Dexter “The Blade” Jackson sliced himself a piece of glory Saturday night by edging Jay Cutler at the GNC Show of Strength in Atlanta. Cutler, who was coming off a three-country European Tour that took place last weekend, fell to Jackson in a classic “apples and oranges” comparison, which had the lighter, tight-waisted competitor overcoming Cutler’s more massive power physique. It was the second time in as many years that the GNC has been the scene of an upset in the sport. Last year, Gunter Schlierkamp shocked Ronnie Coleman in New Orleans, a stunning decision that affected the sport for an entire year.

An emotional Jackson accepted the GNC SOS championship belt and the $100, 000 first-place check, then, in a poignant moment, invited his wife Carol onstage. Cutler, used to standing alone in the winner’s circle, took the defeat like a man, exhibiting his trademark professionalism while congratulating The Blade. Finishing third was Kevin Levrone, markedly improved from his Mr. Olympia condition from two weeks earlier, when he placed sixth.

Rounding out the top six were Dennis James in fourth, Schlierkamp in fifth and Darrem Charles in sixth. Chris Cormier’s attempt to reclaim his brilliant form fell short, apparently still affected by the illness that forced him to skip the Mr. Olympia contest.

Check out our gallery below. Final results follow.


Atlanta, Georgia; Saturday, November 8, 2003
WINNER: Dexter Jackson (USA)*
2) Jay Cutler (USA)*
3) Kevin Levrone (USA)*
4) Dennis James (USA)
5) Günter Schlierkamp (Germany)
6) Darrem Charles (Trinidad and Tobago)
7) Chris Cormier (USA)
8) Melvin Anthony (USA)
9) Toney Freeman (USA)
10) Johnnie Jackson (USA)
11) George Farah (USA)
12) Rodney St. Cloud (USA)
13) Aaron Maddron (USA)
14) Stan McCrary (USA)
15) Claude Groulx (Canada)
Qualifies for 2004 Mr. Olympia contest

Who’s in control after the first two rounds of the 2003 GNC Show of Strength contest? Good question. After a bizarre sequence of callouts in the afternoon prejudging, judges presented a befuddling overall picture of where competitors stood so far, but it appears that Jay Cutler and Dexter “The Blade” Jackson are in a battle. Good news for Iron Jay is that his conditioning actually appears to have improved from the three-contest European Tour, and some observers think he looks fuller and harder than he did at the Mr. Olympia two weeks ago. Meanwhile, The Blade is sharper than ever, bringing a tremendous amount of detail and fullness to the stage.

Dennis James, suffering from an untimely stomach virus struggled to get to the stage but appeared to rally in the later callouts. Darrem Charles, Chris Cormier, Kevin Levrone and Gunter Schlierkamp are also getting close scrutiny from the judges. So far it’s anybody’s guess who will finish where.

Below is a list of competitors in the order they appeared onstage and a link to FLEX’s exclusive prejudging gallery. Enjoy!

1) George Farah
2) Stan McCrary
3) Darrem Charles
4) Claude Groulx
5) Melvin Anthony
6) Johnnie Jackson
7) Toney Freeman
8) Günter Schlierkamp
9) Aaron Maddron
10) Kevin Levrone
11) Jay Cutler
12) Rodney St. Cloud
13) Dennis James
14) Dexter Jackson
15) Chris Cormier

— 2003 GNC Show of Strength Men’s Prejudging Gallery

(Posted on November 7, 2003)
Susie Curry ended her career on a high note by dominating the second-annual GNC Show of Strength Fitness Championship Friday night in her hometown of Atlanta. The Georgian juggernaut beat a limber lineup of 14 flipping fitness standouts in her swan song. Curry, a four-time Fitness Olympia champ, announced her intentions to retire earlier in the year.

In the first ever GNC SOS Figure Championship, Jenny Lynn outfoxed a luscious lineup of world-class beauties, including runner-up Monica Brant and third-place finisher Dina Al-Sabah. The hotties in heels quickened the pulses of a near sell-out crowd in the Peach State, as they finished up the first year of pro figure action in the IFBB. Earlier in the day, Figure Olympia champion Davana Medina pulled out of the contest due to illness.

While there was no women’s bodybuilding show, the GNC presented a memorable exhibition of female muscle by showcasing Betty Pariso, Cathy Priest and eight-time Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray in a special guest-posing display.

Here are the complete results from Friday’s two contests.

Atlanta, Georgia; Friday, November 7, 2003
2) Adela Garcia-Friedmansky (USA)*
3) Jennifer Hendershott (USA)*
4) Stacy Hylton (USA)
5) Anna Level (USA)
6) Tracey Greenwood (USA)
7) Tanji Johnson (USA)
8) Julie Palmer (USA)
9) Laura Mak (USA)
10) Julie Childs (USA)
11) (tie) Nicole Rollolazo (USA)
Laurie Vaniman (USA)
13) Shannon Meteraud (USA)
14) Kary Odiatu (Canada)
*Qualifies for the 2004 Fitness Olympia contest.

Atlanta, Georgia; Friday, November 7, 2003
2) Monica Brant (USA)*
3) Dina Al-Sabah (Kuwait)*
4) Mari Kudla (USA)
5) Jaime Franklin (USA)
6) Elaine Goodlad (Canada)
7) Sharon Kouvaras (USA)
8) Christine Bergeron (Canada)
9) Kim Chizevsky (USA)
10) Tammie Leady (USA)
11) Sharon Christian (USA)
12) Lesli Russell (USA)
13) Adrian Chastain (USA)
14) Debbie Kruck (USA)
*Qualifies for 2004 Figure Olympia contest.

— 2003 GNC Show of Strength Figure Prejudging and Finals

— 2003 GNC Show of Strength Fitness Prejudging and Finals