|Jay Cutler - In Search of the Sandow
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JAY CUTLER - IN SEARCH OF THE SANDOW!
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IFBB pro and Olympia hopefully Jay Cutler has been trying for quite a few years now to catch the coveted Sandow by winning the Mr. Olympia Contest. He came out of nowhere at the 2001 Mr. Olympia to place second after coming 15th place at the 1999 show and 8th place at the 2000 show. Many of the top critics in bodybuilding felt that he would be out of the top six in 2001, but there he was, beating Ronnie until the ladder part of the show, where Ronnie ended up catching up and winning overall. A lot of people - myself included - felt that it was Jay's show. Although Ronnie Coleman had his trademark density and hardness, Jay was more cut and separated. He totally destroyed Big Ron in the abs and quads pose and other than in the back shots, Jay basically won the show. Jay was the most shredded competitor on stage and wasn't lacking for size either.
This is where bodybuilding becomes political. I will be the first to tell you that I feel many of Ronnie's seven wins belonged to him, without question. Some would disagree with me on that, but that is how I see it. His close calls were 2000 and 2002 where it could be argued that Kevin Levrone won those shows, but you could probably equally debate that Ronnie deserved the wins as well. But to me, it would take a lot of tricky debating tactics to argue that Ronnie beat Jay in 2001.
After his ever so close call once again in 2002, Ronnie went to work and has since dominated at the 2003 and 2004 shows, where he easily outmuscled everyone on stage. It was amazing how huge he was, and he seems to continue to come in that size and shape without problems.
Going back to Jay Cutler for a second, as many of you know, Jay will be taking time off this year from the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, which he has won for the past three years in a row, to prepare for the Mr. Olympia contest. The question is - can he do it?
As I said, in my book, Jay Cutler won the 2001 Mr. Olympia. Had he entered in that same form at the 2002 Olympia, I think that it would be impossible for the judges to have given it to Ronnie Coleman. It happens quite a lot where the champ can be said to have deserved second, but in Jay's 2001 form, it wouldn't have even been close, and the judges would have made the sport of bodybuilding out to be a complete joke to give the title to Ronnie in such a case. The saying goes, you can't just beat the champ - you have to knock him out to win. In 2001, Jay Cutler beat the champ - but in 2002 at the same level of muscularity and conditioning, he would have knocked out the champ. Jay Cutler was also the best bodybuilder of 2002. His best showing of the year was better than the best showing from Ronnie Coleman at the Olympia - check out this picture for more evidence of that:
Compare that to this picture of Ronnie Coleman from the 2002 Mr. Olympia contest:
That may not be the best picture of Ronnie Coleman around, but I think it quite clearly proves the point I'm trying to make - that the physique Jay Cutler presented in 2002 was the #1 pro build of the year.
But now we have to take into consideration 2003 - Jay came in "ON" as usual - perhaps not Jay's best ever form, but no doubt he looked great. But the difference in size between him and Ronnie Coleman seemed to be night and day. Jay weighed in at 255 pounds with Ronnie at 287 - Ronnie also had shredded glutes and his stomach was better than it had been in years (if nothing else - his ability to control it was much improved). Then in 2004, something similar happened - Ronnie came in at 296 pounds and still shredded, he was a bit more water than in 2003, but still huge and cut. Jay was also big, at around 5'9 and 275 pounds, shredded as per his usual high standard, holding a bit of water moreso than his best showings, but still ripped and overall pretty dry - once again, Ronnie won this one, pretty clearly, with Jay a sure, but distant second.
What does this mean? It means that Jay Cutler has about 20 pounds of muscle to go to catch up to Ronnie. He is taking this year off and focussing on the Olympia, and IF Ronnie comes out of shape (kind of a big if), Jay Cutler will win. But if Ronnie comes in "ON" as he has in the past couple of years, Ronnie should win again because it would be very difficult for Jay to gain the required muscle in a year. It would be difficult for anyone to gain that much muscle over just the course of a year, especially a pro at Jay's level. Plus, we all know how politics come in to the picture - Many will want Ronnie to win his eighth straight Sandow and tie Lee Haney's record. Also, taking into account the attitude "You must KNOCK OUT the champ", what hope does Jay have?
A part of me does want Jay to win - even if he doesn't deserve to - just to make up for being robbed in 2001. But at the same time, two wrongs don't make a right. And bodybuilding already gets far too many complaints about crooked judging and politics to have something like that happen.
I should comment on Jay's drive - for one thing, Jay is one of the most consistent bodybuilders in the HISTORY of bodybuilding - since the beginning o this sport, few others have been as consistent as him for showing up in top form. Even Ronnie Coleman, who may have more pro wins, does not show up at his personal best as frequently as Jay Cutler does. With Jay, basically every show is top form, with MINIMAL possible things he could have done differently. Even when some said Jay was "OFF" (2004 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic), Jay still tried to come in at the weight and shape he did. It wasn't a big accident or anything - Jay wanted to show the judges that he could present a variety of looks by being peeled from head to toe with notably improved condition in his lower back and glutes (an area that many said was a weak point for Jay in terms of dryness). In any case - Jay did want to show up at that weight and in that condition, he just didn't realize it wasn't a look for him at the time, and with his huge frame, coming in bigger and more muscular is the look that will win him shows. Compare that to Ronnie Coleman who tried to replicate the condition he was in at the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, but ended up showing up as a smaller and more bloated version of himself. He didn't show up as he wanted to (whereas Jay showed up at the 2004 ASC as he wanted to, only then to realize it didn't quite work out for him).
How many other bodybuilders have had such a great record for consistency? Rich Gaspari, Shawn Ray, Darrem Charles and Dexter Jackson come to mind, off the top of my head, as well as a few others. But even IF Jay is at his best shape ever, realistically, could he beat Ronnie at his best shape? It seems unlikely, so unless Jay is rooting for Ronnie to show up off, I don't think he will win that Sandow. Jay is an awesome businessman as well - by missing out on the 2005 Arnold Classic, he will miss out on the top prize worth over $100,000. Very obviously, there are only two reasons why he might feel this is in his best interest - (1) to win the 2005 Mr. Olympia (which, as I said, seems unlikely if Ronnie is "ON") or (2) to take a MUCH deserved break. Without question, Jay is one of the peaking kings in the pro ranks today, and unlike Ronnie, he historically has competed two seasons during the year - both during the Spring and the Fall - this must be EXTREMELY tiring and yet he has done it for years. It's quite possible that at this point his body simply needs a break and he's taken that break and also hopes to snag the 2005 Mr. Olympia win while he's at it.
But what do you think? Can Jay do it? By the 2005 Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler will be only 32 years old and Ronnie Coleman, 41. Can Ronnie stay on top forever? Only time will tell...
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