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2009 Arnold Classic: The Year In Review

D

DriDDeRz

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A look back at the 2008 Arnold Classic

Last year at the 2008 Arnold Classic, with '07 defending champion Victor Martinez sidelined with a knee injury (torn patellar tendon), the heavy favorites were '05-'06 Arnold champion Dexter Jackson and '06 Colorado Pro and New York Pro winner Phil Heath. The only previous meeting between the two at the '07 Arnold resulted with Heath finishing in fourth behind Gustavo Badell and Jackson getting runner-up to eventual winner Martinez. But Jackson, a solid front-runner in any show he enters, had cause for concern as Heath's spectacular victory at the Ironman Pro just two weeks earlier generated plenty of industry buzz.

In the end, Jackson went on to win his third Arnold title while Heath had to settle for second; but the young blood had clearly closed the gap on the seasoned veteran. Of course, Jackson captured the Olympia that September with Heath finishing in third behind second place finisher and now former Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.

This year, with both Jackson and Heath focusing on the Olympia in September, all eyes are on Martinez and his return to the competitive stage. Martinez finished second to Jay Cutler at the 2007 Olympia in what many considered to be a controversial decision as he was at or near his all-time best and Cutler was far from his. The aforementioned injury kept him from competing in 2008 but by all reports, he is hungry and eager to take the stage once more. Add Kai Greene, Toney Freeman, Branch Warren (also returning from injury), Silvio Samuel, Dennis James, Moe El Moussawi and Ahmad Haidar among others and you have a stellar lineup for the big spring classic.

But before we raise the curtain on the 2009 Arnold Classic on March 5-7th in Columbus, Ohio, and before we blast off our week-long AC preview right here on Flexonline.com, let's turn back the clock and revisit the 2008 Arnold and see what happened during March Madness, bodybuilding style.

Coleman, Cormier and James Video Preview of the Arnold Classic

February 29th, 2008

Two days before the Arnold Classic, we gathered some of the biggest names in the industry at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to break down the lineup and offer some predictions in a video preview of Saturday's 20th Arnold Classic.

Check out the video as eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, six-time Arnold Classic runner-up Chris Cormier and Dennis James preview one of the biggest contests of the year.

And be sure to check out the Flex Forums for the Arnold prejudging on Saturday, beginning at noon EST, as Coleman and Cormier comment on the competitors.

2008 Arnold Classic Prejudging Report
Jackson looks to be in lead after Arnold prejudging

It was in with old and in with the new at the Arnold Men's Classic men's prejudging on Saturday, as both the old guard and the new blood made their case for cracking the top four at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum.

At the top of the order, the battle between Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath took center stage, as the 39-year-old Jackson - a two-time Arnold Classic winner already - and the 28-year-old Heath went pose for pose in four callouts during the prejudging. And although Heath has made vast improvements - reportedly coming in at 235 pounds, 18 pounds heavier than in 2007 - over the last year, the version of Dexter Jackson that stepped onstage at this Arnold Classic is perhaps the best Dexter we have ever seen. Jackson was his typical striated and shredded self ... times two, and the reported five pounds of muscle Jackson put on since the 2007 Olympia had no effect on his conditioning. That combination will likely catapult Jackson into the top spot, and put him in elite company as the third man in the 20-year-history the event to win three Arnold Classics.

Stepping back into the limelight and regaining the form that saw him finish as the runner-up at this contest in 2006, Branch Warren was full, thick, and shredded. Warren had the best legs
in the show, feathered and massive, and will likely take home the third spot.

Kai Greene, making his Arnold Classic debut, more than held his own amid the toughest field he has been against to date and will likely grab the four spot in this ultra-competitive lineup. Greene's hamstrings were etched and hanging, but a film of water in his upper body looks to prevent him from moving up any further in this order.

A spot-on Silvio Samuel came in much sharper than he was at the Ironman Pro two weeks ago and will likely grab the No. 5 spot in the order. It is the second consecutive successful outing for the ultra-conditioned Samuel at this contest, as he will look to add a top-five finish to his sixth-place finish at the event in 2007.

Check back later tonight for final results from the Arnold Classic.

And make sure to check the FLEX Blog. for exclusive prejudging commentary from eight-time Mr. Olympia
Ronnie Coleman and six-time Arnold Classic runner-up Chris Cormier.

Images of MELVIN ANTHONY

Images of GUSTAVO BADELL

Images of ADORTHUS CHERRY

Images of TONEY FREEMAN

Images of KAI GREENE

Images of DESHAWN GRIMEZ

Images of PHIL HEATH


Images of DAVID HENRY

Images of DEXTER JACKSON

Images of JOHNNIE JACKSON

Images of DESMOND MILLER

Images of RONNY ROCKEL


Images of SILVIO SAMUEL

Images of BRANCH WARREN

Images of MOE ELMOUSIE


Images From The FIRST COMPARISON ROUND

Images From The SECOND COMPARISON ROUND




2008 Arnold Classic Finals

On a night when all past Arnold Classic champions were honored, it only seemed fitting that one of the men from the past would seize the moment in the present. In perhaps his best-ever form, Dexter Jackson held off a hard-charging Phil Heath to win his third Arnold Classic on Saturday at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Columbus, Ohio.

In the process, Jackson became the third competitor to win three titles in the 20-year history of the event, joining four-time champion Flex Wheeler and three-time champion Jay Cutler. "This is a dream come true," Jackson said.

Heath, for his part, was much improved from a year ago when, after winning the first two professional contests of his career, he came into the 2007 Arnold riding a wave of pre-contest hype and a boatload of questions concerning just how good he actually was. After a relatively disappointing fifth-place finish last year, he took the year off with an eye on adding some much-needed size for his return to Columbus. Mission accomplished, as Heath took the stage at 235 pounds - 18 more than his weight a year ago - and more than held his own against Jackson for most of the prejudging. In the end though, the best version of Jackson was too much not just for Heath, but everyone else in the ultra-competitive lineup.

Kai Greene, perhaps the most improved athlete
on the circuit last year, made his Arnold debut a successful one by placing third. Greene displayed a good combination of size and conditioning, although it could be argued that fourth-place finisher Branch Warren out-did him in both departments. Warren, the clear-cut crowd favorite regained the form that saw him place second at the Arnold in 2006 and showed up in excellent condition.

Silvio Samuel moved up one spot from last year, placing fifth. Samuel, who was slightly off at the Ironman Pro two weeks ago compared to his customary razor-sharp condition, edged past sixth-place finisher Gustavo Badell by a single point.

ARNOLD CLASSIC FINAL RESULTS
1. Dexter Jackson
2. Phil Heath
3. Kai Greene
4. Branch Warren
5. Silvio Samuel
6. Gustavo Badell
7. Toney Freeman
8. Melvin Anthony
9. Johnnie Jackson
10. Desmond Miller
11. Moe Elmoussawi
12. David Henry
13. Ronny Rockel
14. Deshaun Grimez
15. Adorthus Cherry


Arnold Classic Recap
March 5th, 2007

It's been four days since all the placings were passed out at the Arnold Classic, and the dust has finally settled on all the happenings from ASC Weekend. Today, we review some of the participants who hit the mark and some who missed the mark, along with some of the more memorable quotes from one of the biggest weekends in bodybuilding.

If you weren't able to make it, don't worry - hundreds of expo pics and expo video starring Dennis James are on the way tomorrow.

Hit The Mark
DEXTER JACKSON
Simply put, the best Dexter Jackson we've ever seen. With a new generation -- led by Phil Heath and Dennis Wolf -- nipping at his heels, the 39-year-old Jackson knew he couldn't stand pat. The major complaint against Jackson coming in to this show was the fact that, in recent years, it was the same version of Dexter Jackson every time he set foot on stage. Enter the 2008 version of Dexter Jackson. Jackson was reportedly five to seven pounds bigger (we'll say closer to four or five), and it showed -- but not in his conditioning, which was better than we've seen it in his last few outings. Had Victor Martinez been healthy, it's debatable whether even he would have been able to stop the Jackson express from winning his third Arnold Classic.

KAI GREENE
Questions surrounded the enigma that is Kai Greene entering this show. Greene hadn't competed since bursting on the scene in the spring of 2007, a season which he capped off by winning the 2007 Colorado Pro. Greene was reportedly coming in to the Arnold 20 pounds heavier, a report that opened a lot of eyes but also brought a host of critics claiming his condition would suffer. And while he wasn't as sharp as he was in Colorado, he was bigger, and that combination vaulted him into third ahead of established veterans like Melvin Anthony, Gustavo Badell and Toney Freeman. Competing on the biggest stage of his career, Greene rose to the occasion, and displayed none of the pre-show jitters that can affect a first-timer's performance at the Arnold.

BRANCH WARREN
Thick, shredded and as serious as a heart attack, Branch returned to the form that saw him place second at the Arnold Classic in 2005. After a series of sub-par finishes -- not withstanding his controversial win at the 2007 New York Pro -- Warren took the rest of the year off, skipping last year's Olympia, The time off served him well, as Warren made a case for the top five as soon as he stepped onstage and drove the crowd into a frenzy. Leading up to this contest, Warren had been written off by critics -- the writer of this piece included. But Warren forced all of those critics to eat their words, as The People's Champ cemented himself as a legitimate threat to crack the top five at this year's Olympia.
 
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tkD

tkD

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Can't wait for this year's ASC! Last year was a great lineup, missing only Victor, but we'll see him in a few days.

Thx D!
 
FlexFan

FlexFan

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Branch placed 2nd in 2006 not 2005 as they wrote...
 

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