Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Judges hand it to Cutler


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BIG, BLOND BOMBER Jay Cutler is carving out his own piece of Mr Olympia history.
Over the weekend, he won a titanic showdown with the impressive Phil The Gift Heath and captured bodybuilding’s Holy Grail, Joe Weider’s Mr Olympia, for the fourth time in the last five years.
In a dramatic decision that had the capacity crowd at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas rocking and roaring, the mountain of muscle from Massachusetts walked away with the Olympia gold medal and a cheque for US$200 000.
Now only Ronnie Coleman (eight), Lee Haney (eight), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (seven), have won more Sandow statues.
Throughout the weekend speculation abounded that the contest would come down to Cutler and Heath, with experts and fans alike being nearly equally divided as to who would prevail. In the end it was Cutler’s mass that trumped Heath’s classical lines.
The arena crowd roared during the evening’s first callout, which consisted of Cutler, Heath, Dexter Jackson and Branch Warren.
Each man brought his own set of strengths – Warren’s freaky mass and vascularity, Jackson’s classic lines, Heath a great blend of shape, size, and conditioning, and Cutler’s overwhelming size and zippered quads.
Heath, 30, brought the most pleasing physique on stage, loads of charisma, and added mass.
If Cutler is still the judges’ choice, Heath is the people’s champion and the sport’s special one. Arguably the best thing since the great Flex Wheeler, he is now US$100 000 richer with that second place.
Taking third was a highly impressive Branch Warren, who slipped a notch from his runner-up placing of last year. The Texas Tornado squeaked by a near-peak form Dexter Jackson, who also fell one placing from his third-place spot of last year.
In what has to be considered a victory of sorts, Dennis Wolf rose from a did not place last year to fifth place, and rounding out the top six was fellow German Ronny Rockel.
Arnold Classic winner  Kai Greene, who was heavily tipped to crack the top three, was a major flop. He was smooth and could do no better than seventh.
Victor Martinez, still searching for his 2007 season form, also failed to make the top six. Toney Freeman finished in ninth and Japan’s Hidetada Yamagishi took tenth. Only the top six automatically qualify for the Olympia.
Americans swept the top four spots and occupied six of the top ten places.
The Caribbean had no representatives in the contest, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Darrem Charles and Bahamian Joel 747 Stubbs, not qualifying. Puerto Rico’s Gustavo Badel, who failed to crack the top ten last year, did not step on stage this season.
Last year’s Ironman Pro winner, Silvio Samuel, who was born in Brazil, raised in Nigeria, and now competes on behalf of Spain, is recovering from illness and was missing from the line-up. He was hospitalised a few months ago and may be suffering from burnout after doing seven contests in 2007, five in 2008, and five in 2009.
In the 202 showdown, Kevin English made it two in a row as he edged David Henry. Brazil’s Eduardo Correa was third.
In addition to the competitive history made in Vegas, 11 of the 12 Mr Olympia winners (Schwarzenegger being the exception) took the stage along with Mr Olympia founder Joe Weider in celebration of the contest’s 45th anniversary.


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