The 2016 Mr. Olympia contest will be celebrated for its 51st occasion on September 15-18th promising a show unlike any other in its entire history.
The 2016 Mr. Olympia is just a few short weeks away from being celebrated at Las Vegas, half a century after Larry Scott won the inaugural contest with a physique that embodied physical perfection at its finest. As the years have passed and the art of bodybuilding has evolved fans still anxiously wait for the day when the super bowl of bodybuilding finally arrives every year. Let’s take a quick look at this year’s top competitors and what we can expect from them.
The Return of a Legend
The talk of the show is without a doubt Kevin Levrone and his unpredictable return to the Mr. Olympia stage. Considered as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time due to his unmatched symmetry, size, feats of strength, and overall persona, Kevin Levrone is widely considered as one the few uncrowned Mr. Olympia’s in the sport’s history. Even though many question if the now 52 year old bodybuilding legend has what it takes to return to the stage and dominate the current competition, there is no doubt in my mind that he possesses the ability to shock the world once again.
There is no denying that the competition that Levrone faced in the early 90’s and 2000’s was the toughest in bodybuilding history and superior to today’s bodybuilders. Kevin defeated the likes of Coleman, Cutler, Wheeler, Jackson, Ray, Cormier, Rühl, and many other well-known competitors who are household names. If Kevin Levrone brings an old school physique like the one he showcased more than two decades ago there’s nothing stopping him from taking his first Sandow home. The Maryland Muscle Machine is back and he’s here to show the world why the 90’s era of bodybuilding was so special.
The Reigning Champ
Phil Heath has been crowned Mr. Olympia for five long years yet his reign has been questioned over and over by the faithful fans who often disregard his legitimacy to the throne. On one side his loyal fan base claims that The Gift is unbeatable due to his sheer size, symmetry and shape, yet the other side of the spectrum disagrees and describes the current champ as a beatable and non-dominant Mr. Olympia with considerable flaws. The reigning champ wants to secure his sixth title at the 2016 Mr. Olympia, tying the record with the original mass monster Dorian Yates.
Phil Heath’s best physique was presented at the 2011 Mr. Olympia stage only to slowly worsen after each year. As time has passed the reigning champ has been bested by many competitors, the last scenario occurred at the 2015 Mr. Olympia where Shawn Rhoden, Dennis Wolf, and Dexter Jackson arguably presented superior physiques. If The Gift can replicate a physique like the one he presented at the 2011 stage there’s a high change that he will earn his sixth Sandow but only time will tell.
A Dangerous Blade
Dexter Jackson has proved that age is just a number as he consistently wins competitions with ease. Debuting as a bantam weight, the blade has progressively gotten better over the years and even won the 2008 Mr. Olympia, taking the Sandow from Jay Cutler and positioning himself as the 12th Mr. Olympia. Dexter Jackson was awarded a controversial second place at last year’s competition that could have easily turned into a second Sandow.
If Dexter Jackson presents a physique similar to last year’s, there’s a very high change that he will place in the top three and possibly knock out Phil Heath is he is off. Jackson is an extremely consistent bodybuilder that finds strength within his symmetry, size, balance, and definition. Phil Heath seems to be a lot bigger this time around compared to his usual pre-contest shape, the questions is, can that be a bad thing for the rest of the lineup or will it hurt him and affect his physique in a negative manner?
A Fierce Lineup
The rest of the lineup is no slouch, many competitors have been proven worthy of standing next to the best in the world at the Olympia stage. This year may prove to be the most exciting in quite some time due to the return of Kevin Levrone and the growing wide field of competitors surfacing from all over the globe. Leading this lineup is Shawn Rhoden who has proven himself worthy of claiming the Olympia throne with a physique that lacks in very few areas. 2015 could have been the year in which a new Mr. Olympia was crowned but stomach control issues prevented Shawn from taking the first or second place spot.
Competitors that are already qualified like Big Ramy, William Bonac, Steve Kuclo, Nathan DeAsha, Dallas McCarver, Josh Lenartowicz, Cedric McMillan and Roelly Winklaar will be fighting to make top five in a mixed field of physiques that don’t share any common traits whatsoever. Victor Martinez and Justin Compton will likely qualify for this year’s contest making the lineup that much more stacked and dangerous.
Up to this point it’s almost certain that Kai Greene will be absent from this year’s competition as he focuses his attention on other ventures. Dennis Wolf is currently easing into training as he recovers from an important surgery that hindered his preparation for the contest just a few weeks ago. Missing these talented competitors from the Olympia stage will truly impact the results and reduce the amount of anticipation fans have for the competition as it’s no secret that Kai and Dennis are fan favorites.
The 2016 Mr. Olympia will be one for the ages as the field is wide open and Kevin Levrone returns for one last go at the title. Phil Heath, the man to beat, has slowly regressed over the years and positioned himself in a vulnerable state that many competitors will try to take advantage of. If Phil Heath improves his physique he will hold on to the title but if he slacks off, persistent bodybuilders like Dexter Jackson and Shawn Rhoden can take his place. If Kevin Levrone matches the physique he once showcased during the 90’s he will clear the field and take the Sandow, but, will he be able to do it? Only time will tell but never count the Maryland Muscle Machine out.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the photos used in this article. I will not be making any money from this article. This article was created for the fans and enthusiasts leading up to the 2016 Mr. Olympia. The photos used for this article can be found on the athlete’s Instagram pages, I highly encourage you to follow their journey and follow them on social media.
Phil Heath: https://instagram.com/philheath/
Dallas McCarver: https://instagram.com/dallasmccarver/
Dexter Jackson: https://www.instagram.com/mrolympia08/
Kevin Levrone: https://www.instagram.com/kevinlevrone/