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Ronnie Coleman in 2005


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RONNIE COLEMAN IN 2005
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IFBB Superstar and Mr. Olympia reigning champion Ronnie Coleman recently won his seventh Sandow trophy at the 2004 Mr. Olympia Contest. He is now the most successful pro bodybuilder ever in terms of total pro wins.

Ronnie Coleman

What may not be readily apparent based on Ronnie's dominance is that he is also one of the oldest pros competing at the Olympia today, with only Pavol Jablonicky and Claude Groulx being older than him at the 2004 show, and neither of them anywhere close to Ronnie in terms of contest results (Pavol placed 11th, and Claude 19th at the show). Ronnie was born May 13th, 1964, and will be 41 in just a few short months. More impressive still is the fact that he seems to not be losing any steam whatsoever when it comes to competing. Not only is he maintaining his previous Sandow winning standards, but he is consistently making improvements from year to year. At the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, Ronnie won the show and his performance at the time was hailed by many to be his best ever showing. He was 245 pounds at the contest, in extremely tight form, and dense as stone.

Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman looking great at the 2001 Arnold Classic!

But later that year, at the 2001 Mr. Olympia Contest, he missed his peak, and ended up in a very narrow victory over Jay Cutler in what was considered to be one of the most controversial decisions in bodybuilding of recent years.

Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman at the Prejudging of the 2001 Mr. Olympia Contest.

Photograph © Ron Avidan of GetBig.com. Reproduced with permission.

Go To: More Pictures From the 2001 Mr. Olympia Prejudging
Go To: Pictures From the 2001 Mr. Olympia Finals

After his narrow victory, and giving in to all the critics who felt Ronnie should stop playing the size game and try to repeat his 2001 Arnold Classic form, Ronnie came into the 2002 Mr. Olympia Contest at 245 pounds, but was just a smaller version of his 2001 self, with no apparent improvements in conditioning or the flaw he is always getting flak for - his midsection.

Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman at the Prejudging of the 2002 Mr. Olympia Contest, notably down in size, at 245 pounds.

Photograph © Ron Avidan of GetBig.com. Reproduced with permission.

In 2002, without Jay Cutler in the mix, long time bodybuilding champion Kevin Levrone placed 2nd, in a decision that many of the judges and fans said shouldn't have been. Gunter Schlierkamp also turned heads by going from 15th to 5th at the show and was hailed by many to be the best bodybuilder of the night show, where Gunter improved a little further, and Ronnie got a little bit flatter and less impressive. All in all, Ronnie won the show, but it was a very close call.

Go To: Opinions of Gunter Schlierkamp at the 2002 Mr. Olympia
Go To: Opinions of Ronnie Coleman at the 2002 Mr. Olympia

But that wasn't the worst yet for Ronnie. After years of not really being in the mix of the top dawgs in bodybuilding, Gunter was now starting to get some recognition and notice by the judges. Next came the 2002 GNC Show of Strength Championships, where Ronnie came 2nd place to Gunter. Something absolutely unheard of since Lee Haney won his first Sandow in 1984. The reigning champ never loses! Not just at the Mr. Olympia, but at any pro show! From there, Ronnie went to work.

Forgetting everything that the critics had to say, Ronnie made it a goal to come in to the 2003 Mr. Olympia Contest at 285 pounds and with a tighter stomach. Working with Chad Nicholls, Ronnie trained hard and dieted accordingly from January 2003 up until the day of the show. The end result? Ronnie came in at a full 287 pounds! And learned how to control his stomach much better than he had in years. In the majority of poses and pictures, his stomach didn't even seem to be a problem. His waist was larger than it had been in previous shows, but was still in the same proportion to the rest of his physique as it had been before (maintaining the same waist-to-shoulder and waist-to-chest ratios).. Not to mention - he was shredded from head to toe - his shoulders, calves, and glutes were ripped to shreds. His back double biceps shot was not as tight as it had been at previous shows, but he had the most impressive rear lat spread I have ever seen from a bodybuilder (even Dorian Yates would not be able to match it).

Go To: CLICK HERE for Pictures of Ronnie Coleman at the 2003 Mr. Olympia Contest!



Since his clear victory at the 2003 Mr. Olympia, Ronnie has improved some more - from 287 pounds in 2003, Ronnie went to 296 pounds at the 2004 Mr. Olympia, up to 301 pounds at the Holland Grand Prix, shredded as always, and as thick as anything!

So what does the future hold for Ronnie Coleman? Who knows how many more Mr. Olympias Ronnie will end up winning? It's really hard to say. I honestly think it's up to him. Providing he doesn't get injured and the judging doesn't change dramatically, he should be able to take home the title for as long as he wants. Many bodybuilders in the past, such as Vince Taylor and Albert Beckles have had years of longevity in the sport of bodybuilding, and were still placing in the money well into their fourties (Albert even qualified for the 1991 Mr. Olympia Contest at the age of 61!).

I think for now, Ronnie will tie the record eight Mr. Olympia wins set by Lee Haney. From there, it depends on too many factors to make any predictions, but I could see Ronnie winning 10 Sandows in total. Realistically, I don't see any of the current crop of pros catching up to Ronnie in terms of the overall muscularity and conditioning which would be required to beat him within the next few years. To put on that kind of mass takes a long time and a lot of work, and Ronnie has really pushed the sport further than anyone in the history of bodybuilding ever has. Now some of you may reference Ronnie's jump in weight from 245 pounds in 2002 to 287 pounds in 2003 to show that any pro can do that, but it would not be accurate. What needs to be considered is that in 2001, Ronnie had competed at 265 pounds. As well, many thought he could have come in even heavier at the time if he had been able to diet more successfully. He was 265 and some say overspilled, but with the potential (in 2001) to have been heavier and tighter with the right game plan. Obviously, Chad Nicholls and Ronnie Coleman have things worked out right now and know what is required to have Ronnie show up huge and consistently in condition. Chad even stated in his 2002 Mr. Olympia Report that he could have had Ronnie come in at 285 pounds in 2002. So the reality was, Ronnie did not gain 42 pounds of pure muscle in a year. He just changed his game plan (mainly in terms of diet and supplementation dramatically and went for a new look. It was a gamble, and had the potential to not turn out as planned - but it did, and now Ronnie is sticking to it. I predict he will be over 300 pounds in every show he enters until he retires. Jay Cutler tried to play the size game, and did well, showing up at the 2004 Mr. Olympia at 275 pounds. An improvement every year of around five pounds is incredible at that level of bodybuilding, but even then, Jay has quite a few years to go to catch up to Ronnie, and as many of you know, Jay is Ronnie's closest competition. So, to think Ronnie will be beat anytime soon is probably a mistake. If Ronnie comes in off, it's possible, but as I said, as long as he comes in ON, and if the judging stays the same (and Ronnie doesn't get any injuries), Ronnie should be Mr. Olympia for a fair time yet.

I wish Ronnie the best and look forward to his showing at the 2005 Mr. Olympia.

Take care,

Matt Canning
webmaster@bodybuildingpro.com

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