2018 Olympia Report – Men & Women
By Wayne Gallasch, Olympia camera team.
All photos by Jason Breeze. jasonbreeze.com
Shawn Rhoden became the 14th Mr Olympia winner as he stunningly took home the top prize. Phil Heath held the title for the last 7 years, but on the big night this year, it was not to be his record-equalling victory # 8.
It was quite an upset, but the finely conditioned and superbly proportioned Shawn Rhoden clearly brought the best package to the stage. Originally from Jamaica, and now aged 43, Shawn has been working towards this goal for many years. This was his 8th Olympia. It was an extremely popular victory. I know the Mr Olympia is much more than “best abs” but Shawn’s midsection was quite outstanding and separated him from the rest.
Chris Dickerson won the Mr Olympia title in London in 1982 at the age of 43, and Shawn and Chris hold the record for the oldest Mr Olympia winners.
A few comments on the other top guys:
Big Ramy in 6th place was huge but a bit disappointing, and his condition and midsection were not going to help him place high this year. Huge size but he was too thick through the middle.
Phil Heath – so much has been said and written about his control of his midsection, or lack thereof. Phil was still pretty damn good such that nobody disputed his second-place finish. Condition around the torso area was definitely his negative factor that cost him the title this year. He did win some of the poses, but the overall look is what counted in the end.
William Bonac in 4th place – seemed to be about 5 lbs too heavy this time, compared to his ideal weight. This took away his usual crisp definition and superb condition of the recent past. Looked much better when he won the Arnold Classic earlier this year.
Roelly Winklaar – the most improved Olympian for 2018, taking 3rd place, his best ever finish. Could be a future winner with the huge size he has achieved, and now needs to keep on refining it. Was the Arnold Classic Australia winner for 2018. Roelly Winklaar won the 2018 Mr. Olympia People’s Champion Award, presented by David Pecker.
Brandon Curry – a real surprise package and presented a great physique with excellent size and condition. He took 5th place.
Sergio Oliva Jr was in his first Olympia, making the first father and son Olympia competitor’s combination. Sergio was unplaced but showed huge potential. Some body parts were extremely reminiscent of his father.
212 Class Pro Men
In the 212 Class which really should be officially called the 212 Olympia, Flex Lewis reigned supreme for 212 title #7. Not only was it a very clear victory, it was the best I have ever seen Flex look in any of his 7 victories. He has now retired from this class and will in future compete in the Open Class. Flex is talking about waiting 2 years, but he is ready in my opinion to place top 3 in the 2019 Mr Olympia. It is also my feeling that he could have placed top 4 in this year’s Olympia. Such was his size, quality and condition.
He does not need to gain much more size and weight, he simply needs to bring his amazing symmetry and condition and pretty much bring the package he presented next year. To gain much more weight could easily take away his best weapons, shape and condition. His posing is good, but it could easily be taken to another level.
In second place in the 212 class was the young and broad shouldered American, Derek Lunsford, and he was very good when he was fully flexed. I observed him up close in the pump room, where he looked as though he was still carrying fluid and a little soft. But the judges liked him a lot, as his victory over Kamal was clear-cut on the score sheet.
Kamal Elgargni from Libya, and a resident and gym owner in England, could count himself a touch unlucky not to have received the second-place medal. He was the new guy to many of the judges, assuming he was judged by different guys when he won the Arnold Classic 212 in Columbus this year. Derek was not in that contest, so I look forward to their re-match next Olympia.
Derek had impact due to his great shoulder width and it was in the front double biceps pose where he was superior to Kamal. On the other hand, Kamal had the better abs and legs, sharper condition, as well as his usual great shape and symmetry, and superior posing. With a different set of judges those 2 positions could easily have been reversed.
Next in 4th place was the impressive Ahmad Ashkanani. Good overall but not quite up to the quality of the top 3 in this class.
Classic Physique & Men’s Physique
Rounding out the other 2 men’s classes at the Olympia was Classic Physique repeat winner Breon Ansley of USA, narrowly over Chris Bumstead of Canada. I could easily see this reversing next time.
In the Men’s Physique Class, it was an outstanding new winner in Brandon Hendrickson over Raymont Edmonds, both of USA. Defending champion Jeremy Buendia had to settle for 4th place.
2018 IFBB Pro League Pro Wheelchair Championships
There was a new contest this year, held on the Expo stage on the Saturday afternoon. This is the FIRST time ever that Pro Wheelchair Athletes will battle on the Olympia Expo Stage! These are inspirational athletes, and they are the very best of the best in IFBB Pro League Wheelchair Bodybuilding.
The winner was Harold Kelley of USA with the runner-up and Best Poser award going to Anand Arnold from India.
The Honoured Athlete Award went to Jack McCann, an IFBB Pro Wheelchair Athlete for his life-time of service to the sport of Wheelchair Bodybuilding. The award stated that it was a “special honorary award to Jack for his extraordinary achievements in wheelchair bodybuilding.”
In first place it was Cydney Gillon, in a close decision over her great rival, Candice Lewis-Carter. Both of USA. I could not separate them and my personal preference would have been Candice. Both were outstanding with no obvious weaknesses. I did feel that Candice had the slightly better V-shape. The result was the reverse at the Arnold Classic USA, 6 months earlier.
In 3rd place it was Nadia Wyatt of USA over Jessica Reyes Padilla from Puerto Rico. Coming in 5th it was Carly Starling Horrell from the very consistent Heather Dees in 6th place. The overall quality in this class was quite outstanding such that some truly great figure competitors did not make top 6.
Whitney Jones from USA repeated her victory from the Arnold to make it the double, becoming the new Fitness Olympia champion. Whitney has a great physique with wide shoulders and a wide ranging routine to match. Her routine had so many outstanding elements, she was a worthy winner. In second place it was the consistent Canadian star, Ryall Graber. 3rd and 4th also went to Canadians in Myriam Capes and Missy Farrell. In 5th place it was Bethany Wagner over Darrian Borello, both from USA.
Once again it was that unstoppable force in Bikini competition, Angelica Teixeira representing USA and formerly from Brazil. In second place and something of a surprise to me was Lauralie Chapados from Canada. In what must have been a very tight decision, she edged out the star Bikini competitor Janet Layug into 3rd place. Janet has won a number of top Bikini titles, and I felt the main competition of 1st and 2nd was between her and Angelica.
In 4th place it was Elisa Pecini of Brazil over former champion Ashley Kaltwasser of USA, with Jennifer Ronzitti of USA rounding out the top 6. I felt that any one of the women placed 4th to 6th could easily have placed say 3rd to 5th, such was the tightness of this competition. All of the women looked amazing and it was an extremely hard job for the judges.
Women’s Physique Olympia
Again we welcomed a new Olympia champion in Shanique Grant. She also made it the double with the Arnold Classic this year. Her physique reminds me of Lenda Murray with that tiny waits and broad shoulders and superb midsection. She looked incredible. One small suggestion I would share with her would be to start and complete her posing routine close to the box at all times, in the best light. Much of her routine was performed towards the rear of the stage.
In 2nd place it was the extremely symmetrical Natalia Abraham Coelho edging out the wonderful Daniely Castilho from Brazil. 4th went to Jennifer Taylor of USA. Heather Grace had a wonderful posing routine and is something of a legend in Women’s Physique. Rounding out the top 6 was Michaela Aycock, also from USA. 7th and 8th places went to two excellent physiques with most amazing names in Tomefafa Ameko and Penpraghai Tiangngok.
Oksana Grishina Pole Fitness Classic at the Olympia
In 2018, the Olympia Weekend Expo included a pole fitness competition for the first time in history, and hosted by the legendary Ms. Fitness Olympia herself, Oksana Grishina. This inaugural OG Pole Fitness Pro at Olympia featured 14 of the world’s top pole fitness athletes, competing for $5,250 in cash prizes. Oksana gave a magnificent demonstration to kick off this new event. The results were as follows
Tara Meyer of Canada was an outstanding winner, elegant, beautiful and an amazing performer, taking out the double. She also won the fan favourite award at this contest. Then it was the battle of the Foxes, probably unrelated. In second place it was the extremely talented Sallye Fox from Ashley Fox, both from USA. In 4th it was a popular result for Nina Zamora from El Salvador. It was a tie for 5th place between Vanessa Leen from France and Eunji Jeong from South Korea. It was a spectacular event and Oksana must have been extremely proud at the standard and high quality of all competitors.
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