Olympia 2016 Preview

2016-olympia-hopefuls

How Will Team ALLMAX Fare

A passionate commitment to reaching the upper-level of one’s physical potential driven by a quest for long-term recognition as being the best of the best motivates each Olympia competitor to strive for perfection on the world’s biggest bodybuilding stage.

The Olympia athlete seeks a level of success that stretches well beyond mere fame and fortune. Having devoted much of their life to reaching the pinnacle of their sport, each Olympian knows that the difference between making history as one of few champions to have hoisted the Sandow aloft and fading into obscurity can be as little as a few extra pounds of evenly distributed muscle or a touch more definition.

Now that the Olympia accommodates a diversity of athletes – from Men’s Physique to Bikini to Figure, Fitness and now Classic Physique – many more competitors strive to experience what the immortals of the sport (from Scott to Schwarzenegger) continue to enjoy decades after their own history-making efforts: legendary status as one of few athletes to win an Olympia title.

For over half a century the world’s best bodybuilders (and, more recently, other phenomenal physique performers – both male and female) have made Olympia gold their mission in life. With the 52nd Olympia set to commence on September 15, the biggest field of athletes ever to contest this pinnacle event will pit bicep against bicep in their respect division’s ultimate showdown.

Leading the charge for ALLMAX Nutrition are top-ranked bodybuilder Steve Kuclo, promising Men’s Physique contender Chase Savoie and Classic Physique newcomer Matt Pattison. Like all Olympians, each of these athletes will be gunning for the top placements with ever-present visions of beating the field influencing how well each has prepared. Like those who have gone before them, the job will not be an easy one. Yet this struggle is what ultimately forges champion performances and makes victory all the more satisfying.

Who will place where and why in this year’s Mr. Olympia, Men’s Physique and Classic Physique classes? My predictions are as follows.

Mr. Olympia

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Fifth place: Steve Kuclo

Coming off a big win at the California Pro in May and looking bigger and better-proportioned than ever is ALLMAX athlete Steve Kuclo who believes his current momentum will put him among the last men standing come Olympia day. This year’s Olympia – Kuclo’s fifth – will see the man known as the King Snake finally slide his way into the upper ranks of this most prestigious event. With enough size to hang with all fellow Olympians and new and improved arms and chest, Kuclo looks ready to make good on this promise.

Fourth place: Josh Lenartowicz

Aussie titan Josh Lenartowicz has the physical impact to really shake up the current IFBB pro standings. The massive contender has some of the best leg and back development in his division. In addition, with top five placements at two Arnold Classics earlier this year, he has proven that he has the conditioning to outclass many a top pro. Look for Josh to make the top five on his first Olympia outing.

Third place: Shawn Rhoden

In making top four in the last four Olympias, and unlucky to not place higher than his third spot in 2015, Shawn Rhoden has proven his worth as a high-caliber Olympian. A career-best Dexter threatening to win a second Sandow and incumbent champ Phil Heath seemingly unbeatable, Rhoden’s undeniably near-perfect shape and evenly distributed mass may not be enough to take victory in 2016.

Second place: Dexter Jackson

At age 46 and with 17 years of pro-level experience fleshing out his decorated resume, a good case could be made for 5-time Arnold Classic champion Dexter Jackson going down in history as the greatest bodybuilder of the modern era. Winning the Olympia (in 2007) and having never missed a year of competition since 1999’s Arnold Classic has made Jackson one of the hardest working pros in the history of the game. Jackson came close to beating 5-time Olympia winner Phil Heath in 2015 and has publicly stated his intention to win this year’s O. If anyone can, he can. But first he will need to get by bodybuilding’s The Gift that keeps on winning.

Winner: Phil Heath

Most insiders have Heath pegged for a sixth Sandow. With an ultra-competitive hoard of hungry contenders ready to dethrone him in 2016, The Gift will be training harder than ever to retain his number one status. His ever-improving physique showed no signs of regression in 2015. Indeed, unlike many former Olympia winners, Heath’s rise to the top has been a meteoric one. With 17 contests and 11 pro wins over a 10-year period marking his near-flawless record, Heath has never placed outside the top five. As competitive as today’s pro scene is, many feel Heath is in a class of his own. Though his stellar record will be threatened come September 16, the smart money would be on The Gift retaining his title.

Men’s Physique

Sixth place: Chase Savoie

Crashing onto the pro scene in 2015 with his first Olympia qualification, Chase Savoie has continued to refine his promising physique to become more and more competitive with each showing. In placing 3rd at the New York Pro and winning the Puerto Rico Pro earlier this year he has proven he is now ready to challenge for the big money. An ALLMAX Nutrition athlete, Savoie has the kind of shape that lends itself well to Men’s Physique: thick muscle bellies, mass in all the right places and great aesthetics. Massive yet sufficiently streamlined, Savoie recently predicted an Olympia win come September 17. While he’ll have a tough job defeating the established elite, he should have no trouble breaking the top six on his second outing.

Fifth place: George Brown

Coming of a big win at this year’s New York Pro, the freakishly developed George Brown will be a legitimate contender for top five honors come Olympia day. Having placed 7th a little off his best form in 2015, Brown, with conditioning nailed down, will be hard to beat.

Fourth place: Dean Balabis

Like George Brown, Dean Balabis has the kind of compact, freaky musculature that captivates the judges’ attention. In placing 6th at the 2015 Olympia, Balabis showed that with a few extra cuts and a little more streamlining he can be a threat on any physique stage.

Third place: Brandon Hendrickson  

Fifth place at the 2015 Olympia does not adequately reflect the enormous pro potential of Brandon Hendrickson. A Men’s Physique pro since 2014 and recent winner of the second biggest show of them all, the Arnold Classic, in 2016, Hendrickson has some of the thickest development in his division and should make top three at this year’s Olympia.

Second place: Jason Poston

Though less physically imposing than Hendrickson, Jason Poston, a pro since 2012, routinely displays the best conditioning in the physique ranks. Winner of four pro shows and having not placed outside of any top three since 2014, Poston should, at this year’s Olympia, go one better than his 2015 placing of third.

Winner: Jeremy Buendia

With five first place finishes in six pro outings decorating his stellar pro resume, two-time and current Olympia Men’s Physique champ Jeremy Buendia is unquestionably the most successful Men’s Physique pro in the sport’s history. Though not the biggest physique competitor on today’s pro scene, Buendia is certainly the most complete. No apparent weaknesses, superior conditioning and a killer stage presence will make him difficult to beat in 2016.

Classic Physique

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Sixth place: Matt Pattison

At 6’ 2” and around 230lbs shredded, Matt Pattison, an ALLMAX athlete, was always a little on the large side for pure Men’s Physique competition. In combining the thickness and muscle maturity of a seasoned bodybuilder with the classic lines and enviable proportions of a physique athlete, Pattison’s physique is, however, tailor made for the new IFBB Classic Physique division. In his Olympia debut and in a class that works perfectly for his dimensions, Pattison predicts top tier success. Few would argue with this assessment.

Fifth place: Arash Rahbar

A bona fide Classic Physique contender, Arash Rahbar has this year already won two Classic Physique events: The New York Pro and Pittsburgh Pro. Though he has the look to make the top three at this year’s Olympia, the contenders ahead of him have more experience at Olympia level. Still, he could just as easily switch places with any of the four athletes listed below. He is that good.

Fourth place: Stan McQuay

A bodybuilding pro since 2009, Stan McQuay has already clocked up some serious Olympia mileage. In three Os, as a 202 and, more recently 212lb athlete the 5’ 5” McQuay has developed a reputation for classic musculature combined with razor conditioning. Too big for physique, the elite trainer has parlayed his talents into Classic Physique competition, winning his first event: the 2016 Salt City Showdown. Bringing the same look with a little more refinement to this year’s Olympia will easily place McQuay in the the top four.

Third place: Danny Hester

Former bodybuilding champion Danny Hester has already made Pro Classic Physique competition history by winning the first of these events, the 2016 MuscleContest Pro on March 3. Since this event he’s been noticeably absent from the stage, competing only once. This means Hester has had plenty of time to prepare for the Olympia, a show he’ll no doubt be hoping to win. With his flawless proportions and full round muscle, Hester will make top three.

Second place: Darrem Charles

A true bodybuilding veteran, Darrem Charles has been on the pro scene since 1992. Despite his smaller size he has racked up 10 pro wins and has seldom placed outside the top ten. His awesome proportions, great symmetry and pin-point conditioning have given him the edge over many a mass monster. Now in the twilight of his career and nearing 50, Darrem has found the perfect means in which to continue his winning ways: Classic Physique competition. The most prolific Classic Physique competitor of 2016 (he’s competed 12 times so far) Darrem has won six shows and finished runner up in the rest. He’ll be fighting for first at the Olympia’s first ever Classic Physique showdown.

Winner: Sadik Hadzovic

Long time Men’s Physique competitor and two-time Olympia runner up Sadik Hadzovic has received high praise from none other than three-time Olympia champion Frank Zane. Considered by Zane to have one of the best proportioned physiques on the planet, Hadzovic has made good use of his physical gifts, winning four pro shows and making top four in the rest. With the timely advent of Classic Physique, Hadzovic’s great shape and complete development will be an unassailable benchmark at this year’s Olympia.

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