|Top Contenders for the 2004 Mr. Olympia Title
The battle is raging on for the 2004 Mr. Olympia competition. Many say Ronnie Coleman will win again to tie Arnold Schwarzenegger for a total seven Mr. Olympia titles. Following, in my opinion, are the top runners for the Sandow:
Ronnie Coleman at the 2000 Mr. Olympia Contest.
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Ronnie Coleman is definitely the man to beat at this competition, but in all honesty, I don't see it happening this year, or perhaps even in the next few years. The reason for this is simply because last year he outmassed everyone on stage and redefined the word "freak". On top of this, he had practiced breathing exercises throughout the year and brought his midsection down considerably - to the point where it was barely noticeable in most poses. Although it was not comparable to vacuum poses from the likes of Frank Zane or Shawn Ray it was much improved from previous years (He had been steadily improving since 2001 in that area). From the discussion boards, the following pictures were posted showing the tremendous difference between Ronnie of 2002 and Ronnie of 2003:
Ronnie in 2002
Ronnie in 2003
See Also: Jay and Ronnie compare backs in 2003
In 2002, Ronnie competed at a body weight of 245 pounds - but in 2003 he was 287. Many were stunned by Ronnie's increase of 42 pounds in one year, but his nutritionist, Chad Nichols said he could have had him in 2002 action at 285 pounds. The reality was that Ronnie was at that phenomenal level of competition before 2003, but wanted to replicate his condition from the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic for that show. In the end, he missed his peak, and did not replicate his condition - he only came in smaller and flatter than usual to create a very close victory.
Ronnie's major strength, first and foremost, is MASS - and lots of it. He outmuscles any competitor on the stage today, even mass monsters like Markus Ruhl. He is huge, and on top of this, despite complaints about his midsection, he does have a fairly trim waist given his overall mass. He has an unparalleled back, as well as excellent biceps, triceps and enormous thighs. Even at 287 pounds, his glutes are striated and he is hard as nails.
Although Ronnie has improved his midsection considerably, it is still a weak point for him. His abs do not compare well to some of the other guys like Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson, but that is genetic (the shape of his abs). Many have said his calves are too small, but I would say they are only small in comparison with the rest of his physique. But regardless, for improved balance, he would need to increase the size of his calves to match his thighs. Overall, although he has his flaws, he is still a phenomenal bodybuilder and true champion.
Jay Cutler at the 2002 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic.
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Jay Cutler is only 31 years old, so whether or not he wins the Mr. Olympia title, he has already achieved more than almost any other pro bodybuilder has and at a very young age. Multiple Arnold Classic title holder, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Jay has incredible thigh separation, calf development, abdominal development and a great overall physique.
He is often critisized of being "blocky" but in reality, it is being shorter in stature (5'9 compared to Ronnie's 5'11) which makes him appear "stocky" but gives a look which would be improved if he were taller. On stage, he doesn't appear as hard as Ronnie Coleman (in terms of muscle maturity / density), but his overall thickness makes up for that.
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Dexter Jackson at the 2001 Mr. Olympia Contest.
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Dexter is another great athlete, he will be 35 this November, and hopes to stay in competitive bodybuilding many years. He always comes into contests crisp and clean, and razor sharp. However, he is considerably outmassed by Ronnie Coleman as seen below:
Ronnie & Dexter Comparisons
Ronnie's condition is also equal to Dexter's in many areas, so this leaves Dexter in a tough battle.
Dexter has incredible shape and symmetry. His conditioning is always spot on when he enters contests. He is definitely going to be one of the top contenders this year. He will place in the top 5, but exactly where depends on too many factors to say.
As a comparative weakness, Dexter is a lot smaller than Jay and Ronnie and that hurts him. In fact, despite the quality of his physique, if Ronnie outmasses Dex by as much as he did last year again in 2004, in all likeliness, Ronnie will win (unless the judging changes). We'll just have to wait and see! He also has smallish calves and high lats. His symmetry is excellent though, and he should do very well at the big show.
Dennis James at the 2002 Mr. Olympia Contest.
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Dennis is a great overall bodybuilder, with one of the most impressive chests of all time. His delts are also among the best in the sport.
Aside from his massive chest and delts, Dennis has a good overall shape and is one of the most driven bodybuilders on the scene today.
Dennis has high lats, which is just genetic. He has also had a hard time peaking perfectly for shows and would sometimes look good a few weaks out from the show. In 2003 Mr. Olympia Contest he peaked on time and placed #4 in the field.
See Also: Dennis James: 9 Weeks out from the Mr. Olympia!
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Gunter Schlierkamp at the 2002 Mr. Olympia Contest.
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Gunter came out of nowhere to place 5th in the 2002 Mr. Olympia. He placed 5th again in 2003, but many had expected him to be a top contender for the Mr. Olympia title and had him anywhere between 1st to 3rd place. He improved at the 2004 Arnold Classic and will hopefully continue to improve by the time of the Mr. Olympia and place near the top.
Strengths: Gunter is massive. He has tremendous arms, legs and overall development.
Weaknesses: Gunter appears blocky in his abs and thigh shot and his back thickenss does not compare well to Ronnie Coleman or some of the other top competitors. However, when he comes in "on", full and hard and in condition, he is a threat at any professional show.
Gunter and Ronnie Compare in 2002 #1
Gunter and Ronnie Compare in 2002 #2
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