Leading up to the 2007 Mr. Olympia September 28-29 in Las Vegas, FLEX will be bringing you interviews with the combatants. Today, 2007 Europa Super Show champion Silvio Samuel, 2006 Montreal Pro champ Johnnie Jackson, and 2005 NPC Nationals overall champ Bill Wilmore.

SILVIO SAMUEL: "I won’t say I’m going to win, because I’m still very fresh and new. After only a year as a pro, I don’t see myself winning. I’m putting on more size, and next year will be different. This time around, I see myself in the top eight. I’m not the kind of guy who says he will beat certain people, especially in this show. It’s a show not like any other. Anybody can win it. I’m going to prepare myself so well that I will be a big surprise. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m going for it with all the focus in my power to make a breakout appearance. I want to shock the judges, so I will be given a higher number next year. I’m not going just to be in the Mr. Olympia lineup; I’m going to really make an impact."

JOHNNIE JACKSON: "It’s an honor being on the Mr. Olympia stage, again, and competing against those guys. I’m coming in late, after qualifying at the Montreal Pro Show last weekend (NOTE: Johnnie was third). Now, I’m on target for perfection in the Mr. Olympia. People are saying it’s not going to happen, and I can’t wait to shut everybody up. Once I step on stage, that’s going to do it. This will be for the haters, those who say I can’t do it, and I can’t wait to prove ’em all wrong. I’m going to shove it down their throats. I won’t say who’s going to win, because you can’t predict these things. Of course, I’d like to be the one, but top five would be a victory for me. I’m quite a bit bigger than in the past, and that comes from switching around my workouts now and then; heavy some times and light some times. I get a good mixture of the two. My best-in-bodybuilding size of certain body parts comes from extremely heavy lifting and powerlifting, but I don’t do that all year ’round all the time. I mix it up. That works for me. Some guys are afraid to go heavy and think that’s not for them, or that they’re going to get hurt or whatever, but if you think you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to get hurt. If you’re scared of going heavy, then — oh, well — you shouldn’t be in the business."

BILL WILMORE: "Top 10 would be a nice, big step up for me, but not yet; all in due time. The house doesn’t come up right away. I have everything for the house: The foundation is laid, I have the cement trucks coming in, but it’s not finished. You’ll have the usual guys, like Ronnie and Jay and Toney and Victor and the others up to the seventh spot, but from there on up to 12th, it’ll be a dog fight. Others, like Silvio Samuel and Johnnie Jackson, will be in the first and second tier, but I feel I can hang with all those guys. Other than making the top 10, my goal is to beat some people I’m not expected to beat. That’s how you move up. Dennis Wolf‘s in it, for example, and he has some momentum, so I’m looking to come in at my best shape, get some good callouts and see what happens.

"This Olympia is a little different. Right after finishing the Europa, my weight wouldn’t go up. I had to let myself fill out more, before pulling it back down, which I’m doing now. Before the Europa, I hadn’t competed since last year’s Mr. Olympia, and I feel that was a really good move for me; I was able to make some major improvements, especially with my legs. My arms are still a work in progress, but they’re coming along. I’ve learned that if I don’t take those breaks and keep competing, it’s very hard to make those improvements. It’s a catch-22: If you constantly compete, you get your name out there, but you don’t improve as much. Even though I admit my physique is not where I want it, I’m grasping beyond my reach, and that’s the only way to improve. I’m not thinking of guys in the Olympia I’ve already beaten; I’ve set my sight on those I haven’t."