|Richard Jones - the Next Shawn Ray?
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Richard Jones - the Next Shawn Ray?
Richard Jones is a hot new bodybuilder superstar in the IFBB. He recently got his IFBB pro card by winning the light heavyweight & overall at the NPC USA Championships. Soon thereafter he got his first FLEX magazine cover:
Richard Jones has a nice, streamlined, aesthetically pleasing physique. He is smaller (compared to the top guys like Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Markus Ruhl, among others), but has such great lines that he was immediately advertised as the next Shawn Ray.
Now, you probably all remember when Gunter Schlierkamp placed fifth at the 2002 Mr. Olympia Contest to some of the top bodybuilders in the world, and beat Ronnie Coleman at the 2002 GNC Show of Strength Championships. IMMEDIATELY after that, FLEX magazing advertised Gunter as the next Mr. Olympia. But was all this press good or bad for Gunter? I think it may have been good in some ways, as it put him in the spotlight. But it also put Gunter in a position which might be hard to keep up with (at least presently). That is, to try to beat Ronnie Coleman. This is a difficult task that probably no current bodybuilder could be successful at.
Now back to our man of the hour Richard Jones. Richard is a great bodybuilder - in fact, he has the kind of physique I would like to see more of on stage. It is extremely entertaining to see big muscular freaks waddle along the pro bodybuilding stages, but to me, bodybuilding should be about balance - about getting the right amount of shape, symmetry and overall proportion, while being healthy and also maintaining balance in your day to day life. I can't say that a certain bodybuilder or bodybuilders lead an unbalanced life - but what I do know is that to take bodybuilding to the level that it is at today at the highest level of competition, it DOES require a lot of time and effort - to the point where even the genetically elite need to dedicate their lives to it in order to succeed. To me this is not balance. I do know one thing - Richard Jones is an educated man. He is a college graduate and has taken a long time to become pro because he felt college was important and gave that his main effort. To me that is the kind of person I want to see succeeding in bodybuilding - somebody who is balanced both in terms of his physique and his life.
But the fact remains - Richard Jones is considered to be the next Shawn Ray - and that's not good at this point in his career. Richard is awesome, don't get me wrong, and in terms of marketability, Richard could probably sell bodybuilding as well as Shawn did and currently is. They are both handsome men with great physiques. But strictly in terms of being among the top bodybuilders in the world - Richard is not at Shawn's level. At least not yet. What I see happening is people coming to expect too much from Richard, and being disappointed if he doesn't deliver, and that isn't a good thing.
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