Inside the Numbers with Dexter Jackson heading into the 2008 Mr. Olympia

by Allan Donnelly

September 23, 2008


After 10 years, eight top-10 Olympia finishes and three Arnold Classic wins, Dexter Jackson has never been hungrier for his first Mr. Olympia title. Nor has he ever been closer.

Dismissed for years during the Ronnie Coleman era for being too small to be mentioned as a serious threat to win a Sandow, Jackson’s name is finally being mentioned as one of the favorites for this year’s edition of the Biggest Show on Earth. And just think, all it took was a third Arnold Classic win, where Jackson displayed the best combination of size and conditioning of his career. Now, Jackson heads to Las Vegas with more momentum than ever and, to hear it from the man himself, the best chance he’ll ever have to add his name to a hallowed list of 11 men who have stood atop bodybuilding’s Mt. Everest.


2008 Olympia Odds and Analysis
202 Showdown Preview and Figure Olympia Preview
Figure Olympia Preview
Ms. Olympia Preview
Fitness Olympia Preview
The 2007 Mr. Olympia: A Look Back
Phil Heath: Inside the Numbers
Flexonline Interview: Ronnie Coleman

Flexonline Olympia Dream Matchup Series
James vs Anthony
Anthony vs Samuel
Wolf vs Freeman
Badell vs James
Samuel vs Freeman
Heath vs Wolf

INSIDE THE NUMBERS … with Dexter Jackson

46… Contests, the number Jackson has competed in since earning his pro card in 1998 by winning the light heavyweight and overall at the IFBB North Americans. “Man, I competed against everybody,” Jackson says. “All of ’em. And I’m still in the game.”.

3 … Arnold Classic wins, in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Jackson is currently tied with Jay Cutler and one behind Flex Wheeler (four) for most Arnold Classic wins.

8 … Olympias, how many Jackson has competed in since his first in 1999, skipping only one, in 2005. “Competing in my first was just a dream come true,” Jackson says. “I was just so star struck to be against some of the best in the world. But after being in the game a few years, after doing show after show, my goal was to really win the Arnold because I never thought a little guy had a chance of winning the Olympia. But the excitement of doing the Olympia now is like when I first started because I feel if I’m gonna win, now is the perfect time. It’s my only opportunity. I feel if I don’t win this year, I won’t ever win.”

The Blade at his best? Jackson at the 2008 Arnold Classic

8 … Top 10 finishes, in each of his eight Olympias.

5 … Top four finishes since 2002.

2 … Olympia champions he has competed against, Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler.

2 … Olympia champions he has defeated, winning the 2003 GNC Show of Strength over runner-up Cutler and placing third to Coleman’s fourth at last year’s Olympia.

Jackson gets the nod over runner-up Jay Cutler at the 2003 GNC Show of Strength


0 … Olympias in which Phil Heath, the bodybuilder with whom Jackson is currently most compared, has competed. “I don’t think that’s a factor with Phil because he’s been around,” Jackson says. “But the competition is going to be very hard for him, even harder than at the Arnold. This is the top dog right here.”

6 … Months, since Jackson defeated Heath at the Arnold Classic. Heath has gone on record in saying he will beat Jackson at the Olympia. “No,” Jackson says. “It’s only been six months. Just what you saw in the Arnold is gonna happen in this show. I will beat Phil Heath. How’s he gonna beat me? Every step Phil takes I’m taking a step too. I’m 5’6″ – he’s 5’9″. One pound on me is a hell of a lot.”

28 … Years, Heath’s age.

39 … Years, Jackson’s age. “I think one day, soon, Phil me and Victor will be battling each other. And eventually they will both surpass me. Victor has already. I didn’t get a shot at him this year, and I would have liked to. But Phil’s time is not here yet because he’s still getting better.” “

Jackson 2, Heath 0; Jackson gets the better of Heath at the 2008 Arnold Classic


3 … Place, where Jackson finished at the 2007 Olympia.

5 … Place, where Dennis Wolf finished at the 2007 Olympia. Wolf is being mentioned by some as one with a chance to beat Jackson in 2008. “No,” Jackson says. “He wasn’t close to the three of us [ the top three of Cutler, Victor Martinez and Jackson]. Conditioning alone he was out of the picture. His most muscular was incredible but that don’t win a show. He still has to fix his weaknesses. His lower back, for one. And Dennis is not not gonna get shredded – I don’t know if he’s ever gonna get crisp. The fans love him, but Markus Ruhl was the biggest guy in the world at one time. They loved Marcus Ruhl, but for some reason he never placed well. It’s gonna be the same with [Wolf] until he makes the improvements. Once he does that, look out everybody. But I feel I get crisp, and if you put my physique against his, I have the total package. And that is gonna separate the two of us.”

Jackson and Wolf at the 2007 Olympia


233 … Pounds, what Jackson weighed when winning the 2008 Arnold Classic, a contest in which most observers said Jackson was at his best ever.

235 … Pounds, what Jackson is planning on weighing at the 2008 Olympia. “Yeah I can be better,” Jackson says. “My conditioning is gonna be the same because the numbers are there. I know the kind of shape I’m gonna be in. It’s like clockwork for me.”

265 … Pounds, what reigning Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler is expected to weigh this weekend. “I don’t think that’s much of an advantage,” Jackson says. “You won’t be able to tell he outweighs me by that much on stage come this weekend. I’m going to exploit his weaknesses and sure he’ll do the same to me. But it’s time to turn the tables on the Mr. Olympia being the biggest man always wins. I feel if this sport is going to continue in a positive direction, you need more aesthetic physiques representing the sport. I have that.”

6 … Number of competitors in the final posedown. “Me first, because this is my year. Then I have to say Jay. Then Phil. Then Dennis. Melvin in fifth and Silvio sixth.”

The most recent Jay vs Dex onstage matchup, at the 2007 Olympia


0 … Words, the amount Jackson can immediately think of when asked what winning the Olympia would mean to him. After a deep breath and a long pause, the emotion seeps from his voice when he finally finds them. “I have no words,” Jackson says. “Winning this show … that would just be the icing on the cake, man. Out of all the stuff I’ve been through, being the first Mr. Olympia ever out of Florida, that would be awesome. It would mean the world to me. One year for me and I’m happy. One year, that’s all I want. Just one year to separate me from some of the best bodybuilders ever. From Flex [Wheeler], from Shawn [Ray], from Kevin [Levrone] … from everybody. Just let me win one.”