Olympia Storyline One: Who Will Step Up

By Greg Merritt

September 15, 2009


If we can agree by past results that (alphabetically) Jay Cutler, Kai Greene, Phil Heath, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez and Dennis Wolf are the presumptive Mr. O posedown participants, then who has the best shot of spoiling that party and making the top six? Further, who will round out what promises to be the most competitive top 10 in at least a decade? Let’s look at six possibilities.

Moe Elmousawi, Dennis James and Silvio Samuel each have a good shot at the top 10 but it’s going to be crowded with quality this year. My guess is only one of them will make it. Several guys who are unaccustomed to double digit slots are going to find themselves in new scoresheet territory on September 26. Elmousawi was ninth in his O debut last year, but the addition of Kai Greene, Victor Martinez and Branch Warren this year is likely to push him down the line. James has been getting comfy in the top spot (winning two pro shows this summer), but he’ll need his A game for a single digit finish here. Likewise, Samuel has been knocking on the O posedown door in recent years, but that would seem a long-shot against this stacked field.

Which brings us to three veterans who should not only make the top 10 but could break the top six. With aesthetic density and masterful posing, Melvin Anthony has been in the past three O posedowns, but he’ll have to bring even more than usual this year to rack up O posedown number four. Coming off a strong third at the Arnold (I had him 2nd), Branch Warren seems poised to bulldoze into the top six here. If he’s as grainy and veiny as he was in Columbus, I like his chances. Finally, Toney Freeman is the O’s greatest enigma. Off his peak, he’ll drop far and fast (he was 14th in ’07). At his best, he has the size and structure to contend for the Sandow (he was 5th last year but deserved 4th). The only thing certain is nothing is certain. On September 25-26, we’ll see who falters and who flourishes, who slides down bodybuilding’s rankings and who climbs even closer to the summit.