Thanks to Weider for updating us on this info.
The 2004 Mr. Olympia contest is the most revolutionary in the contest’s history. Here’s a quick primer to the significant changes being installed at the muscle showdown of the year.
- New Mandatory Pose
The most-muscular pose (the competitors’ favorite version) will be introduced as an eighth mandatory pose. It will be the eighth and final pose of the mandatories.
- Prejudging Revision
Up to now, prejudging has commenced with the complete lineup coming onstage and then going into symmetry comparisons. But this system has on occasion left non-“name” bodybuilders at a disadvantage.
The prejudging will now commence with each athlete appearing individually, in number order, to complete the eight mandatory poses. A few minutes after the last competitor completes his individual mandatory poses, the whole lineup will return to the stage for Round 1, the symmetry round. The competitors will be called out in groups of five or less for symmetry comparisons.
Next, the competitors return to the stage for Round 2, the mandatory (muscularity) round. The competitors will be called out in groups of five or less for muscularity comparisons. When the judges have viewed the final comparison, the lineup leaves the stage and the prejudging session is over.
- Posing Round Revision
A giant digital scoreboard will be onstage during the evening finals. As each competitor comes out to do his posing routine, his scores from the afternoon will be announced and then flashed onto the scoreboard.
After the posing round, the athletes will be brought back onstage and their posing round scores will be given and shown on the scoreboard. In a tight contest, placings will change either at the top or further down, and the audience and athletes will be able to witness these changes as they happen.
After the posing scores have been shown, the top 10 will be announced and then that group will be whittled down to the final six. At that point, it will get really interesting with an innovation that constitutes the most radical change in the history of bodybuilding contests — the Challenge Round.
- New Round- The Challenge Round
As the final six remain onstage, the scoreboard will show their standings by way of point totals. The first-placed athlete will be assigned six points, the second five points, and so on down to the sixth-placed athlete who will be awarded one point. If this new system had been part of last year’s contest, the scoring would have stood as follows.
Ronnie Coleman: 6 points
Jay Cutler: 5 points
Dexter Jackson: 4 points
Dennis James: 3 points
Günter Schlierkamp: 2 points
Kevin Levrone: 1 point
Here, the contest starts all over again. Now, the athletes are out to get extra points and (unlike the present situation, where the guy with the lowest points is the winner) the athlete with the most points at the end of the Challenge Round will win. This will take bodybuilding into a combative mano-a-mano arena never before seen.
- Head-to-Head: Each competitor, starting with the sixth-placed athlete, calls one individual pose of his choice against the other finalists. Each one of those poses counts as two points going to the winner of the pose, which is added to his placing. Using last year’s contest as the example, Levrone (sixth) would call a pose against Schlierkamp (fifth), then James (fourth) and so on up to Coleman (first). The rest of the top 6 athletes would follow suit in ascending order of their placings.
Here’s where the excitement mounts. The 11 judges will be holding electronic devices that connect them to the scoreboard and, as each pose is completed, they will press the devices and their decision will be flashed onto the scoreboard.
Strategy: One caveat is that an athlete can only call a particular pose twice. For example, Levrone’s strongest pose is probably the hand-clasped most-muscular, but he would only be able to use it twice. This is where strategy comes in. Would Levrone use his strongest pose against the lower-placed athletes or save it for the top two guys in pursuit of points?
The system will give all six finalists the chance to go against each other and will result in an ever-changing scoreboard, which would bring unprecedented drama to the event.
If this procedure had been in effect at the 2001 Olympia, the whole contest could have come down to the last final pose between Coleman and Cutler. If the system had been in force in 2002, then a late-charging Schlierkamp might have climbed to third or second instead of placing fifth.
Whatever the permutations, the bottom line is that as the contest winds it way to its climax, the audience will see, via the scoreboard, the precise point at which the eventual champion takes an unassailable lead. The fans will see the snapshot moment, as it were, when he crossed the finishing line.
- AT THE END OF THE DAY
As ever, the champion will still be the guy with the best physique. But the determination of the event will be much more spectator friendly and dramatic. Audience members will be fully aware of how the contest is unfolding as they witness placings and fortunes change, just as they would if they were courtside at a Lakers match. Such entertainment and involvement is only right for die-hard fans who spend hundreds of dollars on event tickets and hotel and travel charges.
This year’s contest will be transitional. If there are glitches, they will be ironed out and tweaked for future use. For the time being, the Challenge Round will only take place at the Mr. Olympia contest. Whatever the outcome of the this year’s contest, October 30, 2004, will be a red-letter day in the history of the sport as it experiences it most revolutionary innovation since the inception of the Mr. Olympia itself in 1965.