The 2013 Mr. Olympia is going to be one of the most highly anticipated in years. It’s filled with A-list, top-tier competitors used to consistently making the top 5, that may now have to settle for eighth or ninth place that’s just how deep this year’s field runs. I’m looking forward to watching several key battles and also looking forward to seeing how several different scenarios play out. We’ll find out who’s made progress during the year, who’s fixed problem areas from 2012, and who hasn’t been able to step up their game and how far back they’ll fall. With the depth of this year’s lineup we literally will witness several top-5 athletes ending up four to five places out of the top spots, something that rarely happens at the Olympia.
What’s very interesting about this year’s event is that I’ve been putting my “feelers” out. I’ve been speaking with many of the pros and top amateurs as well as experts within the industry on their takes and they’re all focusing on “expected” battles. They’re not looking at the potential that one athlete has to put kinks in the armors of several of the top athletes. I find this situation interesting as shades of 1998 come to mind. I have so many vivid memories of that year and I’d like to show the similarities between this year’s potential placements and how the 1998 Mr. Olympia played out.
In 1998, Flex Wheeler was the favorite going into the Olympia. He’d won the Arnold Classic, demonstrating some of his best ever conditioning and everyone basically reported that as long as Flex displayed this same physique on the Olympia stage, he’d walk away with the title. Others vying for the title included Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray, and Chris Cormier. So of course, leading up to the show all the press was reporting on the same few top players and how they’d place, never even considering an upset by an up-and-coming competitor. In this situation they were leaving Ronnie Coleman completely out of the equation. After placing ninth in 1997, why would anyone even think Ronnie would give any of the top-5 Olympia contenders a run for their money? Even though Ronnie was coming of a big win at the 1998 Night Of Champions, he still received no love from the press and wasn’t even considered a threat by his fellow competitors. Now, this is where we fast-forward to the months leading up to the 2013 Mr. Olympia and where 1998 and 2013 start drawing parallels.
Going into this year’s Mr. Olympia, we don’t have an open title as we did in 1998 (defending champion Dorian Yates retired in 1997), as we have returning champ, Phil Heath, coming back to try to capture his third title, but we also have the return of the battle between Phil and Kai Greene; many felt Kai should’ve upset Phil and taken the title in 2012, so now many want to see if Kai’s made enough improvements this year. As well, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler is looking to reclaim his title.
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