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For the first time in a decade or so, Jay Cutler will look around the Mr. Olympia stage, sizing up all of his competition, and not see Ronnie Coleman. But while the man who denied Cutler his first Olympia title for years in the early 2000s is retired, don't think that means the reigning Mr. O will have it easy.
For one, Cutler will have to fend off Dexter Jackson, a perennial high finisher who placed third at last year's Olympia. Jackson won the Arnold Classic this past March, displaying what most believed to be the best physique he's ever brought to a competitive stage (which is saying a lot, as Jackson is one of the most consistent bodybuilders the sport has ever seen). If he's able to improve even further – a scary thought, indeed – Cutler could be in trouble.
After Jackson, there's Dennis Wolf, a relative newcomer who made a huge splash at the '07 Olympia, seemingly coming out of nowhere to place fifth. Of course, Phil Heath will be making his Olympia debut this Saturday as well and possesses the talent to not only place top five, but to give Cutler a run for his money for the top spot.
The competition begins this Friday night, September 24, at 7pm at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas with the Mr. Olympia pre-judging. Also that night will be the finals for two women's events: Fitness Olympia and Ms. Olympia. Mr. O finals will be held Saturday night (again, 7pm at the Orleans Arena), as will finals of the third women's event, the Figure Olympia.
For those making the trip to Las Vegas, the Olympia Expo will run from 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (South Hall), featuring the bodybuilding industry's top supplement companies. Also at the expo will be Flex magazine's annual Bikini Model Search, where a collection of the country's most lovely and fit ladies will compete for the top prize of a Weider Publications modeling contract and endorsement contract with Champion Nutrition.
>>For Olympia ticket information and other details regarding the Olympia Expo, visit www.MrOlympia.com/2008.
>>For a live webcast of this weekend's events, visit www.bodybuilding.com.
>>For full post-show wrap-ups, exclusive galleries and interviews, visit www.flexonline.com.