Jay Cutler's Las Vegas mansion became home to a fourth Sandow trophy as the reigning Mr.Olympia scored his fourth victory at bodybuilding's most prestigious contest. The super confident Cutler managed to fight off a bigger-than-ever Phil Heath. Jay's physique was not as hard and freaky as we witnessed at last year's Olympia where he proved to doubters that he remained a dominant force in the sport.
We thought this year's winner could have been decided between Phil Heath and Dexter Jackson. However, the IFBB Pro judges continued to emphasize size over shape. And Jay Cutler gave them exactly what they wanted in abundance!
Congratulations to four-time Mr. Olympia champion, Jay Cutler!
1. Jay Cutler:
The bodybuilding champion returned to the Olympia stage as big as ever. Jay approximated his best condition ever. He may have been 5% off from his amazing performance last year but still good enough for victory.
Cutler was dominant because of his overhwelming size. His physique remains largely the same with an impressive front lat spread; we felt he made some slight improvements with his chest fuller than before.
His victory was secured by his reputation and confidence more so than his actual physique.
2. Phil Heath:
The 2010 Olympia iteration of Phil Heath was the biggest version of Phil that we have ever seen (so far). He was very impressive even though he may not have been quite at detailed as he was as the Arnold Classic this year.
We felt Phil Heath was the clear-cut and obvious winner on this day in September much like he should have been at the Arnold Classic in February.
A beautiful physique.
3. Branch Warren:
Branch Warren brought same package as last year. Branch's sheer mass and hardness and size for two make him an incredibly popular competitor. Yet no matter how incredibly hard and conditioned he appears on stage, Branch simply does not possess a pleasing physique.
We would not have placed him ahead of Dexter.
4. Dexter Jackson:
Dexter Jackson probably has the nicest physique in bodybuilding today. The former Mr. Olympia may have been in his best shape ever! Dexter appeared bigger than ever and still exceeded his best all-time conditioning in our opinion. He is one of the few elite bodybuilders who can accomplish that; as we've seen, most competitors who try to play the size game end up compromising their condition relative to their all-time best. For a veteran of the sport to do this - and display a physique superior to the one that previously earned him a Sandow - is impressive.
If Dexter Jackson would have won the 2010 Mr. Olympia, we would not have complained at all.
5. Dennis Wolf:
Many experts and fans had written off the German giant after very disappointing appearances at the 2009 Mr. Olympia and 2010 New York Pro. Many did not think he could ever return to the condition of earlier years. Dennis Wolf's move up the ranks of the bodybuilding elite in the "super bowl" of the sport was the biggest surprise of this year's Olympia.
Wolf re-captured his great conditioning of his early pro career. He impressed us, he won back many of his old fans, and made many new fans on top of that. His Olympia performance clearly will re-ignite his career. We expect to see him grace the covers of several bodybuilding magazines in the months to come as a result.
What does Dennis need to do to place higher? He needs more size (because of his height). The question is whether he can gain size and retain the excellent condition his displayed this week. Dexter can do. But can Dennis? We think he can.
Wolf is hungrier than ever to win a Sandow now!
6. Ronny Rockel:
Ronny Rockel was another competitor that was at his all time best in Las Vegas. After several years of failing to live up to expectations, Ronny is finally showing what he is capable of achieving at the pro level. His Olympia physique wasn't a total surprise given the preview from his Europe Pro victory earlier in the month.
Ronny looks almost unbeatable in some poses although his back still lacks hardness and needs more detail and condition. He could have even beat Dennis with a better back but admittedly sometimes gets lost next to the bigger guys.
7. Kai Greene:
Kai Greene was the biggest disappointment of the Olympia. After winning the 2010 Arnold Classic, Kai was regularly mentioned, by experts and fans alike, as a top contender for the Sandow. In the days prior to the Olympia, many had Kai winning the show.
Kai regrettably did not live up to expectations. Greene is a prime example of the trend of top bodybuilders who play the "size game". This was his downfall at the Olympia. He lost hardness. He compromised condition. And consequently, lost points in judging . Of course, it is hard to fault him when judges obviously and unabashedly reward size over shape at the pro level.
Kai is a great poser yet he makes amateur mistakes that could have been avoided. During his Olympia posing routine, he remained too far back on the stage such that most fans could not fully appreciate the physique he displayed. Additionally, this may have also resulted in the judges failing to see his best bodypart - legs - at Saturday's evening show? We'd like to see more posing from Kai and less dancing too.
8. Victor Martinez:
Victor Martinez's physique has a very special and unique look about it. His muscle shape is definitely of the caliber necessary for an Olympia victory. (Victor should already have a Sandow from the 2007 Olympia.)
Victor looks like an ideal combination of Dexter and Phil Heath. In top shape, he is almost unbeatable. But this weekend, he lacked the final hardness necessary.
9. Toney Freeman:
Toney Freeman was announced as the heaviest bodybuilding on the Olympia stage. Yet, he did not look as massive as the guys that came before him. Like Dennis Wolf, Toney's height is somewhat of a disadvantage that requires him to add more muscle to his frame to look as impressive as those who placed ahead of him.
10. Hide Yamagishi:
Hide Yamagishi competed in almost all the pro shows this season. He returned to the Olympia stage displaying an awesome condition the reflects the extreme determination and dedication of this Japanese pro. Hide looked superb. He is a great poser. He is very impressive even though he is not as big as the guys preceding him.
11. Dennis James (tie with Johnnie Jackson):
Dennis James announced his retirement from the Olympia stage in a speech following his posing routine. The most memorable moments from his speech came during his comments about his wife. He expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the support of his wife - who was always there from the very beginning. She prepared the first and now the last meal of his bodybuilding career.
For Dennis James, bodybuilding was always "bigger is better". But this was never really true. Dennis was good at this year's Olympia (and probably bigger). But he was not even close to his very best (at the 2003 Mr. Olympia). The problem in recent years with Dennis' physique - and many others - is that they still cannot control their stomach onstage; this detracts from the physique and they are justly penalized accordingly.
11. Johnnie Jackson (tie with Dennis James):
Johnnie Jackson was probably at the all-time best of his illustrious career. His facial expressions told the story. He was happy. Very happy. Smiling while signing autographs at the Expo, while posing onstage, and throughout the Olympia Weekend. Johnnie was confident with his shape and condition and rightly so.
We have followed Johnnie throughout his entire career and we're fairly certain this was his best ever!. We would have placed Johnnie in the top ten.
13. Marcus Haley:
It was great to see Marcus Haley at his all-time best. He knew it too and told us at the Olympia Expo on Friday. Sometimes we had Marcus in the top ten.
Many praise the posing of Marcus, but we do not agree. He is an entertaining "dancer" on stage but Marcus actually does a poor job of displaying his muscles during his routine. But for a true bodybuilding fan - dancing should not be the crux of a posing routine. We want to see muscles not dancing especially when the competitor is in such fantastic shape.
14. Roelly Winklaar:
We have seen Roelly Winklaar compete before. He has considerable potential but when he is placed against bigger competitors at an elite show, the other athletes make him look small. Alone, Roelly looks massive. But next to Phil Heath, Branch Warren, or Dennis Wolf, he almost looks tiny.
Perhaps, he needs a break after doing so many shows. Maybe with a good amount of time off would be what he needs now to gain more size and place higher at the next Olympia?
15. Troy Alves:
We have always admired the physique of Troy Alves. This type of physique is great for the sport of bodybuilding. In addition, Troy knows how to pose. Troy is a smart poser. He emphasizes his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses.
Troy has good, clean-looking muscles. He showed considerable improvement at this year's Olympia only to be held back with weak glutes that were not as tight as other body parts. With the same hardness, he could easily advance in placement.
There were great expectations for this Olympia - onstage and off. We were looking forward to all of the previous Olympia champions to appear on stage together for the first time. And they all did - except for Arnold Schwarzenegger. And without the number one bodybuilder in history, the big climax for the show was missing. Great idea to have all the previous Olympians together. But without Arnold, it was not all that it could have been. It was simply not the same.
The 1995 Olympia still reigns supreme in that aspect of bodybuilding history.
The onstage competition itself also failed to live up to expectations primarily due to the disappointment of Kai Greene. If Kai showed up as a legitimate contender - battling it out with Jay Cutler, Phil Heath and Dexter Jackson - it would have been a great contest.
The good news is that Dennis Wolf is back and that added to the excitement of the evening but even the massive German bodybuilder could not fill the void left by Kai in the fight for the Sandow.
The 2010 Mr. Olympia was good - but we are still hopeful of that "perfect storm" of ALL the top athletes competing at their all-time best on the same stage! Maybe in 2011?