2016 Mr. Olympia Press Conference
This year’s Press Conference was one of the best ever with the return to competition of legend KEVIN LEVRONE after 13 years of retirement. As usual the Conference had its “edge”, superbly MC’d by Bob Cicherillo and Dennis James.
If you like a little fun mixed with a touch of controversy, this video will keep you interested for all of the 87 minutes. Some of the comments by reigning Mr. Olympia Phil Heath were fascinating. If you could not make it to the Olympia in 2016, you need not miss out on all of the action from the Orleans Theatre Press Conference.
The most humorous moments were the clever jibes by Dexter Jackson concerning the age and return of Kevin Levrone who was by far the oldest competitor seen on the Olympia stage in many years.
The bonus part for the fans was Kevin taking up the challenge to show what he had underneath his tracksuit top, with a 3-way posedown between Kevin, Cedric McMillan and Josh Lenartowicz from Australia.
Beautifully edited with brilliant audio – All competitors speak during the conference and audio levels have been balanced between each speaker.
Phil Heath – USA
Kevin Levrone – USA
Shawn Rhoden – USA
Dexter Jackson – USA
Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay – Egypt
William Bonac – Netherlands
Roelly Winklaar – Curacao
Cedric McMillan – USA
Dallas McCarver – USA
Josh Lenartowicz – Australia
Justin Compton – USA
Victor Martinez – Dominican Republic
Nathan DeAsha – UK
Steve Kuclo – USA
Ben Pakulski – Canada
Akim Williams – USA
Brandon Curry – USA
Michael Lockett – USA
Lukas Osladil – Czech Republic
Photos by Darren Burns.
2016 Mr. Olympia Wrap Up by Wayne Gallasch, GMV Productions.
Phil Heath was the clear favourite going into the event and with Kai Greene no longer choosing to compete in the Mr. Olympia, there was no obvious close rival. As good as Dexter is, he was never going to topple “The Gift.” In my opinion, the next best guy going into the competition was Shawn Rhoden. It proved to be so with Shawn clearly second and looking as good as I have ever seen him look.
This meant that Phil was not too troubled in taking home his 6th Sandow statue to add to his collection. Phil works extremely hard and along with his obvious genetic potential, always impresses with his symmetry and hard and grainy condition. This year Phil tied Dorian Yates on 6 victories and next year if he wins it again he equals Arnold on 7 Olympia titles.
The real competition started with the 4 guys fighting it out for the placings 2nd to 5th. I predicted that William Bonac would move up the placings this year and he came in at a well deserved 5th place. He has great shape, fantastic arms, good symmetry and good condition. If he had been a fraction sharper he could have easily grabbed 3rd place. Bonac is a native of Ghana and now lives in the Netherlands.
Dexter was….. normal Dexter, always in top shape, always consistent and superbly conditioned. He was competing in his first Olympia back when Jay Cutler made his debut in 1999. Dexter placed 9th in that Olympia. This year he had to settle for 3rd.
The man to watch and who poses the greatest threat to Phil is Mamdouh Elssbiay, better known as Big Ramy. Each year he has placed higher (since 2013) and keeps on improving his contest condition, experience and placing. He is 32 and only a few years younger than Phil, but he is yet to hit his peak. He is still a fairly inexperienced competitor to the Olympia stage and is still learning the balance between size, condition and better stage presence. I see him as a genuine threat. It was no surprise to see him place 4th.
In 6th place it was Roelly Winklaar, a fellow resident to Bonac from the Netherlands and also a big rival. Roelly frustrates me in that he also has the potential to truly challenge Phil. But there is that small something that is missing to really shake the title. Winklaar owns a pair of the best arms and forearms I have ever seen, along with a killer most muscular pose. I feel that the area holding him back is the mid-section and keeping it totally under control at all times. If Roelly came in a little smaller, lighter and tighter I think he could push into the top 3.
In 7th place it was Cedric McMillan. I was shooting backstage throughout the contest, both nights and had a good look at Cedric close-up. He was extremely big and very impressive. His overall symmetry is good for such a tall guy and standing relaxed he looks near unbeatable with a hard grainy physique. However I do not personally like his posing style which is classical posing and comes across as a little ordinary and slow in an Olympia competition. I know the judging compares the guys in compulsory poses, so I would expect that Cedric’s unique posing presentation probably has little effect on his placing. But I do not feel it helps. I would like to have seen him placed higher, probably 6th.
In 8th place was 2nd year Olympian Dallas McCarver of USA. He has quite a cult following and was I believe the youngest guy in the lineup. He is big, impressive and symmetrical and will continue to climb up the placings.
9th place went to Aussie Josh Lenartowicz who was making his Olympia debut. This year Josh has won two Grand Prix events and was right at the top of his game. He is also very big, symmetrical, has a superb mid-section/most muscular pose, was in tight and dry condition and posed with confidence and style.
It was close with McCarver and the new guy always has to serve his dues. That means in a tight situation the local USA competitor is probably going to get the close decision over the “newby”. That is how it turned out on the night. Watch for Josh to go up the rankings next year, having placed 3rd at the Arnold Classic USA this year.
I do not know Josh personally and had never met him before this event. But I did feel he should have been placed 8th. It will be interesting to read what other scribes thought of his first Olympia appearance.
10th place went to first timer Justin Compton. Justin has a neat, compact physique with no real weaknesses and no outstanding bodyparts. He has a very good overall package, that simply needs more time, maturity and polish. Plus size as long as he keeps his good proportions. He has a great coach in Hany Rambod so expect big things from Justin in a few years’ time.
Although my comments are only on the top 10 of the 19 competitors, Kevin Levrone is worthy of a very big compliment for what he achieved. At age 53, and having not competed in the Olympia for 13 years, he made a most credible comeback. The success is not measured by his placing, equal 16th, but on what he gave the fans. He has a wonderful reception from the fans, presenting his classic upper-body poses to perfection and showing excellent condition and posing.
After so many years out of the sport and not training at all, his comeback performance was remarkable. Naturally the body-part that is hardest to regain with age is the legs. That is what really cost Kevin in the overall comparisons. But he can be totally proud of what he achieved, and went where no Olympian has ever gone before. Maybe we will see other retired Olympians come back for one more time. Jay Cutler, how about it?
Mr Olympia Results:
- Phil Heath – USA
2. Shawn Rhoden – USA
3. Dexter Jackson – USA
4. Mamdouh Elssbiay (Big Ramy) – Egypt
5. William Bonac – Netherlands
6. Roelly Winklaar – Netherlands
7. Cedric McMillan – USA
8. Dallas McCarver – USA
9. Josh Lenartowicz – Australia
10. Justin Compton – USAA few words on the 212 Class.
The Welsh Wizard Flex Lewis did it again for his 5th victory in the Olympia 212 Class. This time the runner up was a new guy from Kuwait by the name of Ahman Ashkanani. He was very good, extremely hard and muscular, but no match for Britian’s own champion in Lewis. This class belongs to Flex, and who knows, one day he may move up to the Mr Olympia class! I hope so.
Mr. Olympia – 212 Class top 5 Results:
1. Flex Lewis – 5 times 212 Champion Wales/UK
2. Ahman Ashkanani – Kuwait
3. Jose Raymond – USA
4. Eduardo Correa – Brazil
5. David Henry – USA
A final note, the whole event was brilliantly organised and staged by Robin Chang and his team. Hats off to everyone who helped make this such an outstanding show.
(Wayne has been shooting film, video and photos at the Olympias since 1971 and been on the Olympia camera team since 1999.)