Each year, the best and most dedicated bodybuilders in the professional ranks battle for the industry's top prize - the title of Mr. Olympia. The premier event of the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness, the "Mr. O" has paved the way for some of the most recognizable name in bodybuilding and beyond. This list includes Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Cutler.
If the massive $250,000 paycheck, and the acknowledgement of being the best professional bodybuilder in the world wasn't enough incentive for the individual athletes to reach maximum levels of shredded beef, the competition's loss of four-time champion Jay Cutler and perennial standout Victor Martinez should do wonders to peak their interest. By all accounts, the lineup is now one of the most wide-open and competitive in recent memory.
Last year, Phil Heath capped his incredible rise to the top of the bodybuilding world by defeating his friend and training partner, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, in a tightly-contested battle. The man known as "the gift" proved that, at the age of 32, the sport has begun to change from the promotion of muscle-abundant "mass monsters" to more aesthetic, symmetrical physiques. Whether or not that trend will continue, and whether Heath will retain his crown, depends on several factors at the September 27 event. Standing in his path, rather staunchly, will be the hulking physiques of Kai Greene and Branch Warren.
Greene, one of the sport's most popular and polarizing figures, looks to prove his detractors wrong and reach the pinnacle of the sport, though later in his career than many had projected. Having won twice each - the Arnold Classic, Australian Pro and New York Pro - Greene was the natural favorite to ascend to the peak of the sport. In 2011, his controversial drop from second to third place only served to sharpen his focus. Should he finally reach the potential many have foreseen in his future, the crown will, undoubtedly, be his.
Warren, a feisty Texan who can never be ruled out of contention, does not have the most desirable aesthetics of the athletes in the competition. He does, however, have the physique of a beast and boasts one of the best sets of leg musculature in the world. Having won the Arnold Classic the previous two years, and finishing in the Olympia's top three on three occasions, Warren certainly could pull off the upset.
The other issue standing in the way of Phil's repeat is Phil, himself. Despite having the experience of dialing in his physique for the Olympia, taking the last year to "perfect" it on another level could have a detrimental effect. Although many will cite the need to add more girth to his aesthetic frame, doing so could hamper his shapely development. Whatever alterations Heath has made in the last year, a fine line will need to have been walked in order to avoid wrecking his entire package.
All things considered, this year's Mr. Olympia competition will be known throughout history as one of, if not THE most contested and exciting events in the annals of the sport.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jay Cutler
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Phil Heath