Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans
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HEATH VS. CUTLER   For years, whatever rivalry there was between friends Phil Heath and Jay Cutler was played out in gyms, not on stages, and even that was more of a student/ mentor relationship. We were there the first time they trained together and Heath got buried by Cutler (“Phenom Backlash,” FLEX, November 2006). Having turned pro eight years earlier than Heath, former phenom Cutler simply had too large of a lead then, and yet he felt Heath could one day catch him.   He was right. In his Olympia debut in 2008, Heath came in third, one placebehind Cutler (Dexter Jackson won). The following January, in another workout we watched (“Killing It,” June 2009), the student matched his previous mentor nearly set for set. The onstage rivalry truly materialized when Heath was second to Cutler at the 2009 Olympia. Those places reversed at last year’s Olympia and the Sheru Classic that followed. Will Mr. O No. 11 and Mr. O No. 13 provide another thrilling one-two finish at this year’s O?

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MENTZER VS. SCHWARZENEGGER   The battle between upstart Mike Mentzer and iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger lasted only one contest, the 1980 Mr. Olympia, and Mentzer landed four places behind Schwarzenegger, who had returned to win his seventh and final O title. What elevates their single clash is the fact that it nearly came to blows. In 1979, Mentzer, a 27-yearold rookie pro, won the heavyweight division of the Mr. Olympia (Frank Zane took the overall). He was a juggernaut, but more importantly he began propagating his high-intensity training philosophy, “Heavy Duty.” He often contrasted his low-volume workouts with the double-split marathons of Schwarzenegger, who had retired from the stage in 1975.    The Austrian Oak took note, and in the greatest surprise in bodybuilding history, he jumped into the 1980 Olympia, billed as a rematch between Mentzer and Zane. Backstage before the contest, the icon and the upstart got into a verbal duel that nearly resulted in punches. Onstage, the icon was again victorious. It was the final contest for both Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Mike Mentzer, but its result and the contrasting training philosophies of its key combatants are still debated today.

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