|2012 Arnold Classic Europe Report
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The second-annual Arnold Classic Europe in Madrid, Spain was a great success and saw similar results as we did at the 2012 Mr. Olympia contest in terms of the order of the bodybuilders who competed in both contests. Since this contest has already ran two years in a row I am sure that we will see it again in the future.
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2012 Arnold Classic Europe - RESULTS!
2012 Arnold Classic Europe Contest Results
WINNER - Shawn Rhoden
2 - Dennis Wolf
3 - Roelly Winklaar
4 - Robert Piotrkowicz
5 - Toney Freeman
6 - Ronny Rockel
7 - Johnnie Jackson
8 - Michalis Kefalianos
9 - Edward Nunn
10 - Feras Saied
11 - Lionel Beyeke
12 - Hidetada Yamagishi
13 - Steve Benthin
14 - Daniele Seccarecci
15 - Ben White
16 - Sergey Shelestov
17 - Manuel Manchado
*Note: Top three qualify for 2013 Mr. Olympia contest.
Now I will make detailed comments below for each bodybuilder:
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1st: Shawn Rhoden
Shawn Rhoden won two pro shows this year in 2012 before this contest [and as of this writing, a fourth in Britain] so I was not completely surprised that he won here. Shawn was in good condition and has a great structure and was good enough to win here in Spain in a pretty good lineup. Shawn recently signed with Ronnie Coleman Signature Series supplements and I think we will be hearing a lot about him in the future.
2nd: Dennis Wolf
Dennis Wolf looked amazing at this contest and had he won the whole show, I don't think anyone would have had an issue with it. I feel that Dennis consistently looks good but he looked just as good as his usual excellent form if not better here in Spain and his back really caught my eye. His back looked bigger and thicker than usual and it seemed to me that he had improved this area. His upper back was always pretty good but Dennis had received criticism for having a shallow lower back and I honestly think he reduced that deficit here in Europe. Some say Dennis is a future Mr. Olympia competitor and at age 34 and with consistent improvements, that may still happen yet.
3rd: Roelly Winklaar
When I saw Roelly at the 2012 Mr. Olympia at the Meet the Pros event on Thursday before the contest, I felt that Roelly was a little soft. I think that condition carried over with Roelly through to this contest and I think it is possible that Roelly knows how good his genetics are and is riding them somewhat, which I think is not a good idea for any bodybuilder no matter how good they may be because of the level of competition. Roelly's muscle bellies are amazing but he has been far better than he was here and that is something that bodybuilder Toney Freeman mentioned as well. Roelly's amazing structure may be great and helps him to overcome a lot, but is not good enough to allow him to win a contest if he comes in off, providing the other top competitors come in on as was the case here.
4th: Robert Piotrkowicz
This was the best I have ever seen Robert Piotrkowicz look. Robert competed at the 2010 Mr. Olympia contest where he placed outside of the top 17. He was huge and conditioned there, but not conditioned enough to place. Robert's waist is a little wide but he is overcoming that deficit massively with huge improvements in conditioning and he truly looked incredible here. Some may argue that Robert got such a high placing because he is from Europe, but it cannot be denied that this is the best he ever looked and that he was one of the most conditioned bodybuilders onstage, and possibly the most conditioned. He really look his condition to the next level and it's hard not to notice that, especially in the pro scene.
5th: Toney Freeman
I know that Toney was not happy with his placing at this contest but he should not be disappointed because he did place 7th at the Mr. Olympia and to be honest, that is the most important contest of the year and really the one he should be concerned with the most. If he performed where it counted most, I think that is the most important thing. Although I should not say that Toney did not perform at this contest - he looked very good in a very tough lineup. I think that Toney was most unhappy with Roelly placing ahead of him and I can agree with that because Roelly was a little off for sure - great muscle bellies can only take a bodybuilder so far as I mentioned above. Toney is 46 which is unebelievable to me because he does not appear to be regressing in the least bit. He is either maintaining his best ever form or close to it, or even arguably improving in some areas. The only criticism I can think of at this contest is that I think he may have highlighted his physique a bit more had he had more oil on, but I could be wrong about that as it could have been a lighting issue. Either way, a good showing for Toney in a good lineup and I understand why Toney was not happy with Roelly placing ahead of him. Toney seemed unhappy with Robert Piotrkowicz placing ahead of him as well but Toney did acknowledge Robert's excellent conditioning in an interview with Aaron Singerman.
6th: Ronny Rockel
With Ronny Rockel placing 13th at the 2012 Mr. Olympia I was concerned that he was passed his prime but he did look very good at this contest and I think there is a possibility that had he looked like this at the Olympia he could have been in the top 10. I felt that he was full and round and in good condition and I can't say too many bad things about his physique in this contest, it just happened to be that there were some competitors who were better than him here.
7th: Johnnie Jackson
Johnnie Jackson is turning 42 in January  and looked very good at this contest and in my opinion close to his Mr. Olympia form so I am uncertain why he was pushed back a little in this judging lineup. The only thing that I can think of is that Ronny Rockel had improved and the judges switched him either due solely to Ronny's improvements or as a result of Johnnie regressing slightly. With that said, I think that Johnnie's fullness looked as good as ever which was apparent in his front relaxed pose, hands clasped most muscular pose and side chest. All in all, Johnnie does not appear to be slowing down and I expect to see him on the Mr. Olympia stage in 2013.
8th: Michalis Kefalianos
Michalis Kefalianos is another over 40 bodybuilder and another who is always in incredible shape. This contest was no exception although he may have looked slightly less ripped than usual in some poses although that truly could just be a lighting issue. In back poses, you can almost see every fiber and that is true of his most muscular pose as well. I think Michalis is just not big enough to compete with some of the other bodybuilders in the contests he enters because he definitely needs no improvements in conditioning. His structure may possibly not be up to the level of some of his competition as well but I really think the biggest issue is size and without adding a little more mass, he will not be able to improve in the placings. As said, conditioning is [definitely] not the issue. overall, this was a good showing for Michalis Kefalianos.
9th: Edward Nunn
Edward Nunn is another bodybuilder with a great structure. Unlike Roelly Winklaar, the strength of Edward's physique is not his overall muscle bellies, but specifically his huge legs and small waist. With that said, Edward looked a bit soft at this contest. I assume the problem was that he was slightly spilled over although if that was the case I would have assumed his physique would have been fuller specifically in the side chest pose, but his chest looked flat in that pose.
10th: Feras Saied
I thought that Feras Saied looked pretty good and is a pro who I can honestly say that I had never heard of until this contest. I think that he will just need to make improvements in the general sense and he will gradually go up in the ranks. I also think that competing in more contests will be helpful to Feras as he will put his physique in the judges mind and hopefully they will be able to give him a closer look. The fact of the matter is, bodybuilding is a subjective endeavour.
11th: Lionel Beyeke
Lionel has had a good year and officially became a top 10 bodybuilder after his Mr. Olympia placing and also had a baby daughter. He placed 11th in Spain and that was most likely hoping for a better placing than that but he did alright. He was a little smooth at this contest and truly the only thing preventing him from placing higher was conditioning. Perhaps he was burnt out from competing so much this year or having been so close to the Mr. Olympia. Perhaps Lionel was just busy with family and could not dedicate to the show the way that he wanted to. In any case, I am absolutely confident that his conditioning will be improved in future contests and it would not surprise me in the least if we were to see Lionel at the Mr. Olympia again in the near future.
12th: Hidetada Yamagishi
Hidetada placed 15th at the 2012 Mr. Olympia and improved in the placings slightly here albeit at a less competitive contest. I am somewhat curious as to why Hidetada has been pushed dowin the placings recently as he appears to look better than ever in my opinion. He looks as big as he normally is and fairly conditioned. I thought that possibly his abs were a bit smoothed out at this contest but that could also be attributed to the lighting so I'm really not sure what the problem was. Perhaps it is just that the level of competition is always increasing and Hidetada remains a consistent competitor who is not putting on much size at this point in his career. Maybe that means that Hidetada will have to put on some size in order to impress the judges who may be giving him a sign through his placings that he cannot simply replicate his former packages in order to maintain or improve his placings. Either way, I felt he looked very good at this contest and see no reason at all why he should have placed 12th.
13th: Steve Benthin
Steve Benthin was a bodybuilder who I had admittedly not heard about until today. I thought that he looked amazing and I was surprised that I had not heard of him before but that is because he is a European bodybuilder who has not competed very often. I think he has a pretty good structure and also had good size and good conditioning. Steve is another example of a bodybuilder who will just have to make general improvements as well as get his face and physique in the minds of the judges in order to improve in the placings and that is something that can be very difficult for bodybuilders to do who are overseas.
14th: Daniele Seccarecci
I had heard of Daniele Seccarecci before as he has competed at quite a few pro bodybuilding shows from 2006 to the present day. I think he is a good bodybuilder overall and displays good conditioning. I think he will need to gradually add size including his arms in particular if he hopes to improve in the ranks. Still not a bad showing by any means, just a competitive contest so he will need to continue to raise his game - as all bodybuilders continually have to.
15th: Ben White
While Ben White was admittedly off at this contest, he has been off at other contests and I don't think his placing was ever quite as poor in relation to the other competitors as it was here. While I will agree that Ben should not have placed very well at this contest, I do wonder why the judges pushed him back quite as far as they did here. I think it is possibly because they wanted to send Ben the message that consistently showing up off will result in much lower placings. Or perhaps it comprises no conspiracy and is simply another judging panel. Ben looked alright but was a little off and in certain cases, I think his posing was a little off as well. Ben has a massive bench press yet I don't think that his chest shows that. In any case, Ben will have to improve in conditioning if he wants to improve in placings.
16th: Sergey Shelestov
I felt that Sergey Shelestov looked pretty good at this contest but he was a little smooth and that cost him greatly, relegating him towards the bottom of the pack. He is a big bodybuilder and has some good poses, specifically the back double biceps pose, but was not in good enough shape to place higher than he did here.
17th: Manuel Manchado
Manuel Manchado was another bodybuilder who I had not heard of until this contest and I think for a last place competitor looked pretty good and displayed pretty good shape which to me proves that this was a pretty good contest overall. It takes a pretty good to great pro bodybuilding contest where even the last place competitor is in decent shape and that was the case here. Like other bodybuilders in this lineup, Manuel will just need to gradually make overall improvements to improve in the placings. I'm confident that he will be able to do this as he did not appear to have an injured physique in any fashion.
Overall I felt that this was a very good contest and one of decent quality. It was not at the level of the 2012 Mr. Olympia contest but was a good contest nevertheless. I was impressed with this lineup for a European show and it is nice to show more contests on my ancestral continental origin of evolution. I hope that this show stays in Europe and I hope that more bodybuilding contests come there as well.
All photos are property of RxMuscle.com and bodybuilding-magazin.de.
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