Mr. Olympia 2016 Preview
By Raymond Shipley
It is once again September and the Superbowl of bodybuilding, the Mr. Olympia competition, is upon us. Current title holder, Phil Heath, is on track to potentially win his 5th Sandow (Mr. Olympia title) but he does face some stiff competition.
For the past several years Dennis Wolf of Germany has offered solid top five placing, and with his size and conditioning he is likely to remain a threat to take Heath's crown. Limited by his height, high lats and calves, Wolf remains a contender and has been this author's favorite in the open class for several years.
Wolf's only real competition in the size category is Big Ramy. Ramy, real name Mamdouh Elssbiay, is a whopping 5'10 and over 300 pounds, making him one of the biggest bodybuilders of all time. Fortunately for his competition, what he has in size he lacks in conditioning and muscle maturity; Ramy has never been able to bring in a complete package and suffers from softness and underdeveloped hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Still, in the event he were to show up dialed in, he would be near impossible to beat.
Despite the trend of "bigger is better" these past decades in bodybuilding, Shawn Rhoden continues to defy by actually having a waistline. The aesthetics of bodybuilding have suffered because of the mass monsters that came after Dorian Yates' six year run, so seeing physiques like Rhoden, and Dexter Jackson, is a welcome sight. Last year Rhoden was packing a bit of the "bubble gut", distension caused by use of excessive insulin, so it remains to be seen if "Flexatron" Shawn Rhoden will maintain his aesthetic physique, or sacrifice it in attempt to out mass his competition.
Possibly the biggest draw in the open class of this year's Mr. Olympia is Kevin Levrone. At 52 years old and not having competed for 13 years, Levrone is back in a big way. The latest images of Kevin seen online haven't been as impressive as Levrone was during his heyday in the 1990s, but it would be unwise to write such a fierce competitor off without seeing the package he brings in. Until he steps onstage this author does not yet count him out, and if he manages to crack the top 6 at 52 years old he should serve as an inspiration to all older men and women in terms of what can be achieved. All the anabolics in the world cannot fix lazy, and Levrone will surely be a testament to this.
The 212 and under class will almost surely be taken, once again by Flex Lewis. A gentleman of a champion, this author has been rooting for Flex since the early 2000s when he first earned his pro card, and it is good to see him bring in such an amazing physique year after year. Eduardo Correa has been showcasing a great physique the past few years as well, but it is unlikely he will unseat Lewis as King under 212.
Despite not having attended the Mr. Olympia since 2012 this author still hosts a viewing each year, so for those interested please contact. If you are attending the event in Las Vegas this year, cheers to you and enjoy the show!