NPC NATIONALS CLASS-ICS

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Some of bodybuilding's legendary showdowns took place at the NPC Nationals. Here, we pick our favorites.

by Shawn Perine

November 20, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

With the 2008 NPC Nationals slated for this Friday and Saturday in Atlanta Georgia, we look forward to what should prove to be an exciting and competitive show. But we'd also like to take a moment to look back; to what we consider the five greatest class showdowns in Nationals history.

We based our ranking primarily on the number of competitors in each class who would go on to turn pro as well as the quality of the physiques vying for top dog status that year. While we consider ourselves somewhat expert on the subject, we fully admit that greatness is something always open to interpretation. What might make our top five might not rank for you. So let us know your opinions. How would you place them? Are we leaving any out?

Log onto the flexonline forums and go to the thread Greatest Nationals Classes to give us your input. We're looking forward to hearing from you. And now ... the list:

TOP FIVE NPC NATIONALS CLASSES

CLASS NO. 5: 1993 Heavyweight Class
FUTURE PROS: 4 (Michael Francois, Dennis Newman, Don Long, Toney Freeman)
WINNER: Michael Francois Overall winner

THE BREAKDOWN: Mike Francois would launch a stellar pro career upon taking both the heavyweight class and overall titles at the '93 Nationals. Over the next two years he would win his first four pro shows and place seventh at the Mr. Olympia. Runner-up finisher Dennis Newman presented one of the most proportioned physiques in the history of the contest and although, like Francois, would see his pro career cut short by illness, made an impact on bodybuilding still felt today. Edgar Fletcher took third place and would eventually establish himself as one of the best bodybuilders never to turn pro. Future pros Don Long and Toney Freeman also made their marks in this show, as did fifth place finisher Dean Caputo.

Some of bodybuilding's legendary showdowns took place at the NPC Nationals. Here, we pick our favorites.

by Shawn Perine

November 20, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

With the 2008 NPC Nationals slated for this Friday and Saturday in Atlanta Georgia, we look forward to what should prove to be an exciting and competitive show. But we'd also like to take a moment to look back; to what we consider the five greatest class showdowns in Nationals history.

We based our ranking primarily on the number of competitors in each class who would go on to turn pro as well as the quality of the physiques vying for top dog status that year. While we consider ourselves somewhat expert on the subject, we fully admit that greatness is something always open to interpretation. What might make our top five might not rank for you. So let us know your opinions. How would you place them? Are we leaving any out?

Log onto the flexonline forums and go to the thread Greatest Nationals Classes to give us your input. We're looking forward to hearing from you. And now ... the list:

TOP FIVE NPC NATIONALS CLASSES

CLASS NO. 4: 1987 Light-Heavyweights
Future Pros: 5 - Shawn Ray, Daryl Stafford, J.J. Marsh, Vince Taylor, Ron Coleman
Winner: Shawn Ray

THE BREAKDOWN: The entire 1987 show may go down as the best ever, with a heavyweight class won by Phil Hill and including Troy Zuccolotto, Bob Cicherillo and Matt Mendenhall, but it was the light-heavies who set the standard that year.

Some contend that to this day Shawn Ray was the most complete Nationals winner ever. Even so, he was pushed hard by uber-aesthetic Daryl Stafford, the gifted J.J. Marsh and the legendary Vince Taylor. Following that impressive foursome of future pros came guys like Glenn Knerr and Jeff Sneed, who were ounces from besting a number of future pros during their day. The other Ron Coleman would end up in eighth, but later join Ray, Stafford, Marsh and Taylor in the pros.

Some of bodybuilding's legendary showdowns took place at the NPC Nationals. Here, we pick our favorites.

by Shawn Perine

November 20, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

With the 2008 NPC Nationals slated for this Friday and Saturday in Atlanta Georgia, we look forward to what should prove to be an exciting and competitive show. But we'd also like to take a moment to look back; to what we consider the five greatest class showdowns in Nationals history.

We based our ranking primarily on the number of competitors in each class who would go on to turn pro as well as the quality of the physiques vying for top dog status that year. While we consider ourselves somewhat expert on the subject, we fully admit that greatness is something always open to interpretation. What might make our top five might not rank for you. So let us know your opinions. How would you place them? Are we leaving any out?

Log onto the flexonline forums and go to the thread Greatest Nationals Classes to give us your input. We're looking forward to hearing from you.

And now ... the list:

TOP FIVE NPC NATIONALS CLASSES

CLASS NO. 3: 1997 Heavyweight Class
FUTURE PROS: 8 (Tom Prince, Orville Burke, Garrett Downing, Dennis James, Mat DuVall, George Turmon, Jeramy Freeman)
WINNER: Tom Prince (overall winner)

THE BREAKDOWN: This year's heavyweight class takes the cake for most future pros duking it out. Prince, Burke, Downing and James in particular would all go on to very successful pro careers, with Orville and Dennis both cracking the top six at the Mr. Olympia.

It should be noted that perennial top-placing amateur Dave Palumbo managed to slip into the mix with a fifth place finish, ahead of DuVall, Kamali, Turmon and Freeman.

Some of bodybuilding's legendary showdowns took place at the NPC Nationals. Here, we pick our favorites.

by Shawn Perine

November 20, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

With the 2008 NPC Nationals slated for this Friday and Saturday in Atlanta Georgia, we look forward to what should prove to be an exciting and competitive show. But we'd also like to take a moment to look back; to what we consider the five greatest class showdowns in Nationals history.

We based our ranking primarily on the number of competitors in each class who would go on to turn pro as well as the quality of the physiques vying for top dog status that year. While we consider ourselves somewhat expert on the subject, we fully admit that greatness is something always open to interpretation. What might make our top five might not rank for you. So let us know your opinions. How would you place them? Are we leaving any out?

Log onto the flexonline forums and go to the thread Greatest Nationals Classes to give us your input. We're looking forward to hearing from you. And now ... the list:

TOP FIVE NPC NATIONALS CLASSES

CLASS NO. 2: 1982 Heavyweight Class
FUTURE PROS: 6 (Haney, Tim Belknap, Bob Paris, Mike Christian, Mike Quinn, J.J. Marsh)
WINNER: Lee Haney (overall winner)

THE BREAKDOWN: The inaugural edition of the NPC Nationals, held in New York City, featured the man who broke Arnold's record for Olympia wins and who is tied with Ronnie Coleman for most wins to this day. Lee Haney, at just 22, shocked the bodybuilding world with a combination of size, shape and definition not seen since Schwarzenegger himself.

The greatest bodybuilder to never turn pro, Matt Mendenhall, finished a whisper-close second and future bodybuilding icon Bob Paris would find himself edged out by the massive Tim Belknap for the third-place spot.

Of note, a frustrated Bob Reis threw his fifth-place trophy to the stage and stormed offstage before the top five group shot could be taken.

Some of bodybuilding's legendary showdowns took place at the NPC Nationals. Here, we pick our favorites.

by Shawn Perine

November 20, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

With the 2008 NPC Nationals slated for this Friday and Saturday in Atlanta Georgia, we look forward to what should prove to be an exciting and competitive show. But we'd also like to take a moment to look back; to what we consider the five greatest class showdowns in Nationals history.

We based our ranking primarily on the number of competitors in each class who would go on to turn pro as well as the quality of the physiques vying for top dog status that year. While we consider ourselves somewhat expert on the subject, we fully admit that greatness is something always open to interpretation. What might make our top five might not rank for you. So let us know your opinions. How would you place them? Are we leaving any out?

Log onto the flexonline forums and go to the thread Greatest Nationals Classes to give us your input. We're looking forward to hearing from you. And now ... the list:

TOP FIVE NPC NATIONALS CLASSES

CLASS NO. 1: 1991 Heavyweight Class
FUTURE PROS: 7 (Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Paul Demayo, Ronnie Coleman, Bob Cicherillo, Chris Cormier, Dean Caputo)
WINNER: Kevin Levrone (overall winner)

THE BREAKDOWN: The greatest class in Nationals history featured an eight-time Mr. Olympia winner, two guys who finished second on multiple occasions, a third place finalist and a Masters Pro World winner, not to mention four future Hall of Famers.

It's hard to dispute the collective impact the crew competing in the heavies at the 1991 NPC Nationals had on bodybuilding. Overall winner Kevin Levrone, runner-up Ken "Flex" Wheeler and eight-time Mr. O Coleman form what is arguably the greatest top three lineup of any contest ever, pro included.

Although this show would prove to be Levrone's coronation into the pro ranks, Coleman would follow suit shortly after with a World Championships victory while Wheeler would rise to pro status the following year, at the NPC USAs.

With Masters Pro World champ Bob Cicherillo in sixth, future Hall of Famer Chris Cormier finishing in seventh and the incredible amateur Edgar Fletcher filling out the eighth spot, the heavyweight class at the 1991 NPC Nationals was truly the class of classes.

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