out of nowhere anyway? Would football powers that be decide to change the rules of the game at the superbowl? Of course not...major changes would be tested in the minors first. If they are successful there - great! Then they can move on to the next level and bring them into the big leagues. Translated, this means that it would have been more appropriate (in my humble opinion) to test out the challenge round in a smaller event, such as a grand prix (perhaps any of the grand prixs of 2004), and if successful, incorporate the round into the 2005 Mr. Olympia contest. What would have happened if the challenge round turned into a disaster? Imagine, Ronnie Coleman losing his Mr. Olympia title because of something brought upon by the challenge round which wasn't exactly fair? That would have really stirred things up (and caused more unneeded controversy for the IFBB). Many fans say that the IFBB is corrupt, but I disagree. Corruption in sport is relative, and the IFBB is no worse than any professional sport. My hope is that they can set an example of honesty and integrity which I feel will help move bodybuilding into the mainstream.

2. Ronnie Coleman dominates his competition as far as I'm concerned, with Jay Cutler a sure but distant second. However, I would have to say that overall, Jay is better in terms of his compulsory poses. I would also have to say that sheerly in terms of compulsory poses, there are other olympia competitors who beat Ronnie as well - what I mean is that Jay doesn't have any glaring weak point (i.e., abs and thigh), although that is debatable (just because Jay has better abs doesn't necessarily mean the pose is his - although most would say it is). But when you see Ronnie on the stage...despite not necessarily being #1 strictly in terms of compulsories, he still dominates. Where Jay Cutler has no weak compulsory pose, Ronnie's abs and thigh pose is beaten (in my opinion) by Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, Gustavo Badell, and some others who did not make the top six. Does Ronnie beat Jay overall? In my opinion, yes, and I'm sure many could agree. Also in my opinion (and also, many can probably agree), that if the challenge round in 2004 had been judged fairly, Jay could have just as easily walked away with the Mr. Olympia title as Ronnie did, which is why this round is not a safe one. Simply put, Jay holds his own better than Ronnie does against the competition SHEERLY in terms of compulsories. Other than that, Ronnie still has him beat, but moreso on other strengths. Bear in mind that some people would say Ronnie wins even in the abs and thigh (despite his flawed midsection) due to his huge shredded quads and wide hanging lats. To me, I like a more classical presentation of that pose - the closer you can be to Frank Zane in that pose - the better. This is one instance where I agree with the ironagers. Ronnie needs to start doing that pose like Zane does and put his hands on his neck and not behind his head. His arms would look fuller for one, and his taper would improve.

3. Riddle me this: Dexter Jackson beats out Markus Ruhl in the abs and thigh, but loses to Ronnie? By what standard? Ronnie has huge thighs and lats, so you might say Ronnie beat Dexter because of that. But doesn't Markus also have hugh thighs and lats? On top of that, I would say Markus has superior ab and serratus development than Ronnie does (this is more of a genetic thing I acknowledge). In terms of judging, as Ronnie said, there are apples and oranges. Dexter is an apple. Ronnie and Markus are both oranges. If orange wins once, orange should win all the time in the same show. Dexter losing to Ronnie in the abs and thigh challenge reminds me of the 2003 Arnold Classic where the placings went (1) Jay Cutler, (2) Chris Cormier, (3) Markus Ruhl, (4) Dexter Jackson, or in other words (1) huge, (2) aesthetic, (3) huge, (4) aesthetic. This is where the judges lose a lot of credibility in my opinion. You can pick apples or oranges, but you can't pick both in the same damn contest! These are the kinds of common sense aspects of poor judging that Shawn Ray was fond of pointing out. When something is wrong with the judging but is subtle, that's one thing. One something is obviously blatantly flawed, that is just laughable and makes the IFBB look unprofessional and untrustworthy. Not the type of impression they should be trying to give.

4. Regarding the side chest pose challenges between Gunter Schlierkamp and Gustavo Badell. Gustavo hit this pose wrong, while Gunter hit it correctly. Gustavo should have been awarded an automatic loss for that. Period. If the IFBB RULEBOOK (for crying out loud) specifically indicates how to hit a pose - you follow the book! And if a competitor doesn't hit the pose according to the book, he should automatically lose by default. If the rulebook needs to be updated, that is a completely separate issue. I don't make the rules, and neither do the judges. The appropriate thing to do is follow the rules. If the rules don't make sense, then by all means change them later, but don't go changing them to suit what you consider to be better rules.

5. What happens in case of a tie for 1st place? Did the IFBB have a backup plan in place?

6. Five seconds is not enough time for an accurate judging assessment. I would suggest increasing it to 10.

Now let's get into the challenge round itself and look at exactly what challenges took place and who won which challenge.

Taken from the 2004 Mr. Olympia DVD Review Page, the following challenges took place:

Challenge Round
Competitor Challenger Pose Winner
Gunter Schlierkamp Markus Ruhl Rear Double Biceps Markus Ruhl
Gustavo Badell Side Chest Gustavo Badell
Dexter Jackson Front Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Ronnie Coleman
Markus Ruhl Gunter Schlierkamp Rear Double Biceps Markus Ruhl
Gustavo Badell Most Muscular Markus Ruhl
Dexter Jackson Front Lat Spread Markus Ruhl
Jay Cutler Side Chest Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Most Muscular Ronnie Coleman
Gustavo Badell Gunter Schlierkamp Side Chest Gustavo Badell
Markus Ruhl Side Triceps Gustavo Badell
Dexter Jackson Side Triceps Gustavo Badell
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Ronnie Coleman
Dexter Jackson Gunter Schlierkamp Front Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Markus Ruhl Abs & Thigh Dexter Jackson
Gustavo Badell Most Muscular Gustavo Badell
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Ronnie Coleman
Jay Cutler Gunter Schlierkamp Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Markus Ruhl Side Chest Jay Cutler
Gustavo Badell Side Triceps Jay Cutler
Dexter Jackson Side Triceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Gunter Schlierkamp Front Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman
Markus Ruhl Most Muscular Ronnie Coleman
Gustavo Badell Rear Double Biceps Ronnie Coleman
Dexter Jackson Rear Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman
Jay Cutler Rear Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman


ORIGINAL POINTS




Actual Points and Placings
Competitor Starting Points Final Points Final Placing
Gunter Schlierkamp 1 1 6th
Markus Ruhl 2 10 5th
Gustavo Badell 3 13 3rd
Dexter Jackson 4 12 4th
Jay Cutler 5 21 2nd
Ronnie Coleman 6 24 1st


Now let's look at how I would have scored it if I were a judge (my reasoning will be below). I have bolded any items which have changed:

Challenge Round
Competitor Challenger Pose Winner
Gunter Schlierkamp Markus Ruhl Rear Double Biceps Markus Ruhl
Gustavo Badell Side Chest Gunter Schlierkamp
Dexter Jackson Front Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Ronnie Coleman
Markus Ruhl Gunter Schlierkamp Rear Double Biceps Markus Ruhl
Gustavo Badell Most Muscular Markus Ruhl
Dexter Jackson Front Lat Spread Markus Ruhl
Jay Cutler Side Chest Markus Ruhl
Ronnie Coleman Most Muscular Ronnie Coleman
Gustavo Badell Gunter Schlierkamp Side Chest Gunter Schlierkamp
Markus Ruhl Side Triceps Gustavo Badell
Dexter Jackson Side Triceps Gustavo Badell
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Gustavo Badell
Dexter Jackson Gunter Schlierkamp Front Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Markus Ruhl Abs & Thigh Dexter Jackson
Gustavo Badell Most Muscular Gustavo Badell
Jay Cutler Rear Double Biceps Dexter Jackson
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Dexter Jackson
Jay Cutler Gunter Schlierkamp Rear Double Biceps Jay Cutler
Markus Ruhl Side Chest Markus Ruhl
Gustavo Badell Side Triceps Jay Cutler
Dexter Jackson Side Triceps Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Abs & Thigh Jay Cutler
Ronnie Coleman Gunter Schlierkamp Front Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman
Markus Ruhl Most Muscular Ronnie Coleman
Gustavo Badell Rear Double Biceps Ronnie Coleman
Dexter Jackson Rear Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman
Jay Cutler Rear Lat Spread Ronnie Coleman


POINTS AS I SAW IT


New Points and Placings
Competitor Starting Points Final Points Final Placing
Gunter Schlierkamp 1 3 6th
Markus Ruhl 2 12 5th
Gustavo Badell 4 13 4th
Dexter Jackson 4 14 3rd
Jay Cutler 5 19 2nd
Ronnie Coleman 6 20 1st


Now if you add up the points from the way I see it above with my opinions in bold, they don't add up to the table you see above. But there is an obvious reason for this: Gustavo beat Gunter in the side chest shot, and Jay also beat Markus in the same pose. Gustavo and Jay were both initially offered the challenges by Gunter and Markus respectively. When it came to be their turn to do the challenges, naturally Gustavo and Jay challenged Gunter and Markus to the pose which they beat them once in already - the side chest. After all, why would they have reason to believe they wouldn't win a second time around? So my new point system is based on an initial loss in the poses (e.g., Gustavo losing to Gunter in the side chest, as well as Jay doing the same), but works under the assumption that said competitor would have posed his winning opponent to another pose (not the one of the initial loss, e.g., side chest) and winning in that pose.

To me, this is judged quite fairly. I'm sure many can agree. And what do you know? The top six REMAINS the top six.

To add to this issue - Dexter should consider filing a formal complaint to the IFBB - here is why: Dexter was awarded 12 points at the end, while Gustavo received 13. However, Gustavo should NOT have won the original side chest challenge to Gunter since Gunter did this pose properly according to the rule book while Gustavo did not. Had Gustavo lost the original challenge, he would have later challenged Gunter to another pose (such as abs and thighs), likely beaten Gunter in that pose, but in the end, received 11 points in total to keep this fourth place prior to the challenge round.

I don't see how the judges are able to award a contender a victory if the pose is performed improperly as per the IFBB judging rulebook.

Don't get me wrong - both Dexter and Gustavo looked great. In fact, I kind of like Gustavo's structure better. So I'm not losing any sleep over Dexter losing a spot - but Dexter probably did. If I were him, I would bring this up with the IFBB.

Now to turn this article into more of a positive one, I'll go over what I thought was good about the challenge round:

  • The top six were given initial points in terms of their placings - Gunter (who was 6th) was awarded only one (1) initial point where Ronnie (who was 1st) was awarded six (6) initial points. This meant that each competitor had a fair chance to maintain their placing, as opposed to starting every competitor off with 0. Under that system, each competitor has less chance to preserve their placings (at least the top three).


  • The competitors go up in order from 6th place to 1st place. This gives the top competitors a chance to formulate a strategy based on what the other challenges were, and again gives them a fair chance to maintain their placing.


  • The round was extremely entertaining and HHH did a great job as the commentator. If ticket sales and more interest in the sport of bodybuilding is what the IFBB wanted, they got it.


OK, that's enough yapping out of me. I think I got the point across. My three beefs: (1) it isn't appropriate to put a round like this in the #1 show on earth out of nowhere, (2) if you're going to judge, follow the rulebook, and (3) there are apples and there are oranges in bodybuilding. Pick one or the other, but don't pick both in the same show. That's enough yapping out me, if you wish to contact me about this to discuss, my e-mail address is below or you can make a post in the
FORUMS.

~~The End~~

PS - Big Ron, if you're reading this, you have but one improvable flaw in my book, and that's stomach control. Stop hopping from side to side around the stage with your arms in the air. It's almost like you're trying to say "I'm so great that I can do this and still win" and that is the current reality, but why not do a step better than that and never expose your weak point? Don't give the haters a chance to go through the DVDs frame by frame and set up screen captures of you in that kind of situation. Now what happens backstage - that's none of their business (if they know anything, they would be aware that judging doesn't take place backstage).

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2004 Mr. Olympia Finals & Prejudging (DVD)

Retail Price: $49.95
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2004 Mr. Olympia Finals & Prejudging (DVD)

DVD Release Date: February 18, 2004
Format:
DVD NTSC
Encoding: 0 (Worldwide - will play on any DVD player)
Number of Discs: 2
Running time:
180 minutes
Studio: Magna Media International

New Double-DVD Set! Mr. Olympia Prejudging and Finals on two DVD discs - 3 hours of muscle and all the excitement of the Olympia

2004 Mr. Olympia

KING RONNIE crowned by the Governator! Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walked onto the Olympia stage holding the Sandow trophy and presented it to Ronnie Coleman for tying his record. Both men stand only one victory away from all-time leader Lee Haney. See the fantastic new "Challenge Round" introduced by Sylvester Stallone and hosted by WWE star Triple H where each of the top six Olympia finalists called each other out for mano-a-mano poses to determine the final placings. Final results: Ronnie Coleman (1), Jay Cutler (2), Gustavo Badell (3), Dexter Jackson (4), Markus Ruhl (5), Gunter Schlierkamp (6), Chris Cormier (7), Dennis James (8), Victor Martinez (9), Darrem Charles (10), Pavol Jablonicky (11), Kris Dim (12), Ahmad Haidar (13), Johnnie Jackson (14), Troy Alves (15), Craig Richardson (16), Mustafa Mohammed (17), Richard Jones (18), Claude Groulx (19).

2004 Mr. Olympia PREJUDGING

PREJUDGING: See it all, just as the live audience did at Mandalay Bay . The eight compulsory poses by all 19 Mr. Olympia competitors, the symmetry round, and the exciting muscularity round compulsory poses to determine the placings going into the evening finals. A must-see for every true bodybuilding fan, you can actually judge at home with the clarity and richness of these incredible images, digitally recorded for high-definition broadcast standards and then edited into VHS or DVD for standard televisions.





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