Tough going for Bajans
BARBADIANS Lyndon Belgrave and Roslyn Vanterpool gave it their best shot but came in short at this year’s Olympia muscle, figure and fitness treat that will best be remembered for the enthralling showdown between gladiators Phil “The Gift”?Heath and Kai “The Predator”?Greene.
Before a standing room only audience at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Belgrave failed to make the top six of the 212 and under-class while Vanterpool missed out on her debut at the Figure Olympia over the weekend.
History was created nevertheless as this was the first time that tiny Barbados was represented at both Olympia events.
Vanterpool, 47, a former student of St Leonard’s Girls’, showcased tone, shape and symmetry in a high-class contest won by American Erin Stern while Belgrave, 42, a product of Grantley Adams Memorial, was outgunned for upper torso mass in the newly created 212 and under-class won by 29-year-old Welshman James “Flex”?Lewis.
The unquestioned highlight of the weekend was the stirring duel between the impressive Heath, the defending champion, and Greene, who was mean, massive and muscular.
Heath won a memorable confrontation and walked away with US$250 000 and the accolade of being crowned the finest bodybuilder on the planet, but there can be no denying that the monstrous Greene, who came in at his all-time best shape, has closed the gap.
There were 19 men in the contest but it was clear Joe Weinder’s Mr Olympia 2012 was a two-man race between Heath and Greene.
Reports indicated that things were looking great for Greene at the start, but after going side by side with Heath during the confirmation round, Greene looked inferior to the reigning champion.
The roundness of Heath’s muscles topped that of Greene’s and while the two were comparable from the back, Heath’s density made the difference. It was Heath’s rear lat pose that showed his superior thickness.
When the 32-year-old Heath was announced as the winner, he fell to the ground, overcome with emotion. Finally, he rose and spoke.
“Wow. I can’t believe it. Wow. First of all, I’d like to thank God. Over the past year, I’ve gone through so much – and it’s been a helluva fast year. I have to give props where props are due. Especially to Kai Greene. I want to give a round of applause to all the guys who competed.
“As I was getting ready for this contest, I was doing an appearance in Trinidad and Tobago, and I saw that 70 people were slain in the Colorado shooting. And the wildfires. I told my best friend that I have to win [the Mr Olympia] for them. People in Colorado are resilient. I wanted to give them something to smile about,” said the Colorado native.
The biggest surprise of the night was the stunning performance of Shawn Rhoden, who took third after placing 11th last year. African Americans made a clean sweep of the top four spots with Dexter The Blade” Jackson returning to his best orm to claim fourth.
Jackson, the 2008 Mr Olympia, has been a shadow of himself over the last two years, but brought back that muscle detail to eclipse other big names such as the Texas rattlesnake Branch Warren and the German terrier Dennis Wolf.
Lionel Beyeke, who was sixth in this year’s Arnold Classic, also caught the eye of the judges. Beyeke, who was born in Cameroon but competes for France, was tenth in the world-class line-up.