|2011 Mr. Olympia Contest Report
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The 2011 Mr. Olympia contest was a much anticipated contest with many predictions going to both Jay Cutler and Phil Heath although with slightly more predicting Jay would win the big show. I myself predicted Jay Cutler would win in my 2011 Mr. Olympia Contest Preview but by Friday night after the prejudging many people started to change their minds and Phil Heath became the favourite. Now Phil Heath at the young age of 31 is the 13th man to be crowned Mr. Olympia and walk away with the Sandow trophy! Ronnie Coleman won for the first time in 1998 at age 34 and held on to the title for eight consecutive victories with his final win taking place at the 2005 Mr. Olympia Contest. A question on everyone's mind right now is whether or not this is the start of the Phil Heath era and given his young age, it is quite possible we will see many more wins for the young and still hungry Phil Heath. I now present you with my 2011 Mr. Olympia contest report...
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2011 Mr. Olympia Contest - RESULTS!
WINNER: PHIL HEATH
2. Jay Cutler *
3. Kai Greene
4. Victor Martinez
5. Dennis Wolf *
6. Dexter Jackson *
7. Toney Freeman
8. Brandon Curry
9. Ronny Rockel
10. Hidetada Yamagishi 山岸秀匡
*Note: Top six qualify for 2012 Mr. Olympia contest.
Now I will make detailed comments below for each bodybuilder:
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1st: Phil Heath
As mentioned above, in my 2011 Mr. Olympia Contest Preview, I predicted that Jay Cutler would win the big show and take home his fifth Sandow trophy and the title of Mr. Olympia once again. However, during the prejudging it became clear that Jay was slightly off from the form he presented in 2009 and 2010 and also appeared to have an injury on his left biceps. Phil Heath on the other hand, was injury free and even more impressive still - he was bigger and even more conditioned than he was in 2010. How on earth he has continued to improve given the level he was already at is beyond me. Yet Phil still does it, year after year, improving and remaining injury free and with a good [and humble] head on his shoulders. It seems that the best person to predict Phil's success is himself. He is totally realistic despite being at the top of his game. He is well-spoken and articulate and an objective observer of himself. He came into this contest bigger, fuller, and more conditioned than he did last year and with a waist that looked smaller than I had seen it in some time. Phil takes a lot of criticism for being narrow relative to some of his competition - most notably Jay Cutler - but has brought up this weak point by increasing his overall upper body muscularity to the point where he can stand next to just about anyone on stage while still looking wide. As mentioned in the introduction, Phil Heath is just 31 years old right now and this could full well be the start of a new era in bodybuilding where we see Phil Heath hold on to the title for many years to come.
2nd: Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler, who recently turned 38, looked good at this contest and has been a consistent competitor for many years. Unfortunately he did not look as good as he did in 2009 or even 2010 where he regressed a little from this 2009 performance. It seemed that he regressed about the same as he did from 2009-2010 as he did from 2010 to this contest. His left biceps also appeared to be injured in some way and many considered this bruising to be somewhat suspicious and accusations of Jay Cutler using synthol had circulated although his trainer Hany Rambod explained in an interview with Flex Online that Jay maintained a biceps injury during a photoshoot with MuscleTech when he was picking up 120 pound dumbbells which are relatively light for Jay Cutler. Jay has been a professional bodybuilder for 15 years now and an injury of some kind was bound to strike him eventually as the human body - even that of a freak like Jay Cutler - can only sustain so much wear and tear before something breaks down. Whether or not Jay can recover from this injury is yet to be seen although the injury did not look particularly bad and I think the main problem was the bruising. Had the bruising not been present I think this injury is one which was not otherwise significantly noticeable. If Jay can repeat his 2009 performance next year, he could potentially take the title away from Phil Heath and win again as I do not think Phil Heath is quite at the level yet that Jay displayed in 2009. Having said that, whether or not Jay can be at that level is something that I cannot know for certain as only Jay is aware of how significant his injury is and whether or not it will hinder him from heavy training in the future. I think if Jay takes some time off after the Olympia before he resumes training that he can recover, but only time will tell. Jay should not be unhappy as he earned $100,000 in prize money as well as $100,000 in matched earnings from MuscleTech and is still one of the most popular and well regarded bodybuilders in the industry.
3rd: Kai Greene
Kai Greene redeemed himself at this contest by placing 3rd after a disappointing 7th place finish last year. I think Kai really needs to understand that he does not need more mass to stand next to any other bodybuilder on stage, including Jay Cutler or any of the other mass monsters. He absolutely has enough size and his only focus at this point should be to refine his conditioning to a degree that allows him to present the muscle mass that he has spent years building. I think Kai tries to chase size thinking he needs to be bigger when he only needs to be at his best in terms of conditioning to have a decent chance at the title. Some would argue that Kai deserved to be 2nd place at this show and had Phil Heath come in a bit off and Kai been a bit better conditioned, we could have saw Kai take home his first Sandow trophy and title as Mr. Olympia. Without question, Kai has Mr. Olympia potential. At this stage in the game for Kai it is really not a matter of size - although more size rarely ever hurts in bodybuilding - but a matter of refinement and conditioning. If Kai can get his mind off the scale and focus exclusively on the mirror and repeat or improve upon his best ever conditioning, we may full well see a new Mr. Olympia next year. Kai is absolutely still in the mix to be a future titleholder and proved it at this contest.
4th: Victor Martinez
Since around 2008 I wondered if Victor Martinez still had the drive he once did in the world of competitive bodybuilding. He had dealt with family tragedy and was busy with his personal business and financial life and seemed to have too much on the go to focus on the demands of bodybuilding competition. I felt that Victor Martinez was a genetic freak who could most likely always been in the top 10, potentially even until age 45 or beyond, but I questioned whether or not we would see Victor finish in the top five or higher ever again. Well, Victor redeemed himself in my eyes and the eyes of many others and proved that at age 38 he is still a force and someone who has the potential to be a future Mr. Olympia. Victor appeared to have a healthy appearance to his physique [injury-free] and looked almost as good as ever. Although it would require a combination of the three men who beat Victor coming in a little off and Victor being at his best AND fair judging, but Victor could full well win this show in the future. The competition is so close these days that it seems as if any of the top 4-6 could potentially be a champion if the right set of circumstances arise. Victor looked fantastic and I wish him the best of luck in the future.
5th: Dennis Wolf
Many people thought Dennis Wolf was done after the 2009 Mr. Olympia where he placed outside of the top 10 and immediately people began writing him off after one single poor showing. Then in 2010, Dennis redeemed himself at the Olympia by placing in the top five once again and he followed it up by looking great in the 2011 shows including his 2nd place finish after Branch Warren at the 2011 Arnold Classic. Dennis looked great at this contest and the only area that I think he would require improvement would be his back, particularly his lower back. With that said, it's hard to say whether or not Dennis will ever be able to develop the back thickness of someone like Kai Greene for instance, how is shorter than Dennis and has rather incredible genetics in that area. Dennis can go head to head with virtually any of the top bodybuilders in the world in the front poses and perhaps that is what he should try to emphasize when posing next to other competitors. Bodybuilding is greatly about showing one's strengths and Dennis definitely has them.
6th: Dexter Jackson
Dexter Jackson will be 42 years old in November of this year and is still looking very good. However, I would say that Dexter is not improving at this stage in the game as it is difficult for any 40+ year old bodybuilder to improve, especially those with as much time in as Dexter has. Dexter should be able to maintain a look close to his best and I would say a good goal for him would be to do exactly that and not injure himself or do anything which would cause his physique to regress. If he can maintain his current look he should be able to be in the top six in the world for a while yet. Only time will tell but I don't think Dexter is significantly worse than he has looked before and even as of 2008 he became the second man in history to win both the Arnold Classic and the Mr. Olympia in the same year [the other was Ronnie Coleman who is arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time]. so Dexter is not very far removed from his best showings and I think can still be strongly competitive for some time yet. With bodybuilders like Phil Heath and others who are 10 years younger than Dexter and still improving, I don't think Dexter will be as competitive as he once was, but he can still be one of the best in the world and proved to be exactly that at the contest today.
7th: Toney Freeman
Toney Freeman is 45 years old and still proving to be one of the best in the world again and again. 7th place is roughly where I think Toney objective stands if everyone in the at the contest shows up at their best. Perhaps Ronny Rockel or Hidetada Yamagishi could place higher than him so it may be safe to say that Toney is around a top 7-10 competitor evn if everyone is at their best which is incredible considering his age and how frequently he competes. If one or more bodybuilders come in off, Toney could easily regain his position in the top five again as he achieved in 2008. Toney could possibly even win the entire contest but I believe that would rely on the combination of Toney coming in at his best as well as the ones who beat him showing up a little off. Just as with Dexter, it is difficult for Toney to improve at his age but he seems to have proven that he can be at his best or close to it time and time again and that is still good enough for him to be one of the best in the world. It would not surprise me if Toney came back next year and placed in the top five in the world. Toney should never be counted out because of those who beat him are even slightly off, Toney is good enough to place ahead of them which has to be some added pressure for them to come in at their best.
8th: Brandon Curry
Team BSN sponsored bodybuilder Brandon Curry is a bodybuilder who many felt had great potential and could potential go on to win a Mr. Olympia title at some point in his career. Whether or not Brandon shares that desire I am not sure, but one thing is for certain - Brandon proved that he could stand on stage with the best in the world and look great alongside them. Brandon was huge and in condition and had a crisp look which propelled him into the top 10 at this contest and Brandon is relatively young and will most likely only improve from here. How far Brandon can take bodybuilding will depend on a number of things but I can't see him getting any worse any time soon so I expect that he will prove to everyone to be even better next year and in the years to come.
9th: Ronny Rockel
Ronny Rockel is someone who I thought would place a little higher than he did but he came in a little off this year and was relegated to 9th place. That is still hardly a poor performance by Ronny and he still proved once again to be one of the best bodybuilders in the world. Also, I am questioning how much of Ronny's reduced performance was based on conditioning vs. tan/oil. It seems to me that he could have used slightly more oil and perhaps he would have displayed his conditioning better or perhaps I am wrong about that and the oil would have merely made him look more smooth. In any case, it was truly a matter of small details for Ronny and I think he can move up once again in the placings given that he is injury free and still massive.
10th: Hidetada Yamagishi 山岸秀匡
Hidetada Yamagishi has been a rather consistent bodybuilder for quite some time. He is sponsored by Gaspari Nutrition and no doubt he is very popular in Japan as he is the only Japanese bodybuilder in the world competing in the Mr. Olympia contest at the present time - and he is doing it year after year. Consistent is the term I would use to describe Hidetada as he is not necessarily posting tremendous improvements from one year to the next but he is showing up consistently in shape and maintaining his best look from one show to the next. This keeps him perpetually in the top 10 and as asset for Gaspari Nutrition both abroad and in the United States. I felt that Hidetada looked fantastic this year as he displayed great hardness and density and was in all around great shape. The competition was very steep which put him in 10th place but he can definitely move up the ladder as he has in the past.
NP: Ben White
Ben looked good at this contest. It was not the best Ben that I had ever seen, yet not the worst either for that matter. I think his legs looked a bit better than I have seen them in the past and overall this was not a disappointing look for him. I think Ben should just focus on being consistent with his conditioning and if he does so he should have no problem qualifying for the Olympia again in the future. I think he has the potential to be a top 12 bodybuilder or so if he nails it.
NP: Craig Richardson
Craig Richardson looked good at the Olympia although perhaps dropped slightly in quality from his win at the 2011 Toronto Pro which took place in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. The Mr. Olympia is just a very high level of competition and for Craig to compete in the open class weighing around 212 pounds makes it difficult for him to measure up against larger bodybuilders who outweigh him by as much as 50 pounds or more. It's hard to say what the best advice for Craig would be as I felt he looked very good but I would think that simply maintaining his best conditioning from one show to the next would give him the best chance of climbing up the ladder in the rankings in the biggest and most challenging bodybuilding contest in the world.
NP: Edward Nunn
Edward Nunn is a great bodybuilder who has the potential to win a wide variety of pro shows but may get slightly lost in the mix at the Mr. Olympia contest where we see 5-10 bodybuilders show up who do not compete in the other shows which Ed has the potential to win. Ed has a very small waist and wide shoulders. I think he looked a little better at the 2011 Phoenix Pro show where he placed third after Troy Alves and Hidetada Yamagishi but the main reason why he did not place in the top 10 at this contest is due to the depth of competition. It's hard for me to pick a specific area that Ed should improve on but I think that despite his small waist his frame is broad enough to carry more mass in the lats which I think would improve the appearance of his front double biceps pose. Perhaps this could even be improved by simply pumping up that area prior to walking out on stage as his lats most likely have the ability to inflate significantly when pumped up. It's not even that Ed's back is small but rather that his frame appears to be one that can carry considerably more mass. Ed is truly a great bodybuilder and in certain ways is reminiscent of a classic bodybuilder structure with his X frame. I think we may see Ed break the top 10 at the Olympia at some point in the future.
NP: Evgeny Mishin
I felt that this was a great showing for Evgeny Mishin from Russia who showed up massive and ripped for this contest. Evgeny is another big and tall bodybuilder with a huge frame who will continually be pressured to come in bigger and bigger to display the thickness that we see for some of the shorter bodybuilders who can be a lot lighter and still have the same thickness. I thought that Evgeny did what he needed to at this contest and looked very good but because this is the best bodybuilding contest in the world there is a depth of competition that makes it difficult to achieve a high placing. I can't offer any specific course of action for Evgeny who I think is doing well on his own. I think general improvements will see him placing higher in contests and that he is doing fine for now. I expect to see Evgeny on the Olympia stage in the future.
NP: Frank McGrath
I was happy to see Frank McGrath compete in his first Mr. Olympia contest because many of his fans have felt that he has had the potential to be on the Mr. Olympia stage for quite some time. Frank did well in this contest for a first showing up was not quite as conditioned as he was for his 4th place finish at the Toronto Pro show or his 3rd place finish at the Tampa Bay Pro show. Frank's slightly decreased conditioning was noted in his physique and as subtle as it may have been, it was enough to prevent him from placing higher in the best bodybuilding contest in the world. Had he showed up as he did in Toronto I think that he could have made a better impression but no doubt Frank is a little tired after competing so much this year and in such proximity to his other contests. I would say that if Frank can reproduce his conditioning from earlier in the year that he should be able to qualify for the 2012 Mr. Olympia contest and continue to impress. It's unfortunate that his worst showing of the year happened to be at the most important contest he had but that is how it goes some times.
NP: Johnnie O. Jackson
Johnnie O. Jackson looked good at this contest which was neither his best nor worst showing. Johnnie is 40 and will be turning 41 in January so I don't think he will be making many improvements this late in the game as someone who has been a professional bodybuilder for ten years now. I think that Johnnie can still be a viable pro and possibly sneak into the top 10 at the Olympia in a future showing if he can reclaim his best ever form or something close to it. He is incredibly strong and this is shown in the density of his physique but is shown even more when he brings his best conditioning to the table. I think it's quite possible that we will see Johnnie qualify for the Olympia for a little while yet so we will have to wait and see.
NP: Marc Lavoie
Marc Lavoie looked very good at this contest and his back in particular was full, thick, and round. I think that Marc is a good bodybuilder who has the potential to make the Olympia stage again but may get lost in the mix given the number of mass monsters who compete at the contest. Marc looks very good and will no doubt make general improvements and look better and better as time goes on and his muscles become more mature, as is the case for most bodybuilders. As for the Mr. Olympia contest, it is a very steep field and it will take some time for Marc to be in the mix but he will no doubt get better as time passes. Marc has a great back and that matters a lot for the Mr. Olympia contest if you look at historical trends.
NP: Marcus Haley
Marcus Haley recently placed 4th at the Phoenix Pro show where he looked better than ever in that he was both bigger and better conditioned than I had ever seen him - a welcome and somewhat rare combination for an improvement for a bodybuilder. Marcus brought a similar package to the Olympia but because it is such a competitive contest, he got lost in the mix somewhat. I think Marcus is still a top 12 competitor and may well surprise us by placing even higher at a future Olympia. It looks to me that Marcus is at or beyond his career best as of 2011 so I don't think he will be going anywhere at any time soon.
NP: Marius Dohne
Marius Dohne has a great frame for bodybuilding in my opinion as he looks big and wide and still maintains a small waist. He also has big legs and as a result projects a great X frame which is a classical look in the bodybuilding world. Perhaps under a different set of judging standards Marius would place higher but there is a lot of pressure - especially for taller bodybuilders - to continue to put on more and more size even when they are already huge and outweigh most or all of the shorter bodybuilders at the contest. With that said, Marius will just have to continue to add size and make improvements gradually [hopefully without increasing his waist size] in order to see to it that his placings in contests improve. I also suspect that once Marius presents the package the judges are looking for at the Olympia that he will maintain a high rank for a long time. He definitely has the frame to support both a lot of mass and a great shape.
NP: Michael Kefalianos
Michael Kefalianos is a bodybuilder who consistently shows up ripped in no small part thanks to his very thin skin which allows him to display a rock hard conditioning which has been seen before in the physiques of some of the best bodybuilders in the world such as Rich Gaspari and Dorian Yates. Michael's strength is obviously his conditioning and I feel that even though he may be tempted to add more size, that he is doing the right thing to come in to contests with the conditioning he has. I don't think that coming in with more size with more smoothness to go with it would be a good idea for Michael. The Mr. Olympia is a very competitive contest which unfortunately saw Michael relegated outside of the top 10 but I still think he brought the correct physique to the stage by displaying the conditioning we all know that he is capable of and that he has shown before. I am quite confident that at 41 years old that this will not be the last Olympia Michael competes in.
NP: Robert Burneika
Robert is a huge and thick bodybuilder and definitely has enough size to be competitive with just about anyone so I don't think he needs to add much more at this point in his career. Robert is similar to Kai Greene in the sense that he has the mentality that bigger is better in bodybuilding which is generally the case but the point is not necessary for those who are already as huge as the two of them. Robert just needs to focus on refinement of his conditioning and he will do very well. I could see Robert moving way up the ranks given his size as long as he nails his conditioning.
NP: Shawn Rhoden
Shawn Rhoden is a very good bodybuilder and he qualified for the 2011 Mr. Olympia contest at the 2011 Europa Supershow where he placed 3rd behind Toney Freeman and Edward Nunn. I think Shawn has great proportions and symmetry and as we all know, structure is still important in the world of competitive bodybuilding. With that said, Shawn will need to add thickness in proportion to the thickness he already has [in other words, maintaining his current lines] while improving his conditioning in order to go up in the ranks at the greatest bodybuilding contest in the world. I don't see any reason why Shawn shouldn't be able to do that so time will tell how things work out for him.
NP: Troy Alves
Troy Alves had a very good year and has very recently won two professional bodybuilding contests - those being the 2011 Battle of Champions and the 2011 Phoenix Pro. I felt that Troy did not look quite as good as he did at his pro wins and that is understandable given how much he has competed this year. Had he showed up looking as he did in Phoenix I think he could have possibly knocked Hidetada Yamagishi out of the top 10. Troy will 45 at the end of this month [September 2011] and he is hardly looking worse as time passes. Although Troy only weighs in the range of around 212-215 pounds, he looks incredible. As said, Troy is still top 10 material and can most likely do that on the condition that he is not burnt out as a result of competing too much which is what possibly happened this year. I look forward to seeing Troy compete in the future if that is what he plans to do.
Overall, this was high quality Mr. Olympia contest, as the contest normally is. Phil Heath was predicted by many to be a top two competitor at this contest, but far fewer people expected him to win the whole show. Since Phil is only 31 years old it is quite possible that he can hold onto this title for quite a long time. Only time will tell but I can imagine Phil spending his thirties as a perpetual world bodybuilding champion. With paychecks totaling $400,000, I think Phil is one happy camper at this point. I wish Phil and the rest of the bodybuilders at this contest the best of luck and I think he will do well as time passes. As for Jay Cutler, I believe he still has the potential to come back and win again assuming that he can reproduce his winning form at the 2009 Mr. Olympia contest. Jay is 38 and a lot of bodybuilders peak in their late thirties although Jay has been a professional since 1996 when he was only 23 years old so whether or not Jay's body can continue to take the extremes of competitive bodybuilding is a question in my mind. I also think that Jay can still make a good living off bodybuilding even if he doesn't compete again. If Jay is having any doubts about winning the Mr. Olympia title again, I think it might be a good idea for him to compete at the 2012 Arnold Classic and win that and retire on top. It is always a good thing when a bodybuilder understands when to throw in the towel so that his reputation as one of the best can stick around for some time after retirement. As for the rest of the bodybuilders in this contest, most of them looked very good and I expect to see the majority of them back on the Olympia stage at some time in the future.
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