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2002 Mr Olympia Review by Chad Nicholls Bodybuilding Contest Main Pages Mr. Olympia 2002 Updates 2002 Mr Olympia Review by Chad Nicholls

2002 Mr. Olympia - Prejudging (DVD) A completely separate tape for the Prejudging - with all of the comparisons. See the top men side by side. Sadly this was the last Mr Olympia appearance by the great Flex Wheeler. BUY IT NOW 2002 Mr. Olympia - Prejudging (DVD)


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  • By Chad Nicholls, Chad works with many amatuer and pro bodybuilders, and help them with their nutrition and advises them on how to be at their best of the contests. Chad is considered one of the best in the business.

  • Here's my take on the top placements, as well as my personal thoughts on athletes I had in the show. . .

    1st - Ronnie Coleman: All year, everyone (officials) had been telling us to make certain Ronnie comes in at 250 or under - bascially repeat the 2001 Arnold conditioning, size, etc. - so that's what we did. Because of this, we brought him in way lower than he needed to be. On August 30 - he was 296 - and just sick looking - I could've dropped water from that point and brought him on stage around 285 and it would've been the craziest sight anyone would ever have seen. Unfortunately we got caught up in pleasing everyone but ourselves. Overall, his conditioning was great - from the back he was full, hard, dry and everything was right on the money. From the side, the same - but from the front is where I was not satisfied. His waistline was much smaller than it had ever been - so very pleased with that, but to get it there, the chest and delts were on the flat side - and from the front, he lost a little of the fullness in the lat. Another problem we ran into was when changing his diet going from carb depletion to carb loading - it seems to throw his body off - so, these are things that will be changed for the GNC pro in 3 weeks and for the '03 Olympia. Don't be surprised if Ronnie is 285 and in the freakiest conditioning ever at the O next year!

    2nd - Kevin Levrone: He completely surprised me - and a lot of people and looked the best he had looked in years. His legs were bigger than last year - however, still down from what I feel to be his personal best - '93/'94. One thing I had noticed is that his waist was thicker than it has been in previous years. However, abs still in good shape. His overall conditioning was average, too soft from the back (glutes, back and hams). He still carries his trademark large delts and triceps and his posing routine was the best it had been in years - probably what carried him solidly into the 2nd place spot.

    3rd - Chris Cormier: Chris was another person that everyone had counted out of the top 3, however, I had seen pics of him all year and knew that he would be a lock for the top 3 - as long as he put forth the effort. Chris was about 5 pounds heavier than at the 2002 Arnold and conditioning was pretty close to the same. However, for Chris to move up and become a threat - he still needs another 10-15 pounds of solid muscle. His legs were in great shape - nice and full - abs were nice and crisp - although I would've liked to have seen them a bit sharper, but I was happy with his overall appearance. Chris still needs a little more thickness/fullness to the back, however, it is constantly improving.

    4th - Dexter Jackson: Dexter looked about the same as he always does - which is a good thing - his conditioning is superb and he's pretty darned complete. With Shawn Ray out and a much smaller Flex Wheeler in the lineup, it was a perfect situation for the judges to move Dexter up into the top spots. For Dexter to place any higher, he still needs to make added physique improvements - needs more thickness to the back - and really when you comment on thickness - just more of it everywhere. He does have great structure - his lats are a little high which makes for a longer torso, but his muscle insertions tie in so well and look so good, that there is the tendency to overlook this. All in all a much deserved spot for him.

    5th - Gunter Schlierkamp: Who would've guessed - or even thought last years' 15th place finisher would break the top 5??!!!!!! I DID!!! Gunter was definitely the most improved athlete on stage. We spent a lot of time this year making improvements both in size, shape and conditioning and it was greatly and deservingly rewarded. We had improved his delts tremendously - giving him a wider look and a much improved "V" taper to the waist. His overall thickness in the back and lats showed both in his front and back lat poses and his stances. His conditioning was 100% on the money, and I couldn't have asked for his overall package to be any better for this point in time. If I am able to dedicate more time to him this year and make the necessary improvements, Gunter will be a severe threat at any show he enters. I felt he could've been much higher - maybe as high as 2nd - but of course, he is one of my athletes and I'm biased!

    6th - Lee Priest: I had been hearing all year that Lee was coming into this show lighter and in the best shape of his life. Lee looked good and was deserving of 6th place. However, his usual physique problems were still present - a little soft in the front of the quad and soft in the glutes and hamstrings. It looked to me that he definitely did try to come down lower, but unfortunately when Lee comes down that far, he flattens in the chest and back. His arms are still the most complete and impressive in the sport and if he would ever come in dead on the money - he's another threat to anyone.

    7th - Flex Wheeler: For Flex to place 7th in this lineup, basically drug free, is a huge accomplishment. For this show, I didn't assist Flex with his nutrition, but I did dry him out. I took him down as dry and as low as I could without sacrificing too much fullness and size. His conditioning was good - he has definitely been better, but for his overall situation - he looked good. I feel Flex's biggest downfall for this show was his size. He still has his classic lines and the smallest, flattest waistline in the show, however, he lacked the size and fullness to be competitive for the top spots. With a few minor adjustments, I feel Flex can come in a little bigger and fuller - and in turn we could do more with his water to bring him in tighter - 10 more added pounds of muscle, and I feel he is back in the top spots again.

    8th - Markus Ruhl: Markus is just one of the freakiest guys in the sport, period! He is one of those guys that is just fun to watch because he just has so much muscle and is just so big. His conditioning was a little off, I felt. He was very soft in the glutes and the back and lacks the separation and depth to the muscle that could put him higher. However, his sheer size and musclularity was enough to pull him into 8th - a respectable place for him.

    9th - Orville Burke: For a guy getting ready to turn 40 - he looks damn good. He was the biggest I had ever seen him, however, his stomach was a little more bloated this year than in the past and his conditioning was a little off from last year -I felt last years' conditioning at the O was his best. He's one of the widest guys that you will ever see and his lat spread is just freaky huge.

    10th - Dennis James: I thought this was a gift. Dennis just doesn't have the physique in that lineup to be in a top 10 spot. His stomach was bloated and I feel the overall shape that turned him pro at the nationals is almost gone. His legs have always been a weak point, and this was evident at the show. He does have huge delts and a huge upper chest - in a tank top and in the gym, he looks impressive - but he lacks the overall top to bottom symmetry and harmony in his muscles to out place more complete physiques. I felt his overall conditioning was good, but not great.

    11th - Craig Titus: Craig was definitely improved and looked better than last year. Stomach was a little bigger than last year - but overall much fuller. Still his one major weak point is the chest. His conditioning was pretty damned good. He still has improvements to make. I'm not sure if I would've have had him this high, but then again, I would've had him over Dennis James.

    12th - Art Atwood: The question on everyone's mind here is how did Art beat Markus in Toronto, show up at the Olympia in better shape and bigger and place 4 spots behind Markus? Obviously, this is the Olympia, not Toronto. I also feel that there are a couple of things that come into play when comparing these two. 1) Markus' sheer size is overwhelming, and 2) we can thank everyone's good buddy Shawn Ray for! Inexperienced judging. Shawn bitched and complained all year about a new judging panel - so we ended up with the most inexperienced Olympia pannel ever - and it showed strongly in Art's score sheets. He ranged from 9th (which I felt deserving) -all the way to 21st place votes - and that was in the SAME ROUND - something sound wrong with that scenario? I think so. Art's overall conditioning was very good - he had added some good size since Toronto, but for Art to do well on the Olympia stage - he just needs a bit more maturity to the muscle - and overall refinement which will come with time - he's a new pro with a very bright future.

    13th - Ahmad Haider: In my opinion - he should've been much higher. He's not a huge body builder, but has a great overall package - and how could Markus, Orville, Dennis, Craig, etc., come close to him in the symmetry round - that is one of Ahmad's strongest points. Muscularity wise, that is another story, but I felt he could've evened things out and moved up with the symmetry round. I would've had him in 10th. His conditioning was about the same as the Arnold. I would like to see him come in a little drier.

    14th - Ernie Taylor: His overall package was pretty good and he was in good shape - but I still feel he needs to make some significant improvements if he is to hang with the top guys. Ernie is a great guy - but whether there is anything in the triceps or not - they are still stupid looking - and throw his entire physique off balance. Just leave them alone - and work on the rest of the physique - make those improvements, and I think he could move up.

    15th - Nasser El Sonbaty: This is the first show since '97 that I didn't work with Nasser. From the front, he was actually in pretty good shape and looked good. He was big, dry and full. Where the problem lies, is within his delts - rear delts to be specific. It's destroying his physique and the judges are crucifying him for it. In actuality, what's happened is capsulations in the rear delts - whether it be calcium deposits, or something else - there's only one way to fix it - having it fixed surgically - if he wants to get back in the hunt - please get this fixed!!!!!!!! Nasser is a great guy and a superb athlete - one of the very first guys I ever started working with and when he comes in the right way - a huge threat to anyone.

    16th - Darrem Charles: First of all - me and Kim want to give out are heartfelt sympathies to Darrem and his family for there terrible loss - for those of you who don't know - his mother was murdered in front of her home two weeks before the show. We also give Darrem great praise for his strength and courage to continue on with the show and for his performance. He looked good - he just needs to add muscle to move up. 15 added pounds of sheer muscle to his physique and his comparisons will include Chris Cormier and Kevin Levrone. He's always lean - but I'd like to see him come in drier - so that his physique shows that crisp finished look.

    17th - King Kamali: One of my athletes. We struggled the entire weekend trying to keep him full and the final outcome was that he was flat on stage. I was happy with his overall conditioning and he had taken 2 inches off his waist and it was nice and flat. Unfortunately, so was everything else. We should be able to correct these problems for the GNC pro in 3 weeks and he will move up dramatically. Unfortunately, because he was out of the top 15 after the first 2 rounds, his posing routine wasn't judged and I think this definitely would've pulled him up higher - at least several spots. It was one of the best routines he had ever done and I felt one of the best 3 of the night.

    18th - Bob Cicherillo: This was Bob's first Olympia and his best conditioning and overall package since he turned pro. He added much size and thickness throughout his upper body, however, he still needs more thickness to give the look of added depth in his side shots. Most of the judges told me this is what hurt him. Also, in this day and age, over half of the guys on stage had striated glutes and this is Bob's one trouble area, however, they were tighter at this show than ever, and I feel they will continue to improve.

    19th - George Farah: Well, he wasn't last place like everyone said! I said the entire time he would end up 15th - 20th - and he did. I feel he could've potentially been 2-3 spots higher, however, he's a little guy and the little guys usually don't fair too well at the Olympia, unless you are a freak like Lee Priest. He conditioning was right on the money - he was full and he hung pose for pose with the best in the world - I would like to see a little more fullness in the hamstring - and with time - more size.

    20th - Francisco "Paco" Bautista: Only one thing to say, "Got Milk"?? Freaky, freaky conditioning - but the worst gyno I had ever seen on an Olympia stage.

    21st - Claude Groulx: A little off from some of his previous appearances - just needs to be bigger and harder for an Olympia stage.

    22nd - Tommi Thorvildsen: Still has the hard glutes - the back flip in the routine is cool - but he's just a little too blocky to get the good comparisons. He's still young - so give him time.

    23rd - Jaroslav Horvath: A little soft - hard to believe that only around 6 or so months ago beat Kevin in a show! Just needs overall size and conditioning - actually his structure isn't too bad.

    24th - Gustavo Badell: Just needs more size, width. - mainly width to give a better "V". Conditioning - average - just needs more of everything.

    25th - Don Youngblood: Looked incredible at the Masters O, but it's just too long to try to hold that peak for the Olympia. Plus - the Olympia stage is another ballgame entirely in comparison to the Masters. His arms were down tremendously - but due to an injury incurred during a recent photo shoot. But all in all - Don has accomplished quite a bit this year and it is an honor just to be on the Olympia stage - making it there through hard work and qualifying - There are a lot of pros watching the show from their seats!

  • Sincerely, Articles & Interviews

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