Olympia Storyline Five: Can Dexter Jackson Repeat?
By Dave Lee
September 22, 2009
It took ten years. In that time, Dexter "The Blade" Jackson won eleven shows - including three Arnold Classics - but never the big one, the one that mattered most. Until last year, when he toppled former two-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, becoming only the 12th man to hold the Sandow in the show's 44 year history. It's been quite a road and Jackson has had to overcome many obstacles, routinely competing against foes that outweighed him by 30-40 pounds, including eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman - all the more impressive for a man that turned pro as a light-heavyweight in 2001. And now, against the deepest field of challengers to ever take the Olympia stage, will Jackson tie two-time Mr. O's Cutler, Franco Columbu [1976 and 1981] and Larry Scott [1965-1966] or remain in the company of one-timers Chris Dickerson  and Sammir Bannout ?
Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, Kai Greene, Dennis Wolf and Victor Martinez; these are the names standing between Jackson and a second Sandow. Out of that all-star cast, Heath and Cutler have made the biggest precontest noise. Heath, based on improvements made over the last year, poses the biggest threat to Jackson. Both have similar physiques and are two of the most conditioned athletes in the sport. While Jackson has beaten Heath in all three of their previous meetings, his victory margin narrows each time. Cutler, who was admittedly off last year, seems to relish his role as the underdog and having ended the reign of the seemingly unbeatable Ronnie Coleman in 2006, knows what it takes to be the last man standing. Plus, he's one of two men in this year's show to boast victories over Jackson. Greene, riding a big wave of momentum from his Arnold Classic victory earlier in the year, could create problems for Jackson with his sheer mass and condition, as can Wolf - provided the German Giant can make improvements to his lower back, hamstrings and come in bone dry. Martinez, the only other man in this year's show to beat Jackson, has all the tools to do it again - if he matches his '07 Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia condition.
Jackson will have several weapons in his arsenal to deal with the threat, chief among those flawless proportion, flowing lines and as his nickname suggests, conditioning. From the front, he's got good clavicle width with a tight waistline, making for impressive standing relaxed, front double biceps and abs and thigh shots. His overall separation is stellar, with round, full muscle bellies reminiscent of Flex Wheeler. His side chest pose is a masterpiece, every muscle working in unison to present a picture perfect image of classic bodybuilding. In the most-muscular, Jackson displays a level of detail that most of his foes are hard pressed to match, while from the rear, he has good back detail and thickness with some of the driest hamstrings and glutes in the game. Although his lats could spread wider from both the front and back and his calves could be better, his overall combination of size, shape and detail make for a highly impressive and hard to beat physique.
Last year, Jackson came in heavier with only a slight loss of sharpness. In '09, with a full year to prepare, he should come in even bigger. However, he will need to be at or near his all-time best condition to pull off a repeat. Come September 25-26 in Las Vegas, Nevada, we'll see if Jackson can hold onto bodybuilding's greatest prize.