2009 OLYMPIA: TIME FOR THE GIFT?

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Olympia Storyline Six: Time For The Gift?

by Allan Donnelly

September 23, 2009

FLEXONLINE.COM

Since 2005, when he won the overall at the USAs to earn his pro card and appeared on the cover of FLEX dubbed "The Future of Bodybuilding", it hasn't been so much a question of if Phil Heath would someday an Olympia rather than it has been one of when.

That when could be now.

A year ago, Heath solidified his status as the best of the new generation when he debuted in Las Vegas to rave reviews, finishing third behind winner Dexter Jackson and runner-up Jay Cutler. Some even had Heath winning the show after his performance at the Saturday night finals, when he came in fuller and bigger than he had a night earlier. That was at roughly 227 pounds. If Heath can come in with 5-8 pounds of added muscle - as he has said he will in the past without sacrificing his trademark conditioning - he could spell trouble for the other 22 competitors. By all accounts, Heath seems to be on track to do just that, as his weight throughout the course of his 13-week prep has consistently been over where he was at the same point a year ago.

More importantly, Heath continues to strengthen his weaknesses and improve on his strengths. His back, once a subpar bodypart, is now one of the best in the professional ranks. If Heath has been successful in bringing up his chest, he could potentially be the most complete bodybuilder on the Orleans stage, and it could be very likely that the only competitor capable of stopping The GIft from winning a Sandow in only his second Olympia is his good friend, Jay Cutler.

Of course, Heath has yet to beat his fiercest rival, current Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson. Three times he's tried, and three times he's come up short - at the 2007 Arnold Classic (fifth to Jackson's first), the 2008 Arnold Classic (second to Jackson's first) and last year's Olympia. Each time Heath gets closer, but each time Jackson manages to hold him off. Jackson himself has said it's only a matter of time before Heath overtakes him, but he's also been adamant in saying this is not the year it's going to happen.

One thing is certain: If Heath does manage to win the Olympia, he will join an ultra-elite list of competitors to have won a Sandow in only their second try, ones who need only be identified by one name - Sergio, Arnold, Haney and Yates. And if he does, there is a good chance of The Gift ruling the Olympia stage for the forseeable future.

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