2006 MR. OLYMPIA REPORT BY WAYNE GALLASCH
The words on everyone’s lips this year were - could Jay finally pull it off after 4 times in second place – or would Victor Martinez cause the biggest upset of all time, or would Ronnie break Lee Haney’s record. The bodybuilding world was seething with rumors that this might be the year for change. Whatever happened, history would be made – either Ronnie would make it a record 9 wins, eclipsing Lee Haney, or he would be dethroned.
One of the biggest surprises was Branch Warren’s low placing of 12th after such an outstanding debut at the Arnold. Maybe he was a little burnt out by too many competitions in too short a time, as he did not display the muscularity he showed a year ago. After the Arnold he made the long journey to Australia for their Grand Prix.
Vince Taylor made the top 15 after 5 years out of the sport. His posing was elegant and graceful before he went into a reprise of his famous ‘Terminator” routine. I would have liked to have seen a new routine in place of The Terminator performance. At 50 years of age he was by far the oldest man in the contest and Vince is starting to lose muscle thickness in the legs which is understandable at his age. He still looked fantastic.
Gunter Schlierkamp slipped this year to 10th place and seemed to be lacking a little in abs and overall hardness. Dennis James, at 9th, would seem to be on the Olympia slide caused partly by carrying too much mass on his frame. This completely destroys the midsection and overall symmetry. I feel that Dennis could return to the top 6 again if he came in lighter and tighter.
In 8th place Markus Ruhl of Germany was in the most amazing shape of his life and galvanized the crowd into action, as they chanted RUUUUUL every time his name was mentioned by the head judge. His vascularity was awesome with skin so thin that it was almost transparent. He deserved a higher placing than 8th, and I sensed at the prejudging he was being overlooked. I felt he should have placed above Melvin Anthony who was 5th. Ruhl's quads could have been a little larger and his lats a little lower. However he made the rest of the field look like midgets (most of them anyway) and his condition was superb. I did note that as soon as Ronnie Coleman stood next to him he stepped back a little and his eyes look down. With more confidence this will not happen although standing next to Ronnie puts fear into most competitors.
In 7th place it was Toney Freeman, in what was a superb Olympia debut, and showed great showmanship, symmetry and condition to be a top 3 contender next year. His famous X-pose brought the house down, and he is one of the taller men who actually had a good mid-section. Definitely a man to watch in the future.
In 6th place Gustavo Badell looked pretty much the same as last year and lacked the crisp muscularity and mid-section to place any higher this time. He finished 20 points behind Melvin and I though this placing could have gone either way.
5th place went to the world’s greatest poser, Melvin Anthony. In my opinion he looked better last year weighing around 9 pounds less and was fortunate that the judges seemed to like his heavier look and awarded him his highest ever Olympia placing. As usual his routine was outstanding. Melvin is always a class act and was the funniest man at the Press Conference with his dry comments.
4th place went to a rather tired Dexter Jackson, which proves once again that it is very hard to successfully complete the double of winning the Arnold Classic and placing very high in the Olympia 7 months later. Dexter always displays great symmetry but his razor sharp definition was not quite there this year. His back poses always bring the house down.
3rd place went to the very impressive Victor Martinez of the Dominican Republic. He displayed the most amazing leg development and separation which sent the audience into a frenzy. His upper body is equally outstanding and in my opinion he is a future Mr. Olympia. He posed magnificently and displayed a well controlled mid-section. Could have been a touch sharper and is still improving each year.
When it came to announcing first and second the joint MC’s Shawn Ray and Bob Cicherillo said they would go straight from third place to announcing the winner, leaving Ronnie and Jay in a state of great stress and nervousness. The tension was palpable. When Jay was announced the winner, the audience went wild, and almost lifted the roof off with the rapturous cheers and applause. People stood and applauded making it nearly impossible to take good photographs from the press pit. In a sense this was a bit surprising because Ronnie went into the evening finals in my opinion as a clear favorite with the crowd, but as the show progressed it was evident that the wind may be changing direction. By the end of the night it seemed that Jay was ”THE MAN”. The tide started to turn when Jay came on stage to pose to massive applause with the crowd going wild as he hit each pose. I should mention that Las Vegas is also Jay’s home town!
Many will ask how did Jay beat Ronnie, since defending champ Ronnie was the bigger man, especially in the legs, arms, back and delts. Ronnie has been a fantastic Mr. Olympia champion, not just once but 8 times in a row. In fact I believe that Ronnie has legitimate claim to the title of the greatest bodybuilder of all time. For further evidence of this check him out in the DVD “Ronnie Coleman – On the Road”.
The grand entrance and entertaining posing routine preformed by Ronnie was incredible. However it would take too long for this short report to describe it here. You will need to wait for the Olympia DVD to see it. I hope it will all be included.
I photographed Ronnie and Jay in identical poses during the compulsories preceding the posedown catching them tensed in the pose, and relaxed between each pose. During the actual pose it really was line ball between the two of them. When they were relaxed between poses, Jay may have had a small edge. Everything was line ball although most agreed including the judges that Jay was a fraction tighter. Being a few years younger than Ronnie may have also helped Jay’s cause in what was a close decision – closer than the points would seem to indicate. Although Jay was similarly huge, the judges felt that his slightly better condition was sufficient to finally take the title he has strived for over the past 6 or 7 years. Ronnie’s fans felt otherwise.
I did feel that Jay’s tan was again a little too dark but that is only splitting hairs and a personal opinion. At the same time I would have preferred to see Gunter’s tan a little darker. I have not actually said much about Jay Cutler’s physique. He has an excellent overall package and I let the photos that appear on many different sites do to rest of the talking.
Ronnie was most gracious in defeat and being a true champion I have no doubt he will be back next year to try to regain the crown he feels should still belong to him. No disrespect to Ronnie this year being runner-up, with Jay now having the big task ahead of him to see if he can retain his title next year. Ronnie is now on a tour of Australia where he enjoyed record attendances at every venue last year. Touring the vast continent of Australia is extremely hard work and Ronnie has done it a number of times. (Jay has not yet undertaken a posing tour of Australia.) For Ronnie’s Aussie tour info, see http://www.dohertysgym.com
The Mr. Olympia participation medals were all presented after the top 15 had been announced, and it appeared that some of the competitors didn’t know this was going to take place, because several of them were not present. I would suggest it be done earlier in the show next year.
Finally a comment on the Expo. GMV Productions (www.gmv.com.au) had a DVD booth as usual, and for us it was the most successful Olympia Expo ever. The crowd packed the Las Vegas Convention Centre on each of the two days, but it is a great shame that the Expo has to be held in a different venue to the Olympia competition.
My further comments summing up the Olympia Weekend and the Women’s events will be in my Olympia report Part 2.
Click here to pre-order the Men's DVD.
GMV has a large range of DVDs featuring Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler please click here.
1 Jay Cutler
2 Ronnie Coleman
3 Victor Martinez
4 Dexter Jackson
5 Melvin Anthony
6 Gustavo Badell
7 Toney Freeman
8 Markus Ruhl
9 Dennis James
10 Gunter Schlierkamp
11 Vince Taylor
12 Branch Warren
13 Johnnie Jackson
14 Darrem Charles
15 Troy Alves
DNP Paco Bautista, Rodney St. Cloud, Ronny Rockel, Mustafa Mohammad, David Henry.
Click here for the women's results.
Wayne's Olympia photos and reports on the female competitions will be posted on his return after the NABBA Universe.