|2008 New Zealand Grand Elite Pro Bodybuilding Contest Report
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REVIEW OF THE CONTEST
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1st - Dexter Jackson
Dexter Jackson came into this contest shredded once again. That said, there is really no contest where Dexter would ever show up off and even in the off-season, Dexter remains very lean. Even now pushing 40, Dexter consistently peaks for contests, and shows no physical deformities (known on the message boards as Palumboism). His size was still there and so was the freshness and cleanliness of his physique. His shoulders were so striated that they were reminiscent of Andreas Munzer's shoulders from back in the day and I have no doubt that Dexter has many good years left in him. Although he is not one to put on a great deal of size year after year, he definitely consistently nails his conditioning. That said, he is always the "same old Dexter", which is a great thing, but also opens the door for other bodybuilders to improve and catch up to him. I foresee Phil Heath eventually beating Dexter given that he is still responding well to his training and supplement program and is very young and already very close to Dexter in many ways. Overall, this was a great showing for Dexter though, and he is still one of the best in the bodybuilding world.
2nd - Melvin Anthony
Melvin looked good at the show, although I think he has seen better days. His best showing ever was arguably at the 2007 Mr. Olympia Contest, which was really not very long ago when you think about it. It is possible that Melvin has recently been the victim of too many contests which hurt him the most at the 2008 Arnold Classic where he was relegated to eighth place. That said, finishing second at this contest as well as the 2008 Australian Pro bodybuilding contest was a good thing for Melvin and I'm sure he is quite pleased with these results. I do think that Melvin had improved his conditioning since the Australian show, but I do not think that he was near his best as seen at the 2006 and 2007 Olympias. He is qualified for the 2008 Mr. Olympia and I would like to see how he does there. Although the financial incentives for peaking at the Grand Prix events is not as strong as it is for the Olympia, I am surprised Melvin did not peak for the 2008 Arnold Classic because there was a lot of prize money riding on that show. That leads me to believe that Melvin did try to peak but miscalculated something in his pre-contest training or supplement program.
3rd - Toney Freeman
Toney was huge, and of course the biggest man on stage at 6'2 and somewhere close to 300 pounds. Amazingly, he looks as if he could fill out his frame a little more which speaks only for the difficulty in taller bodybuilders ever being as complete as some of their shorter counterparts. Regardless, Toney was one of the best in the contest and placed a respectable third, which was a qualifying spot for the 2008 Mr. Olympia contest which is certainly something Toney welcomed. Toney will be 42 years old this year and right now still looks amazing. I don't think he will be able to improve much from this point on since he is at a relatively advanced stage in the game, but I do see him maintaining roughly the same size and conditioning for a while yet. I think Toney is another bodybuilder who should focus primarily on conditioning, in part because at his advanced level, I'm sure putting on size is becoming increasingly more difficult. Hitting his peak effectively should be a priority for Toney, and as long as he does that, he is capable of doing very well.
4th - Sergey Shelestov
Sergey Shelestov is a big Russian bodybuilder who stands 6'0 and packs on the mass very well, with good symmetry and proportions. I saw him compete originally at the 2007 Mr. Olympia contest and I do think that he is one of the better foreign pros and does deserve to compete at the highest levels of bodybuilding competition. He narrowly missed qualifying for the 2008 Mr. Olympia here and I hope he qualifies for the 2008 Mr. Olympia somewhere else. He qualified for the 2007 for his third place finish at the 2006 Grand Prix in Romania where Jay Cutler won the whole show and Ronnie Coleman came second. From pictures available from that contest, Sergey appeared to hold his own in that contest. His back poses are fantastic and very complete from head to toe - his lats are thick and wide, and his legs are very sweeping and his calves are large as well. His posing for these poses is very good also which highlight his strengths and draw less attention to his weak points such as his lack of conditioning in his lower back or glutes which could stand to be just a notch or two drier. He is another bodybuilder with a crisp and fresh looking physique and good overall proportions so I would advise Sergey to just focus on nailing his conditioning 100% and I think he can do some damage in professional bodybuilding contests - that is, assuming that he is not overlooked by the judges, and admittedly, name recognition does play a role at shows. This can either help or hurt, depending on the popularity and reputation of the bodybuilder in question.
5th - Troy Alves
This was Troy's second fifth place showing after the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. Troy did look pretty sharp, although admittedly, he was not at his best. Still, a very good showing. I wonder if some small detail such as the application of additional oil would have helped him improve his placing slightly, although I would hope competitive bodybuilders would have things like that figured out most of the time. Troy is a great poser, so I can assume he does put emphasis on little details which can give an advantage when it comes to contest placings. Although Troy has not yet qualified for the 2008 Mr. Olympia, I think that is completely realistic he does so, I am just uncertain which contest he may end up qualifying at. Troy is another "old" bodybuilder (and a grandfather at that) who will be 42 this year. I like Troy and would like to see him compete on the great Mr. Olympia stage so I do hope he gets a qualifying spot at a future bodybuilding contest in the 2008 season.
6th - Ronny Rockel
Short, but a very complete bodybuilder. I don't think that Ronny hit his conditioning perfectly for this contest. It's interesting that I often see bodybuilders who could improve slightly in placings if they had a better tan or a better application of oil, but in Ronny's case, I believe he had these considerations taken care of in a manner which actually increased his rank if anything. It's hard to pick a flaw in Ronny's physique, but at the same time, it's hard to pick significant strengths. He is very balanced and will do relatively well if he always comes in shredded. At this contest, it was not the case, but nevertheless a respectable showing for Ronny.
7th - Jaroslav Horvath
I think that Jaroslav has a fantastic structure which is evidenced in his phenomenal front double biceps pose which highlights his huge and flaring lats as well as his tiny waist. Jaroslav also has great abs and overall excellent proportion and symmetry but is unfortunately lacking stature to do serious damage in professional bodybuilding if he comes in off. That said, I think that Jaroslav can be a perennial Mr. Olympia contest competitor if he nails his conditioning 100%. He has qualified for the Mr. Olympia twice before, in 2002 and 2004, and narrowly missed a spot by placing fourth here in Australia in 2005. He was slightly off at this contest, but I know he is capable of achieving a high level of conditioning and if he does in the future, I expect he will qualify for the Mr. Olympia contest yet again.
8th - Oscar Tua Dexter
According to the biography page on Oscar's website, he is 6'2 and 330 pounds in the off-season. That is amazing to me because Gunter Schlierkamp goes up to 345 at the same height and he is one of the biggest bodybuilders ever. Oscar also boasts of huge lifting claims on his website, and I am unsure of how accurate the reports are, but he is a very impressive bodybuilder, who at 33, could still do damage in the pro ranks with continual improvements (especially if his height and weight are accurately reported). He had good conditioning at this contest and displayed a balanced physique. He did not show signs of any tears or injuries so I think if he continues to improve in the future he can do well and I would like to see him qualify for an Olympia at one point because it appears to me he has the potential to do so.
9th - Oliver Adzievski
According to the biography page on Oliver's website, he is 5'9 and competes at around 220. I think he has a fairly good structure, although some may say he is narrow in the shoulders. That said, his quads are huge, and his proportions are pretty good overall. He brought good conditioning to the table overall, and although his placing was not high, it was a good performance for Oliver.
10th - Salah Ibrahim
Salah looked good in some shots, but less so in others. For example, his most muscular revealed excellent conditioning in the delts, arms, and quads, but his rear double biceps showed a very narrow back as well as high lats and weak hamstrings, with no visible glutes and hamstrings tie-in. I think Salah is another professional bodybuilder who is very likely a god in the gym, but not competitive in the professional ranks. Overall, a good physique though, Salah just lacks the goods at this point to place any higher than he did here.
11th - Constanties Demetrious
This was Constanties' second eleventh place finish after the 2008 Australian Pro a week before this contest. Constanties was a little smooth although he was not without strengths: for example, in the most muscular pose, he looks very complete, and his lats have good flare which help him in his front lat spread, as well as both his front and rear double biceps poses. His legs are a little short which lends to a slightly disproportionate structure, and he did come in a little smooth, but he was not a wreck of injuries or anything like that, so he still displayed a physique which looks capable of improvement which hopefully Constanties will focus on in the future.
12th - Michael Kingsnorth
Ever since viewing the pictures of Michael Kingsnorth at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix, I have been impressed. While one may not be impressed since he came last place at this show, if you can look at the merits of his physique independently without comparing him to his competition, you will see that he does have a great physique. At 5'11 and a competition weight of around 210 pounds, Michael is not the biggest pro on stage. His disadvantage is in part due to his height - at 5'11, a bodybuilder would have to be over 250 pounds to be competitive, as we can see with Sergey Shelestov who is only an inch taller, but far heavier than Michael. Michael's conditioning was very good and good lines in his side chest pose from head to toe and good thickness in his back for his weight and height. The reason why I like Michael's physique so much is because he has a physique which is extremely impressive for real life - he has good size and shape, and in time I am sure he can make improvements and perform better in professional contests if that is what he wants, but in the meantime, he has a truly outstanding physique for the gym and day-to-day life. I am very impressed at Michael, which may be surprising because he came last place at this contest, but his weight and height combination is one which I definitely admire.
Overall, this contest was on a similar level to the 2008 Australian Pro bodybuilding contest, which is roughly what I expected. I was happy to see Toney Freeman qualify for the 2008 Mr. Olympia contest, and it must be a great thing for Dexter to collect yet another professional win. He is on a roll now, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to perform as he approaches 40. With 11 pro wins, I wonder how close he will get to 20 before he retires. As far as I know, only three bodybuilders have 20 or more pro wins: Ronnie Coleman with 26, Vince Taylor with 21, and Kevin Levrone with 20. I can foresee Dexter collecting several wins a year for the next few years, so who knows what the future holds? Dexter was a good addition to this contest, as well as the other top placing bodybuilders who solidified Mohamad Moe Moussawi's first New Zealand pro as a good contest and one to watch in the future. It is nice to see bodybuilding gain popularity around the world and I do hope this show repeats itself in 2009.
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