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Phil Heath has gone two for two in the IFBB pro ranks, adding the New York Pro title May 20 to his Colorado victory of last week. It was the most stunning pro debut since Flex Wheeler won four shows in 1993 and came in second at the Olympia, and although Heath wasn’t as sharp as he was in the Mile High City, his physique was just too much for the other contenders to overcome.

Darrem Charles was runner-up for the second week in a row, and his disappointment was evident as he accepted his $10,000 second-place check and trophy. The Trinidad native was drier than in Denver, but still it wasn’t enough in the judges’ opinion to move him up a notch – when all was said and done, Heath won by four points.

In third was the sixth-place Olympia finisher from last year, Dennis James, who edged out a sliced-to-ribbons David Henry and earned a trip to the Olympia. James was not at his best, but among Henry, Charles and Heath, it would have been hard to argue against any of the three taking this show; all were amazing, and physique-wise provide much hope for the future of bodybuilding.

Repeating his Colorado performance, Big Bill Wilmore rounded out the top five. The Pennsylvanian, like Heath, was also making his IFBB debut in Colorado and New York, and although he didn’t make the same splash as “The Gift,” two top fives leave him nothing to be ashamed of – the 2005 NPC Nationals champ proved he has the goods to compete in the pros.

Among the other competitors, not even the stunt-casting of WWE wrestler Batista in his posing routine could help King Kamali get into the final posedown, as he finished sixth. New York’s own George Farah and Rodney St. Cloud were seventh and eighth, respectively, while Jaroslav Horvath and Pavol Jablonicky, both of the Czech Republic, rounded out the top 10.

Promoter Steve Weinberger put on a solid, fast-paced event, and sold out the venue for the second year in a row. As the loud and expressive crowd proved, New York is still a hotbed for the sport of bodybuilding.

2006 New York Pro
Final Results
May 20, Tribeca Performing Arts Center
1) Phil Heath, $15,000
2) Darrem Charles, $10,000
3) Dennis James, $5,000
4) David Henry, $3,000
5) Bill Wilmore, $2,000
6) King Kamali
7) George Farah
8) Rodney St. Cloud
9) Jaroslav Horvath
10) Pavol Jablonicky
11) Eddie Abbew
12) Jason Arntz
13) Luke Wood
14) Saviour Silv Samuel
15) John Hodgson
16) Miguel Filho
17) Kevin English
Also competed: Oliver Adzievski, Pablo Arevalo, Aiman Faour, Alexander Fedorov, Hunni Glanville, Kai Greene, Martin Kjellstrom, Jeff Long, Evgeny Mishin, Johnny Moya, Edson Prado, Greg Rando, Tommi Thorvildsen, Ricky Welling, Ken Jones

Prejudging report/b

The 2006 New York Pro prejudging is over, but the battle has yet to be decided. Phil Heath, who won his pro debut at the Colorado Pro last week, has lost some of his sharpness – but the gifted one may still have enough muscle, symmetry, proportion and cuts to hold off Darrem Charles yet again.

Charles was drier than during his second-place showing in Denver, and his muscle maturity and quality yet again beg the question, how is it that this guy doesn’t get his due in the Olympia and Arnold? Meanwhile, Heath has “potential” written all over him; his slightly off physique is still incredible, and with a few more modifications to bring his muscularity on par with his 5’9″ height, possibly unbeatable. Keep in mind, his next loss on a bodybuilding stage will be his first at any level of the game.

Jostling for third are David Henry, who’s flawlessly shaped physique is hindered by his lack of height and overall size, and big man Dennis James, who has trimmed down a bit but isn’t as detailed as he needs to be. Based on the callouts, James is probably third at this point, Henry fourth. Other contenders making their case for the top 10 include Bill Wilmore, Rodney St. Cloud, George Farah, Pavol Jablonicky, and Jaroslav Horvath.

Meanwhile, there were some notable names with not-so-notable showings. King Kamali brought a number of supporters with him in the crowd, all wearing yellow T-shirts proclaiming “The King Back With a Vengeance.” The first part of that statement was true, as he was back on stage after last competing at the 2005 San Francisco Pro. However, the second part wasn’t quite realistic. He’ll likely make the top 10, but his performance is more memorable for his poor attitude in trying to start a scuffle with Farah and Horvath during callouts rather than anything remarkable about his physique.

Other well-known names who didn’t bring their A-game include Russian Alexander Fedorov, who is huge but lacks proportion and definition; Eryk Bui, who is flat and not nearly as impressive as he was at the Ironman in February; and Norway’s Tommi Thorvildsen, who has yet to recapture the shredded condition that earned him major kudos (and sixth place) at the 2001 Night of Champions.

The Finals take place tonight at 7:30 at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center in New York City. Check flexonline tonight after the show for a full report.

2006 New York Pro
List of Competitors (by badge number)
1) Eddie Abbew
2) Oliver Adzievski
3) Pablo Arevalo
4) Jason Arntz
5) Eryk Bui
6) Darrem Charles
7) Kevin English
8) Aiman Faour
9) George Farah
10) Alexander Fedorov
11) Miguel Filho
13) Hunni Glanville
14) Kai Greene
15) Phil Heath
16) David Henry
17) Jaroslav Horvath
18) Pavol Jablonicky
19) Dennis James
20) King Kamali
21) Martin Kjellstrom
22) Jeff “Box” Long
23) Evgeny Mishin
24) Johnny Moya
25) Edson Prado
26) Greg Rando
27) Saviour Silv Samuel
28) Rodney St. Cloud
29) Tommi Thorvildsen
30) Ricky Welling
31) Bill Wilmore
32) Luke Wood
33) Ken Jones
34) John Hodgson

Prejudging Gallery – Comparisons

Prejudging Gallery – Individual Compulsories

Evening Show