Making the Cut – Men’s Bodybuilding, Men’s Physique, and Bikini Athletes
Come Thursday September 17, the world’s most physically impressive athletes will, once again, converge on the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, as they prepare to battle it out across seven stacked and ultra-competitive divisions: Mr. Olympia, Fitness Olympia, Figure Olympia, Bikini Olympia, 212 [men’s bodybuilding] Showdown, Men’s Physique and Women’s Physique.
With all fan-favorite formalities – the Mr. Olympia Press Conference and Meet the Olympians events – duly completed on the 17th, the 18th and 19th will showcase the strongest field of Olympia athletes ever to have vied for their respective titles.
Leading the way for Team ALLMAX Nutrition are Mr. Olympia hopefuls big Steve Kuclo, Men’s Physique standouts Michael Anderson and Chase Savoie, and rising Bikini star Noemi Olah, each of whom promises to be at their best and in contention for top honors.
With the enormity of the occasion comes great pressure and, equally, an opportunity to grow as a competitor (to reach Olympia level is one thing; to challenge for the title quite another). So as 2015’s Olympia athletes prepare to challenge for, or defend, their respective titles, ALLMAX Nutrition wishes each the very best. And to all the fans: see you in Vegas.
Mr. Olympia, Men’s Physique, and Bikini athletes reviewed
Mr. Olympia: top six
Sixth place: Steve Kuclo
By breaking into the top ten in his second Mr. Olympia outing in 2014, Steve Kuclo’s
ninth place finish last year gave him the motivation to bring his very best form this year
and is showing the potential to go all the way. Steve made it known that he is ready to challenge for the top placements. He feels that now is the time to bring a Mr. Olympia physique that will push him into the top six.
A mass monster with great lines and near perfect symmetry is a rare thing in today’s bodybuilding game. Yet Kuclo has come as close as any to achieving this coveted look, a look that should earn the 2014 Arnold Classic Brazil champion membership among the IFBB’s elite top tier come September 19.
Fifth place: Dennis Wolf
Notwithstanding two 16th place finishes – in 2006 (his debut) and 2009 (where he competed significantly off his best form due to last minute prep changes) – massive German Dennis Wolf always delivers plenty of shredded muscle on Olympia day. In placing fourth in 2014, Wolf, 36, has shown that he is getting better with age.
Bigger lats, greater thigh sweep, and a smaller waist to further accentuate some of the widest shoulders ever to be seen in the elite ranks make the 2014 Arnold Classic champion a threat on any pro stage.
Fourth place: Dexter Jackson
Though famous for bringing a similar physique to each of his contests, smaller in size than most of his fellow pros, and at retirement age (45) for a 16-year pro veteran such as he, multi-pro show winner and former Mr. Olympia (2008) Dexter Jackson astonishingly continues to improve – a fact made all the more remarkable when you consider that he has not taken a single year off competing since turning pro in 1998.
A record-breaking five-time Arnold Classic champion (2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015), Jackson, with his fifth place finish at the 2014 Olympia, has shown that he is still in contention for a second Sandow. Proportionately perfect from top to bottom and with unrivalled conditioning, The Blade will be number four in 2015.
Third place: Shawn Rhoden
Displaying a physique reminiscent of fellow challenger Dexter Jackson but with around 10lbs more muscle is multi pro-show winner and 2014 Mr. Olympia fourth place finisher Shawn Rhoden. Rhoden has not long been on the pro scene, having turned pro in 2009. Yet during his six-year run he has made considerable progress, going from a still-respectable 11th in his Olympia debut in 2011 to third in 2012.
Showing that he is no fluke, Rhoden maintained his top-six Olympia standing with fourth in 2013 and third again in 2014. With no apparent weaknesses, excellent presentation, and the all-important recognition as being one of the top men to beat, the 2014 Australia Pro Grand Prix Champion will again be hoping to make life difficult for this year’s Olympia field.
Second place: Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
Despite his extremely limited pro experience, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay has enjoyed a stellar pro run, winning his debut at the 2013 New York Pro (repeating this feat in 2014) and making the top-ten at both the 2013 (eighth) and 2014 (seventh) Olympias. Coming off a win at the 2015 Arnold Classic Brazil, Ramy is looking better than ever, and while many consider him a future Olympia winner on the strength of his prodigious size and great proportions,
Ramy himself will have to overcome the immense challenge of taking out the current man to beat: champion Phil Heath.
The question remains: is this his year to finally make the top three? While undoubtedly possessing the size to go all the way, Olympia-winning detail and conditioning have thus far eluded him. These areas must be addressed for Ramy to have any hope of dethroning his fellow top-tier athletes. With two Olympia appearances behind him, one suspects it will be third time lucky for the massive Egyptian.
First place: Phil Heath
Four-time Olympia winner and incumbent champion Phil Heath will be the favorite to win this year’s title. Should the man fittingly referred to as The Gift bring the shape, size and conditioning of 2014, few will come close to disrupting his reign. With age on his side and the likelihood of becoming even better over time, Heath, 35, could eclipse the record of eight consecutive Olympia wins set by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman.
Like all multi-Olympia winners, Heath does not present a consistently flawless physique with each title defence
in 2014 his lesser condition further closed the distance between him and runner-up Kai Greene.
Indeed, with much pressure placed on him to bring the shape he is renowned for, the strain is beginning to show. But true champions are known for delivering when it counts and Heath is no exception. With Kai out of the 2015 running, Heath’s grasp on a fifth title is looking ever-more certain.
Note: Kai Greene
A massive favorite to challenge Heath for this year’s title is Kai Greene, runner-up at the last three Olympias and the only man to have truly tested the current Mr. O. Unfortunately Kai is out this year, giving Heath a clearer path to becoming a five-time Olympia champion. Prior to Kai being ruled out of the 2015 Olympia this author had him winning the show.
So good is Phil Heath that he could compete slightly off his best form and still win the title against most Olympia contenders. However, current nemesis Kai Greene – whom he battled it out with both verbally and physically in 2014 – is not, by a wide margin, your average pro. Coming close to winning in 2012, 2013, and 2014,
Greene has more than enough proportionate muscle to take the title yet has been held back by his inconsistent conditioning
– with poorer muscular detail compared to Heath, Greene must be super-shredded to stand any chance of unseating the champ in each of the eight comparison poses. Now that he has had enough time to perfect the Olympia peaking process, 2015 is likely to be the year of the Predator.
Men’s Physique: top six
Sixth place: Chase Savoie
Considering he has only competed in the pro ranks twice – both times making the top three (second place at the 2015 New York Pro and first place at the 2015 Puerto Rico Pro) – ALLMAX Nutrition athlete Chase Savoie remains untested at elite level against the world’s best Physique athletes.
However, with his amazing pro potential and desire to impress in his first big Physique showdown Savoie will,
in his Olympia debut, make the top six.
This placement will establish him as one of the Physique division’s top tier competitors and mark him as a top-six favorite for 2016.
Fifth place: Michael Anderson
ALLMAX Nutrition athlete Michael Anderson has been contesting the Men’s Physique Olympia since the division’s inception in 2013, making the top-ten both times – seventh in 2013 and eighth in 2014. Sporting beautiful lines and probably the best V-taper in the division, Anderson, with his recent improvements in balanced size and conditioning, is ready to finally break the top six at this year’s event.
Fourth place: Matt Acton
At 170lbs, 2015 IFBB Miami Beach Pro champ Matt Acton is one of the smaller Men’s Physique athletes on today’s pro circuit. This has not stopped him from winning five contests and placing top six in many others since turning pro at the NPC Nationals in 2011. In fact, so refined and symmetrically superb is Acton’s shredded physique that he has placed third and fourth respectively in his last two Olympias – besting 2013 winner Mark Antony Wingson in 2014.
Despite this year’s competition being stronger than ever and with many former top contenders promising to be at their best, Matt will again make the top six, and, should he bring his best shape, is likely to reprise his 2014 performance.
Third place: Jason Poston
Upon breaking onto the pro Physique scene with a third place finish at the 2012 Houston Pro, many fans and insiders picked 190lb Texan Jason Poston to challenge hard for 2013’s first Olympia Physique event. Challenge he did, securing fifth place in his first major event and setting himself up for a stellar competitive run in 2014, the year he achieved four victories and a third place Olympia finish.
Securing a runner-up finish at this year’s Arnold Classic behind fellow Olympia front-runner Sadik Hadzovic has Poston perfectly positioned for a top placement at the 2015 Olympia. Though the physically near-flawless Poston does have Olympia-winning potential he will, however, need to overcome the immense challenge of current favorites Jeremy Buendia and Sadik Hadzovic.
Second place: Jeremy Buendia
Having won the title on his second attempt in 2014, current Olympia Men’s Physique champion Jeremy Buendia is not only the clear favorite going into this year’s event but also one athlete who, at age 24 and with further improvements to be made, could retain the title for many years. Though short and compact for an elite physique competitor, the 5’ 8”
Buendia has no physical weaknesses;
possessing complete development that is both proportionately precise and super shredded, the multi pro-show winner – having won four of his five pro events, the only loss being the 2013 Olympia, where he placed second – will be looking to secure his second Olympia title in 2015. Though few would be brave enough to bet against him, one man will be banking on a major upset.
Winner: Sadik Hadzovic
In contesting 2014’s Olympia title against eventual winner Jeremy Buendia, current Arnold Classic Champ Sadik Hadzovic sported a massively improved physique to that which earned him fourth in 2013. Since winning his pro debut, the 2012 Valenti Gold Pro Cup,
the former Yugoslavian refugee Hadzovic has placed no lower than fourth in each of his nine pro events.
If having won four pro contests and having placed second in three, all well below his athletic potential, which he has finally realized in 2015, is any indication then Hadzovic will take some beating at this year’s Olympia. On the strength of his recent improvements – more muscle overall to fill out his 1.8m frame – the ultra symmetrical Hadzovic will win a closely fought decision come September 19.
Bikini: top six
Sixth place: Noemi Olah
Having secured her second pro win at the 2015 Battle on the Beach Pro and a seventh place finish at the prestigious Arnold Classic earlier in the year, top ranked IFBB bikini Pro and
ALLMAX Nutrition athlete Noemi Olah has finally found the form she feels will place her in the top six
at this year’s Olympia. Finishing ninth in 2014 with a beautifully balanced and ultra tight physique, Noemi is well in the Olympia mix and is only getting better. Since turning pro at the 2010 Arnold Classic she has contested the world’s biggest bikini battle three times – in 2010 (16th), 2013 (16th), and 2014 (ninth). With her experience and the improvements in muscle density and balance she has made with each competitive outing, this year will be Noemi’s time to make the final six.
Fifth place: India Paulino
Falling from fifth place in 2013 to sixth in 2014 has not stopped long-time bikini standout India Paulino from continuing to chase her dream of winning the Bikini Olympia. In fact, if anything, it has strengthened her resolve to return better than ever – with three out of three wins in her last three contests (the Miami Muscle Beach, Pittsburg, and New York Pro shows) the perfectly proportioned Paulino has proven her pro potential and promises to pressure the opposition come September 18.
Fourth place: Yeshaira Robles
Though non-competitive in 2015, Yeshaira Robles has an impressive pro resume with multiple wins and top six placements. Most importantly, her Olympia and Arnold Classic record alone has her among the world’s top bikini athletes: fourth and second respectively at the 2013 Arnold and Olympias, and second and fourth respectively in 2014.
Off her best in form in 2014, Robles sufficiently impressed Olympia judges and spectators with her stunning stage presence and classy physique. With a touch more hardness she should find herself back in the top rankings in 2015 with a placement no lower than fourth.
Third place: Stacey Alexander
Since turning pro at the 2011 NPC Nationals, current Puerto Rico Pro champ Stacey Alexander has competed a staggering 19 times, making the top three in or winning most events. Placing third in her last two Olympias has positioned the black-haired beauty as one to watch in 2015. She will be hoping that her motto “get it right, keep it tight” will carry her to success when she again faces her fellow Olympia bikini elite this weekend.
Second place: Ashley Kaltwasser
After a shaky start (fifth at the 2012 Houston Pro and 10th at the 2013 Arnold Classic), reigning Bikini Olympia champion Ashley Kaltwasser has placed no lower than second in 17 pro events – winning 12 and securing two Olympia titles.
Without question the most successful bikini athlete to have competed over the past two years,
Kaltwasser has distanced herself from the bulk of her pro peers and, with her onstage charisma and perfect shape, appears to be untouchable as she prepares to defend her title in 2015. However, for the first time in two years she will be truly challenged by the competitor who bumped her into second at this year’s Arnold Classic Australia.
Winner: Janet Layug
Current Arnold Classic Australia bikini champ Janet Layug has been on the pro bikini scene since 2014 – she placed eighth at her pro debut, the Arnold Classic – but despite her relative lack of experience has won three pro shows out of seven and has come ultra close to winning the Olympia.
Layug, in challenging current champ Ashley Kaltwasser for the 2014 Bikini Olympia title, looked every inch a champion and could easily have switched places with the eventual winner.
Now, with a near-flawless 2015 to support her Olympia campaign – having won her last two events; the aforementioned Arnold, and the New Zealand Pro – she is ready to take her first big title.
To contest the Olympia means to have reached the very pinnacle of physical excellence.
Each athlete to compete on this year’s Olympia stage has worked diligently for many years – some for decades – to achieve the honor of becoming an elite performer in their chosen discipline. All consider Olympia inclusion to be the culmination of a life devoted to high-level training, nutritional excellence, advanced supplementation, and the fostering of a championship mindset.