The 49th annual Mr. Olympia competition is in the books and it will be a contest to remember for a very long time. Leading up to the show, there was a great deal of hype surrounding the stacked lineup, which featured returning Olympia champions and emerging prospects poised to challenge for a top spot on the grandest stage in all of bodybuilding. And, for the most part, the lineup delivered and gave the audience a tremendous show.
The men's open bodybuilding, the main event at the Olympia, was divided into a two-day show, as has become customary the last few years. The prejudging was held on September 27, followed by the finals on the next day, September 28. Each part of the show was judged as 50 percent of a competitor's score, meaning the bodybuilders in the show had to be at or close to their peak for two consecutive days to have a chance at attaining a top spot.
"The Gift" Prevails Over "The Predator"
During the prejudging, it was evident that then two-time Olympia champion Phil Heath was in his best shape to date. He was so far ahead of his fellow competitors that the judges sent him back in line after only a single comparison with the bodybuilders in the top callout. Heath was able to maintain his shape for the finals the next day and he unanimously earned a victory to become a three-time Mr. Olympia champion. He joined the likes of Sergio Oliva and Frank Zane as three-peaters at the SuperBowl of bodybuilding.
Heath's closest competition came by way of Kai Greene and Dennis Wolf, who placed in the second and third positions, respectively. Greene missed the mark during the prejudging, as he was holding a bit too much water, thus hurting his conditioning. However, he corrected the issue for the finals and was able to better compare with Heath. But, because half of each competitor's score is determined during the prejudging, "The Predator" was unable to make-up enough ground to eclipse Heath. Should he had showed up the day prior in the kind of condition he displayed in the finals, Greene may had had a better chance of dethroning the champ.
A Howling Wolf
The improvement from prejudging to finals did help Greene hold back Wolf from attaining a runner-up position. Wolf was the surprise of the show, coming in bigger than ever and with his best conditioning to date, while still maintaining fullness in his muscles. Although Wolf has been a consistent top six finisher at the Olympia, he had never cracked the top three. Well, not only did he make the top three this go around, but he was in close contention with Greene for a second place position. Wolf looked to edge Greene during the prejudging, but the improvement in Greene's conditioning at the finals halted "The Big Bad Wolf" from securing second place. With his first-ever third place finish, Wolf has established himself as a top contender for the Sandow come the 50th annual Mr. Olympia competition in 2014.
A Battle of Grand Proportions
Rounding out the coveted top six were Shawn Rhoden and former Mr. Olympia champions Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler. Rhoden and Jackson were both in excellent condition, with Rhoden having added a good deal of muscle mass onto his frame this past offseason, without hindering his incredible proportions and near-perfect balance. Jackson, on the other hand, was in his trademark "The Blade" shape, and his physique showed little to no flaws in terms of symmetry. Most impressive, however, is Jackson stepped onstage close to his all-time best at the age of 43. He has no doubt been the most consistent bodybuilder over the last decade, with a top six finish at the Olympia year-in and year-out.
A Humble Comeback
Speaking of consistency, Cutler has been consistently at the top of the heap for the better part of his Olympia run, winning four Sandows and finishing in the runner-up spot six times. But, at this year's Olympia, after taking a year off from competition due to injury, Cutler was unable to make a successful comeback for a fifth Olympia title at the age of 40. He stepped onstage having seemed to lose quite a bit of his muscle mass, his symmetry was lacking in many areas and his conditioning was not up to par to the rest of the top competitors. As a result, Cutler landed in the sixth position. But credit for Cutler for making through with his promise of competing at the Olympia after a long layoff and even more credit for exhibiting sportsmanship after being announced in sixth place. He no doubt will go down as one of the greatest Olympia champions and a great ambassador of the sport.
For more results and a recap of the rest of the top ten from the 2013 Mr. Olympia men's open bodybuilding, go on to part two.