Dexter Jackson topples Jay Cutler to win the Mr. Olympia

by Allan Donnelly

September 27, 2008


(Figure Olympia Finals Report Below - Gates Wins!)

Late Saturday night, with the placings of the 17 other competitors participating in the 2008 Mr. Olympia already decided, the two men still awaiting their fate walked to center stage of The Orleans Arena. One who had been there many times before, and one who until this year never imagined he would. And in the end, after 10 years and 47 contests, Dexter Jackson finally rose to the top of the sport by toppling two-time and reigning champion Jay Cutler on the way to the biggest win of his career.

"I was praying," Jackson said. "I was undecided on if I would actually win tonight. I knew I deserved to win but I didn't think I would. This sport is full of surprises. I'm just in shock right now. I've been dreaming about this moment since I started bodybuilding. I never thought it would happen."

The win was the fourth of the year for the 39-year-old Jackson who, unbelievably, continues to get better with age. Jackson began the year by winning the third Arnold Classic of his career in his best-ever form, and the improvement he displayed after years of consistently good (and sometimes great) performances elevated him to a new level and marked him as a legitimate threat to challenge Cutler in Las Vegas.

And although the 235-pound Jackson gave up roughly 30 pounds to Cutler at the Friday prejudging, Jackson's superior conditioning and aesthetics were rewarded over Cutler's sheer size. On the final scorecards, the two were separated by seven points.

Cutler entered the Olympia threatening to match the level he reached at the Olympia in 2001, when he lost a controversial decision to Ronnie Coleman. By all accounts leading up to the show, he was on track to match that performance. But he took the stage at the Friday prejudging inexplicably flat, and carrying enough water to leave the door open for someone to step in and steal his crown. Feeling the heat, Cutler took his preparation to a new level, dropping 10 pounds before taking the stage on Saturday night. And while he looked vastly improved from Friday, Jackson's lead was too much to overcome.

"I feel a little sad but I have to be happy for Dexter because I know what it's like to win," Cutler said. "He didn't believe he could win when we were standing there. You win some you lose some. He looked better than me last night and I obviously had too much ground to cover tonight. It makes the Olympia a little more interesting, we've had those years where its the same guys winning all the time, it just sucks that I have to be the guy who gets defeated so quickly. But that's what makes me who I am."

Although the Jackson-Cutler matchup grabbed the headlines, it was not the only story line that developed over the two-day contest. Nearly each of the top eight hit the mark, making it one of the most competitive Olympias in recent memory. And, standing at the forefront of that pack was Olympia rookie Phil Heath. Heath, who pushed Jackson at the Arnold in March, took his physique to the next level in Las Vegas and established himself - for now - as the best of the new breed. The 28-year-old Heath finished third - the highest finish for an Olympia rookie since Flex Wheeler placed second to Dorian Yates in 1993. Heath also came out on top in the much anticipated first matchup versus 29-year-old Dennis Wolf and gained the upper hand in a rivalry that will define the sport for years to come.

Wolf, who entered the contest being mentioned by some as the main threat to Cutler's three-peat, did not make the impact he was expected to. Despite finishing fourth, the German lacked both the conditioning and - incredibly - the overwhelming size he displayed when bursting onto the scene with his fifth-place finish a year ago.

Toney Freeman's fifth-place finish was greeted with the loudest boos from the audience. Freeman managed to at least match his conditioning and size from the 2007 Ironman, widely regarded as his best-ever showing.

Melvin Anthony made the final posedown for the third consecutive year, placing sixth for the second straight Olympia.

Mr. Olympia Final Results
1. Dexter Jackson
2. Jay Cutler
3. Phil Heath
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Toney Freeman
6. Melvin Anthony
7. Silvio Samuel
8. Dennis James
9. Mo Elmoussawi
10. Gustavo Badell
11. Darrem Charles
12. Johnnie Jackson
13. Craig Richardson
14. Ronny Rockel
15. David Henry
16. Kevin English
17T. Fouad Abiad
17T. Sergey Shelestov
17T. Leo Ingram

Gates wins the Figure O

by Mike Berg

A new champion has ascended to the top of the pro Figure ranks, as Jennifer Gates quarter-turned her way to the 2008 Figure Olympia title.
The surprise win elevated Gates into some elite company, as only the third woman to win the Figure O in the contest's six-year history, along with Jenny Lynn (2006-2007) and Davana Medina (2003-2005).
The 31-year-old mother of two from Indiana overcame a loaded field, including runner-up Gina Aliotti (who wears the 2008 Figure International crown), and Zivile Raudoniene of Lithuania, the 2007 and '08 New York Pro Figure champion, as well as 2006-2007 Figure International victor Mary Elizabeth Lado of Metarie, Louisiana, who was fifth here. Meanwhile, Lynn, the two-time defending champ who has competed in every Figure Olympia since its inception, fell to fourth.

2008 Figure Olympia Final Results
1. Jennifer Gates
2. Gina Aliotti
3. Zivile Raudoniene
4. Jenny Lynn
5. Mary Elizabeth Lado
6. Sonia Adcock
7. Kristal Richardson
8. Amy Fry
9. Nicole Wilkins
10. Heather Mae French
11. Lenay Hernandez
12. Juie Ann Kulla
13. Huong Arcinas
14. Jessica Paxson-Putnam
15. Jelena Abbou
16. Teresa Anthony
17. Jane Awad
18-tie. Paola Almerico, Darlina Brown, Bernadette Galvan, Hazal Nelson, Felicia Romero, Chastity Slone, Brenda Marie Smith, Kristi Tauti, Laticia Wilder

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Craig Richardson
Darrem Charles
David Henry
Dennis James
Dennis Wolf
Dexter Jackson
Fouad Abiad
Guatavo Badell
Jay Cutler
Johnny Jackson
Kevin English
Leo Ingram
Melvin Anthony
Moe Elmoussawi
Phil Heath
Ronny Rockel
Sergey Shelestov
Silvio Samuel
Toney Freeman
Mens Bodybuilding Comparisons Gallery One
Mens Bodybuilding Comparisons Gallery Two

Amy Fry
Bernadette Galvan
Brenda Marie Smith
Chastity Slone
Darlina Brown
Felicia Romero
Gina Aliotti
Hazal Nelson
Heather Mae French
Huong Arcinas
Jane Awad
Jelena Abbou
Jennifer Gates
Jenny Lynn
Jessica Paxson-Putnam
Julie Ann Kulla
Kristal Richardson
Kristi Tauti
Latisha Wilder
Lenay Hernandez
Mary Elizabeth Lado
Nicole Wilkins
Paola Almerico
Sonia Adcock
Teresa Anthony
Zivile Raudoniene
Figure Comparisons Gallery One Piece
Figure Comparisons Gallery Two Piece

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