Breaking down the numbers with Dennis James as he heads into this weekend’s Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

by Allan Donnelly

August 7, 2008


Twenty-seven contests. Sixteen top-five finishes. Twenty-five top-10 finishes. But, during his nine-year professional career, Dennis James has stood in the winner’s circle only once, in 2001 at the Grand Prix Hungary. Now, as he prepares for Saturday’s Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships in Tampa, Florida, James is coming off the longest competitive layoff of his career refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to prove he still deserves to stand beside the sport’s best.

Stay tuned to for continued coverage leading up to the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships!

(Click links to read stories)
TUESDAY: PBW Championships Preview
TODAY: Dennis James By The Numbers
THURSDAY: Women’s Spotlight
FRIDAY: Five Questions with Flex Lewis
SATURDAY: Complete coverage from the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

WHAT: Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships
WHEN: Saturday, August 9
TIME: Prejudging at 9 am EST; Finals at 6:30 pm EST
WHERE: Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa FL

Breaking down the numbers with … Dennis James

11 … Years, since James’ first contest, the Border States Classic in 1997, where he won the heavyweight and overall titles. “That was my first-ever show in the United States,” James says. “I flew over from Thailand, went to San Diego and won the whole show. Three weeks later I was on stage in Dallas at the Nationals. I got fourth at my first-ever Nationals. Then, you add eight months to that and I went straight to the USAs in Las Vegas and won the overall in ’98. That was it.”

242 … Pounds, the 5-foot-8 James’ weight at the 2003 Olympia, when he placed fourth behind Ronnie Coleman (1st), Jay Cutler (2nd) and Dexter Jackson (3rd) and ahead of Gunter Schlierkamp (5th) and Kevin Levrone (6th). According to most observers it is the best James has ever looked on stage.

The final posedown at the 2003 Olympia

267 … Pounds, James’ weight when placing eighth at the 2007 Colorado Pro, his last contest.

245 … Pounds, or roughly what James plans to weigh in Tampa. “A lot of people told me I needed to get back to where I was,” James says. “I need to get back to my streamlined physique that I have naturally. Gaining all this weight, I thought was good for me because it was the Ronnie Coleman era, and Jay Cutler. Mass monsters. So I thought the heavier the better. It’s gonna be a better DJ though. It’s gonna be a new one. With the lines back. I’m 15-20 pounds lighter but I look 25 percent bigger. You’ll see the biggest 245 you’ll ever see on stage.”

James at the 2003 Olympia

7 … Months, the amount of time James took off from training after placing eighth in Colorado. “After Colorado I was basically done,” James says. “My head said You know what? This is it. I was thinking about [retiring]. Going into a show as a favorite, coming off a strong second place in New York and not even placing in the top six, that was a slap in the ass. But then again, I look at pictures later and I looked terrible. And I felt terrible. It was just not right, I though maybe it’s my time. Maybe my body is telling me to go and do something else.”

9 … Months, since James moved from Germany to Phoenix, Arizona, in November of 2007. In December, James started training again. “Everything came along so easy,” James says. “My body is rested, I feel great. I can do things I couldn’t really do before.”

2-1 … James’ win-loss record against David Henry, the lone loss coming at last year’s Colorado Pro, when Henry placed fifth to James’ 8th.

Henry and James at the 2007 Colorado Pro


15-4 … James’ career win-loss record against Darrem Charles, dating back to the 1999 Night of Champions, where James placed 15th to Charles’ 8th.

James (4th), Charles, (6th) and Chris Cormier (7th) at the 2003 GNC Show of Strength

1-1 … James’ career win-loss record against Toney Freeman. James (4th) placed ahead of Freeman (9th) at the GNC in 2003, while Freeman (8th) one-upped James (9th) at the 2006 Olympia. “I’ve been beating most of them for years,” James says. “I’m not worried. Of course Darrem beat me a few times, and Toney beat me at the Olympia in ’06. Yeah, ok. But before that I came out on top each and every time. If I bring my A game I got nothing to worry about. I think in the back of their head every competitor knows if I nail it, it’s gonna be real tough.”

James and Freeman at the 2006 Olympia

M&F Raw! Mr. Olympia Preview

1 … Career win, at the 2001 Hungary Grand Prix. “To win this show on Saturday means the world to me,” James says. I’ve never won a pro show in the United States. It would mean the world to me to win this pro show, to be recognized as a champ winning shows in America. I’m basically doing this for my wife because she had my back since Day 1 and it’s her birthday. So I want to get this win for her. And a win is the only thing that can hype me back up into the Olympia. I don’t want to just qualify. I don’t think I’ll do the Olympia unless I win. That wouldn’t do anything for me. I need this win to build my career back up again and put me back in the mix.”