Afterthoughts 2009 Mr. Olympia
By Myron Mielke
When I’m up against quick turnarounds and tight deadlines, I just don’t have the luxury of time to record all my thoughts and really analyze an event. Fans want to quickly know who won and short a synopsis. Two weeks after the Mr. Olympia, I had some more time for spewing forth my take on the 2009 Mr. Olympia. (You can read my reviews here.)
Jay Cutler, a Las Vegas resident for several years now, was the hometown favorite. The electricity that shot through the crowd when his name was announced as Mr. Olympia, literally gave me chills. I was there in 2006 when Jay upset Ronnie for his first Olympia win. That year the crowd was excited and surprised. The atmosphere this year in the Orleans Arena was one of joy and celebration as the Las Vegas crowd witnessed the triumphal return of their champion.
Of all the possible scenarios of who might win the 2009 Mr. Olympia, I think Jay Cutler regaining the title was the best thing that could have happened for the sport. While it would have been cool to have Kai Greene win the Mr. Olympia in his first attempt, seeing Jay win again was like watching Rocky knock out Clubber Lang in Rocky 3.
The “Quad Stomp” was the most memorable event of the judging for me. Some guys slap their thighs. Some guys shake and zip them. Jay just stuck his leg out and stomped his foot down on the stage. As he did that, every muscle fiber and striation of his quad leaped out into plain view with amazing crisp detail. That pretty much clinched him winning the title in my book.
I was very surprised by how Jay Cutler looked this year. Based on his last two Olympias, I thought he was on a downhill slide and wasn’t going to recover. I was wrong. I’ve seen Jay in every Olympia since 2004 and he’s never looked this good.
Jay’s coloring was much better this year the best since 2005. The past few years he has been too dark and his skin never reflected much light. It seemed to absorb it, especially when he won his first title in 2006. This year his color was perfect.
Dexter Jackson looked better than he did in 2008 when he won the title. His upper body was bigger and thicker and his legs were about the same. I even thought he was a little bit sharper, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Cutler when he looked like he did. You’d have to go way back to the 1972 Mr. Olympia when Sergio Oliva had improved from his 1969 winning form, to recall a similar event in Olympia history. Arnold was still able to defeat Sergio that year despite many people stating that it was Sergio’s best-ever showing in the IFBB.
Howling Silenced This Year
I was very surprised that Dennis Wolf did not make the top 15. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like he deserved to be in that group. He didn’t because he clearly missed the mark by a long shot. Wolf looked better at the 2006 Olympia and that was before he was working with anyone for his contest prep. It just goes to show that when someone claims that they are 20 pounds heavier for a competition, it might not be a good thing. A bigger Dennis Wolf was not a better Dennis Wolf this time out. (And by the way, Chad Nichols has been given the boot and Dennis will be doing his own preps for the time being.)
My Great Predictions
If you watched my preview video then you know I nailed it. I called Dexter Jackson to be in third place and he was! And… that was about it. I predicted Phil to win, Kai to be second, and for Jay to come in fourth. Much of my predictions were based on Jay’s decline in appearance in his last two Olympias and how great Phil looked at the guestposing event at the Dexter Jackson Classic about six weeks before the Olympia. At that time, Phil was clearly ahead of the others in his contest prep. I’ve also never seen Dexter make drastic improvements and Phil has in every show. If Jay was slipping in the contest prep area, then it was logical to think he would struggle this year too. Kai Greene’s conditioning at the 2009 Arnold Classic also made me think he’d rise ahead of Jackson. But, this is bodybuilding and you never know what’s going to happen until they’re all on stage together. Oh well, my predictions were much better last year. Maybe next year they’ll be on target again…
Don’t Eat The Fish
I knew something was up when Phil Heath stepped onto the stage for the judging. He was dry, but he wasn’t full. He didn’t look any bigger than last year. Thursday night Phil fought a nasty bout with food poisoning, which most likely came from some bad fish he purchased at a grocery store. Paramedics were called to his room in the early morning hours on Friday. He dropped about 10 pounds overnight from barfing. The barfing eventually stopped and the paramedics left and Phil was able to start eating again later in the day, but he had lost too much too quickly and he wasn’t able to fill back out in time. Saturday night was a different story as Heath was carb-loaded once again and he looked much better.
After the finals I heard a few people griping about the placings of the 202 Showdown. I knew there would be many people at the finals who were not at the judging earlier in the day. With different lighting and the competitors taking on a new look from eating and drinking after the judging, there were people doubting the judging. I asked one guy in the Orleans elevator, who was not pleased with 202 judging, if he had been to the judging. He sheepishly said, “No.” I explained that if he was there, he would have seen it differently. The judging was fair.
I’ve heard arguments that Mark Dugdale should have won the whole show and it was a travesty that he took fourth. I could see Dudgdale was very disappointed at the Victory Banquet on Saturday night. He was very quiet. I know what it feels like when you think you deserve a higher spot than the judges gave you. It sucks. But even though Dugdale was in great condition, he didn’t match Kevin English or David Henry in size. Dugdale was close with Correa, but I thought Correa edged him out because of slightly better separation. Correa’s coloring was better too as Dugdale looked a little muddy. It was very close between those two, but saying Dugdale deserved to win was really stretching it. Don’t get me wrong; I like Dugdale’s physique. I’ve even bought two of his DVDs, but I thought the judging in this case was fair.
Kevin English looked like a little Ronnie Coleman. He was big. He was full and he was ripped and dry. Since English gets up to 260 in the offseason, it’s hard to believe he comes in under the weight limit. I don’t see him being able to do that much longer.
I’ve also heard arguments that Kevin English doesn’t have a pretty physique. I agree, but are all 202 competitors supposed to have “pretty” physiques? No, 202 competitors, for the most part, are just shorter than most of the guys in the open division. With that logic, Branch Warren shouldn’t have placed second in the open division. No, English did not have the prettiest physique, but he was the best on the 202 stage when it counted.
This was my wife’s first Olympia Expo. She was having a blast people watching and scooping up free samples for me of my favorite products. When it comes to people watching you have a hard time beating all the skin-tight shirts and fitness chicks strutting around.
Late Friday afternoon we had a strange experience when decided to grab something to eat at the dining area that’s over on the left side of the Expo floor. The guy taking the orders had to be old enough to be Joe Weider’s dad. They had a special for a grilled chicken breast and brown rice. We walked up to the window and told the elderly gentleman we wanted, “Grilled chicken breast and brown rice.”
“You want the sandwich?”
“No, just the grilled chicken breast and brown rice.”
He grabbed the chicken breast and put it on the platter and then grabbed a bun and said, “Do you want cheese on that?”
My wife and I looked at each other and said, “No.”
The guy gave us a look like we couldn’t make a decision. Then he proceeds to grab a handful of fries and places them on the plate with her chicken sandwich.
“No. We want the grilled chicken breast and brown rice!” I said a little louder now.
He looked at us annoyed and said, “Why didn’t you say that to begin with?”
In unison my wife and I replied, “We did! Three times!”
Finally the old guy got us the right order and mumbled something about aiming to please…
As we left the order window, they closed up shop about 15 minutes early. I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people got chicken sandwiches and fries instead of what they ordered.
Bad Luck With Cameras
For some reason I have a knack for bungling things when it comes to photography and cameras when my wife and I are on a trip. It began more than 20 years ago when we were on our honeymoon in the Bahamas. I loaded the film incorrectly in my camera so two of the three rolls we shot were blank. (New brides don’t like that sort of thing happening.)
We took another trip to Puerto Vallarta in 2005. I left our camera in a taxi cab on that trip. Fortunately we had a great cab driver. His name was Arturo and he brought the camera back to our hotel the next day.
After the judging at the Orleans Arena on Friday evening we were almost back to the room when I realized my camera was not in my pocket. So I sprinted back to the Arena right before they closed the doors and ran back down to my seat. It was there! But now I had just lost about 30 minutes from trying to get the judging review article wrapped up so I could send it over to Richard to format and upload. Needless to say, it was a late night for us all.
We left Vegas just before noon on Sunday. Traffic was backed up on the 15 for about an hour and a half. It should have taken about 4 hours to get home. It ended up taking nearly six hours. The rest of the trip was great, but that traffic thing really put a damper on a great weekend, but I can't wait for next year!