Mr. Olympia Part 6: The 2013 Olympia Men’s Open Class Preview

While the annual Olympia extravaganza continues to grow, the open men’s event has on occasion been a predictable affair with the usual heavy hitters in line for the top placements. Emerging talent and surprise entrants have added an element of excitement to the close battles between the top tier competitors. However, picking the order of this year’s top ten will be harder than ever.

With a new generation of formidable pro contenders ready to unseat the established order, the 2013 Olympia men’s open class will be a battle for supremacy among several athletes who, on any given day, could win the title. With such an improvement in competition, and a line-up more stacked than ever, winning this year’s Olympia will not be the formality it has been for previous titleholders.

With a line up as deep as the valley-like cuts adorning the physiques which comprise its ranks, this year’s Olympia will, without question, be the best ever. The world’s biggest physique competition will also have something for everyone. With an equal blending of the massive and the aesthetic and several lucky few who have an ideal ratio of each, the 2013 Olympia will host a field reminiscent of the line ups which typified those of pro bodybuilding’s glory days, where no two physiques were alike.

So, with the biggest Olympia field ever set to converge on the Orleans Arena, many are asking: who will land where, and why? With so many great physiques to hit LasVegas come September 27th, picking the exact order will not be an easy task. But here goes:

10th – Victor Martinez

Making his seventh Olympia appearance is Victor Martinez, the former Arnold Classic champion who came close to winning the big one in 2007 in a controversial decision that saw an off form Jay Cutler snatch his second Olympia title. Blessed with near-perfect shape and enough muscle to stand with the pro division’s best athletes, Martinez has in recent years accumulated a series of injuries, which have diminished his chances of Olympia success. His comeback has been noble and impressive, his legacy well established, but he is past his prime and is unlikely to break this year’s top six.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 8
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 9
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 6
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 7
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 8

Overall score: 38/50

9th – Dennis Wolf

A perennial pro threat, Dennis Wolf is yet to win either of the pro game’s big titles (the Arnold Classic and the biggest of them all, the Olympia). Though he has placed second in his last two Arnold Classic showings and has continued to make gradual improvements in both shape and size, the German Blitzer will be outclassed at this year’s Olympia. While Wolf has the size and impact to theoretically make the top six, he will be up against several men who have equal size but do not share his structural limitations (high lats and small calves).

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 9
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 7
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 8
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 7
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 7

Overall score: 38/50

8th – Branch Warren

Like Martinez, Branch Warren has come extremely close to winning bodybuilding’s biggest title (second in 2009, which he followed up with a third place finish in 2010). A two-time Arnold Classic champion who, in 2012, placed fifth at the Olympia and won two pro shows (including his second Arnold title), Warren is never to be counted out. Not the prettiest physique on the planet, what Branch lacks in pure aesthetics he more than compensates for through his mass appeal and shredded conditioning. However, he will need more than massive muscles and paper thin skin to counter the mass with class presented in the 2013 Olympia line up.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 9
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 7
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 9
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 7
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 8

Overall score: 40/50

7th – Mamdouh Elssbiay

Though many are picking this impressive newcomer to go all the way in his Olympia debut (he has only competed as a pro once, in the New York Pro show, which he won!) ‘Big Ramy’ will be up against the world’s best and will need to bring his best physique to date, not an easy proposition considering the pressure associated with competing in such a big event. However, if the 5’9” 280 pound Mamdouh can surpass his previous competitive shape he may break the top six. If he comes in slightly off there is no way the judges can justify placing him any higher, irrespective of his near-flawless size and shape.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 10
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 8
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 8
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 7
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 5

Overall score: 38/50

6th – Dexter Jackson

One of the old guard scheduled to compete in this year’s Olympia is four-time Arnold Classic champion and former Mr. Olympia (2008) Dexter Jackson. Having contested the pro ranks for an impressive 14 years, Jackson, 43, amazingly continues to improve and is always in the title hunt. With some of the best symmetry and proportion to be found on any pro stage, The Blade, should he bring the conditioning he is famous for, will be hard to out-class. With second to none presentation skills and name recognition the seasoned front-runner will again be difficult to beat. But with the competition having improved vastly from last season it is unlikely he will surpass his fourth place finish of 2012.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 7
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 8
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 10
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 9
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 10

Overall score: 44/50

5th – Cedric McMillan

If breakthrough athlete of 2012 Cedric McMillan can address his recently noted conditioning problems (which led to a shock 12th place finish at this year’s New York Pro) he will have no trouble cracking the 2013 Olympia top six. With perfect symmetry and muscular fullness not normally associated with men of his height (he is 6’ 1”), McMillan will not be difficult to find in this year’s Olympia line up. A desirable combination of aesthetics and size has long been the number one attribute aspiring Olympia contenders have worked to establish. McMillan already has such a look and it is only a matter of time before he is justly rewarded for it. Will this be his year?

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 8
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 9
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 7
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 8
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 5

Overall score: 37/50

4th – Shawn Rhoden

Last year’s third place Olympia finisher Shawn Rhoden has what is referred to in the pro ranks as a polished, complete package. With his undoubted genetic potential and near flawless shape, Rhoden compares favorably with any of his pro peers, Heath included. Now that he has established himself as a legitimate title contender his chances of Olympia success are that much greater. However, at this year’s event he will face a monolithic task in trying to overcome the triple whammy that is Heath, Greene and Cutler.  But if anyone can pull off a shock victory it is Rhoden.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 7
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 9
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 9
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 8
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 5

Overall score: 38/50

3rd – Jay Cutler

Having already proven his Olympia worth with four title wins and multiple runner-up finishes, the ultra thick Jay Cutler will challenge hard for this year’s crown. With reports in that the colossus is in the best shape of his career and ready to upset pro bodybuilding’s number one and two seeded athletes Heath and Greene, Cutler, a veteran whom is however unlikely to recapture his former best conditioning and is in twilight of his career, will be wanting to solidify top dog status among the world’s best.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 10
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 7
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 8
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 8
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 10

Overall score: 43/50

2nd – Kai Greene

The favorite of many to win this year’s event (he probably should have won in 2012) Kai Greene is about as good as it gets in the pro leagues. The most symmetrical and proportionate big man in bodybuilding today (at 5’8” and over 250lbs shredded), Greene, a former two-time Arnold Classic champion and a multiple pro show winner, has the potential to win the Olympia title and defend it for many years to come. With no apparent structural faults and more than enough mass, not to mention unrivaled posing skills, The Predator could, with a slight improvement in conditioning, win big come September 27.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 9
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 9
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 8
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 10
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 8

Overall score: 44/50

1st – Phil Heath

Winner of the last two Olympia’s, and possessing all of the physique attributes needed to win a third, Phil Heath is likely to be crowned the champ in 2013. He will however be in for the fight of his life; should he compete marginally off his best form it is likely he will lose to Kai Greene or another of this year’s highly ranked contenders. For Heath to win he will need to present a better level of conditioning and more aggressive onstage persona in comparison to his 2012 efforts. With his cartoonish muscle bellies, more cuts than a casting call, and sky high confidence levels, The Gift is unlikely to receive one come Olympia day.

Score

Muscle size (sheer volume of mass): 9
Aesthetics (balance, symmetry, and proportion): 9
Conditioning (absence of water retention and crisp muscle definition): 9
Stage presence (posing ability, charisma, winning attitude reflected in body language): 9
Experience (knowing how to dial-in conditioning and size, based on past experience): 8

Overall score: 44/50

Big Names, Bigger Event

Big names: check; impressive newcomers: check; more depth than ever: check; intense rivalries: check. There is little question that this year’s Olympia men’s open class will be the biggest ever. What is not so easy to determine is where each top ranked contestant will finish. Will Big Ramy win his debut, as many are picking? Will four-time champ Jay Cutler win his fifth? Will Phil Heath continue his reign? Will Kai Greene take what many felt was rightfully his in 2012? With such questions awaiting answers, the 2013 Olympia is not to be missed.

Also see:

Mr. Olympia Part 1: Shaping Bodybuilding’s Biggest Showcase – Winners and Trends

Mr. Olympia Part 2: Top 5 Olympia Rivalries

Mr. Olympia Part 3: The 6 Greatest Olympians of All Time

Mr. Olympia Part 4: The 5 Most Controversial Olympia Moments

Mr. Olympia Part 5: The Growth & Evolution of the Biggest Show in Town

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