QuoteCutler, Jackson and Heath battle it out in Las Vegas
by Shawn Perine
September 26, 2008
In the first Olympia to not feature Ronnie Coleman in 15 years, 19 men took the Orleans Arena stage at the 2008 Mr. Olympia prejudging, and while some of the expected story lines played out, others emerged from seemingly out of the blue.
Jay Cutler, going for his third consecutive title, took the stage surrounded by a whirlwind of talk that he was in the shape of his life, which meant better than the 2001 O form he showed in nearly defeating eight-time winner Coleman. However, the Las Vegas resident didn't quite meet the high standard he set for himself seven years ago, leaving the door open just enough for guys named Dexter and Phil to possibly slip through.
Unquestionably, Jay's legs were "on." His quads looked as if they'd been run over with a cheese grater, so shredded were they. Iron Jay even sported glute striations, something which in the past had been elusive. Jay's upper body, on the other hand, wasn't quite as detailed, and while from the front he was preternaturally wide, something didn't quite translate in the rear shots, particularly in the rear double biceps, in which extra folds of skin not visible in prior years made an appearance. On the whole, Jay was better than last year, but not up to his 2006 form.
In his all-time best form though was Phil Heath who, while not quite as conditioned as he was when winning the Ironman Pro back in February, was noticeably larger. The combination should prove very hard to beat. A star was born tonight and if justice is served, the O rookie will not place lower than third, behind Jay and, possibly, Dexter Jackson.
Dex was Dex, which is to say, very, very good. Excellent, in fact, and maybe even a bit bigger than we've seen him before. His conditioning was great, if not outstanding, which could be the thing that keeps him from winning, or taking second. A couple of other guys had no conditioning issues, however.
Toney Freeman was in the shape of his life. Along with the former three he made the first callout and was bouncing throughout its mandatories with excitement. If he never achieves this shape again, Toney Freeman in the contest established himself as an all-time great Olympia competitor on this evening. Between his size, X-frame and conditioning, he was an Olympian personified.
Yet even Freeman wasn't the best-conditioned guy in the show. That title belonged to the incredible Silvio Samuel, who may have been the best conditioned pro to take a stage since the late Andreas Munzer. Silvio improved upon nearly everything it seems, most noticeably his back and quads. Whereas once (just two years ago) he was criticized for a lack of detail in his quads, on this occasion they were some of the deepest in the show.
Melvin Anthony should make the top six. Although he came out a bit watery, he tightened up considerably as the show progressed. By the time of the callouts, Mel was rockin' and rollin', showing his trademark shape with nice, deep separations. It was good to see Mel at or near his best.
Dennis Wolf may have been the biggest disappointment of the show. Whereas this writer was fully expecting the German Giant to vie with Jay for top honors, he seemed to have lost size from last year's model, and conditioning as well. His formerly vaunted thighs were down in sweep and cuts and his back lost in detail - an area he needed to improve upon.
So, the question remains - will Jay Cutler take Sandow #3 tomorrow night, or will Dexter or Phil upset his applecart? We'll all have to wait and see...
For the record, according to the callouts, it's looking like we could see Jay retaining the title, Dexter as runner-up and Phil in third, but again, tomorrow awaits.
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