July 26, 2011


This USA class has traditionally been a bit of an enigma. Since the creation of the super-heavyweight class in 1998, only three heavyweights have won the USA overall, the first of whom was Phil Heath in 2005. That said, two of the last three USA overall winners have been heavies (Brandon Curry in 2008, Mark Alvisi in 2009), so this class has been on a role of late. Will that heavyweight strength continue this year?

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Jonathan Delarosa
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National Level History: 2010 Nationals, heavyweight, 3rd; 2009 Nationals, heavyweight, 5th; 2008 Nationals, heavyweight, 4th
Our Take: Making his USA debut, New York’s Champagnie has a pleasing combo of size and shape. If he’s filled in his back and hams, he can move up from his third at last year’s Nats.

National Level History: 2010 USA, heavyweight, 4th; 2009 Nationals, heavyweight, 6th; 2009 USA, heavyweight, 5th
Our Take: Croon has been consistent: in the mix to pose on Saturday (i.e. top five), but not a strong threat for a pro card. He just needs to display a little more size (especially in his chest) and little sharper condition than last year to take that next step and be in the fight for first this year.

National Level History: 2010 USA, heavyweight, 2nd; 2009 Jr. Nationals, light-heavy and overall, 1st
Our Take: This New Yorker burst onto the scene with his Atlantic States and Jr. Nationals overall victories in 2009, and he very nearly nabbed a pro card on his first try at last year’s USA. If he can come in near the top of the heavy’s 225-limit and a bit tighter than last year, De La Rosa will be tough to beat.

National Level History: 2011 Jr. Nationals heavyweight and overall, 1st; 2010 Nationals, heavyweight, 10th
Our Take: Because we liked his great lines and full muscle bellies, we made Jordan one of our “4 To Watch” despite his double-digit finish in last year’s Nats. This year, he proved us prophetic by winning the overall at the Jr. Nationals. Need we remind you of another Jr. Nats champ who then leapt into the same year’s USA as a heavyweight? Hint: his nickname is “The Gift.”

National Level History: 2010 USA Championships, light-heavy, 4th
Our Take: Northern California’s Nguyen opened a lot of eyes with his light-heavy fourth in last year’s contest. A bit leaner, and he may well have won the class. This year he made two moves: down to Southern California (training at the Mecca) and up to the heavies. We’ll see if both moves pay off.

Check out FLEXonline all week for the most in-depth coverage of the NPC USA Championships on July 29-30 in Las Vegas! FLEXonline is the only place you’ll see backstage coverage during the entire contest. The previews will continue all week until we are live from Las Vegas (next Thursday) with exclusive weigh-in photos!

WHAT: 2011 NPC USA Championships
WHERE: Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, Las Vegas, NV
WHEN: Friday & Saturday, July 29-30, 2011
TIME: Prejudging at 4:30pm on Friday & 9:00am on Saturday; All Finals at 6:00pm Saturday!!!