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Olympia battle in Las Vegas

Mike King

Olympia battle in Las Vegas

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It’s a historic weekend in the bodybuilding world.

Tonight in the United States, the most muscular and sculpted physiques on the planet will grace the stage for the 50th edition of Mr Olympia, the ultimate in bodybuilding’s professional ranks.

The Olympia – being held in Las Vegas for the 16th year in a row – will host plenty of top-tier talent combined with fresh faces who wish to break through to the coveted top six.

Phil “The Gift” Heath, has conquered the field for the last three years and most bets will be on him to make a successful defence of his title. With few weaknesses and super shape, he will be tough to dethrone.

Heath has been nicknamed “The Gift” because of his great genetics that have allowed him to transform his back, once one of his weak points, to one of his strong points.

Every year the competition seems to be getting tougher and tougher and if the five-foot 9-inch Heath is slightly off his game, another competitor could topple bodybuilding’s current king.

Aside from the obvious threat posed by Kai “The Predator” Greene, there is Mamdouh Elssbiay (aka “Big Ramy”), Dennis Wolf, Shawn Rhoden, and Dexter Jackson. Every one of these behemoths continues to up their game with each Olympia outing.

Greene, runner-up for the last two years, is always in contention for an Olympia win.

The Predator is ahead of Heath in terms of width, lower back density, and leg development, but conditioning always seems to be a bugbear for him. This time he will be seeking to capture that grainy, hard look that Heath has so magnificently displayed for each of his Olympia wins.

Clearly, the 2014 Olympia will have no shortage of stellar athletes. With contenders like The Wolf, The Predator, and the Gift vying for ultimate honours, Olympia’s top ten this year will light up the Las Vegas stage with the world’s best physiques.

The event has a Caribbean flavour with the presence of the majestic Rhoden, who was in Barbados last November as a guest poser at the Darcy Beckles Invitational Classic. The Jamaican, known for his statuesque front double biceps pose and quad striations, walked away with US$50 000 last season after taking fourth place.

The buzz backstage is that the 44-year-old Jackson has added mass and retained that rare combination of full, round muscle and super-shredded conditioning he is known for.

Top-rated nutrition consultant and trainer George Farah is responsible for the new-look Jackson, who wants back the title he won in 2008.

Wolf stunned the bodybuilding world last year with an impressive third and once more much is expected of the German terrier. If he contines to improve, the Arnold Classic champion will be a threat to all and sundry.

Victor Martinez had a disappointing 13th-place finish at last year’s Olympia, but muscle fans know what he is capable of. At the Tampa Pro, he seemed more streamlined than ever and won decisively and will always be a factor with his great structure.

Branch Warren still possesses the “freak factor” and tree-trunk legs that have made him a household name in bodybuilding circles, but he seems to be on the decline and may struggle to make the top ten.

Wiliam Bonac, who will be making his Olympia debut, could be the X factor. The 2014 Golden State Pro winner and Australian Pro Grand Prix runner-up possesses that rare combination of full, round muscle and spectacular shape. With copious amounts of thick, shredded muscle evenly distributed across his compact frame, the Ghana native is ready to do some serious damage in bodybuilding’s elite ranks.