When we hear the title of "Masters" it conjures up images of the "Elite" or Best of the Best!
And so it was back in 1994, The Master Blaster created the "Masters Mr. Olympia" a contest designed to lure the Champions of yesterday's past back to Center Stage one more time for the world to honor and pay tribute to their very existence. In Atlanta, Georgia the world bore witness to "The Black Prince," Robby Robinson in the winner's circle victorious once more and a somber "Incredible Hulk" Lou Ferrigno coming up short as the shows 1st place runner up! As historical as this contest was at the time, only 4 men would lay claim to this short lived concept and title that would disappear early in the 21st century: Robby, Sonny Schmidt, Don Youngblood and the All Time Winner with 5 Titles to his credit, "The Quiet Storm" Vince Taylor! As with many concept shows, this one died hard however was resurrected briefly when we saw the contest re-named to "World Masters Championships" and over 40 competitors jumped back in the fray where we saw IFBB Pro Men's Athlete Representative, Bob Cicherillo capture the title and the championship belt some 5 to 6 years ago!
Fast forward to 2010 and re-enter 1998 Ms.Olympia Contest Promoter, Jarka Lorie fr om Czech Republic who decided to follow up her new Book, "Extreme Power- Pumping Iron with the Legends" with an actual IFBB Legends/ Masters Contest! Her idea to entice some of the sports finest Bodybuilders over the age of 40 conceptually was a sound idea with the lure of a $100,000.00 1st Place Prize Money Award and $240,000.00 overall!
However, many of the greats between the ages of 45 & 55 have long since moved beyond the thought of stepping back on a Pro Stage. The majority of which have families now, working class Businessmen and some with lingering injuries from the years of battling with the weights but all of whom were extremely excited to see whom of the over 40 Elite would throw their names into the area once more for old time sake?
As Jarka's dream began taking flight, several in the Over 40 Club were still in the "Hunt" for the Open Mr. Olympia title and participating in it:
42 year old former Mr. Olympia of 2008, Dexter Jackson. Dexter started this year off competing in Santa Monica back in February since then he's circled the globe competing and brought home the IFBB German Championship with him! Now he is searching for Victory once more s he is the contest favorite "On Paper" meaning this is his contest to lose!
The return of 45 year old grand father and this years winner of the IFBB Arizona Pro Contest, Troy Alves from Phoenix, Arizona. Troy promises to bring back "Shape, Symmetry & Muscle!" Not finished by a long shot, Troy is looking for his 1st chance to be compared with Dexter, Freeman and Company.
45 year old 2011 Winner of the Europa Dallas From the ATL, " X-Man" Toney Freeman continues to rack up victories late in his career! Kicking the year off from the back of the pack, Toney stayed the course tightened up and found the Winners Circle as the year wore on. Toney know now is his time to shine as the hands of time tick away, he'd like nothing more than to take out a couple former Mr. Olympia Winners and run off with the Masters Title and all that comes with it!
"The Lion of Lebanon" Samir Bannout winner of the 83' Mr. Olympia has big plans to "Shock the Word" once more as he returns to the stage as a father of 5 from Chatsworh,Ca. Samir has plans which is why he jumped at the chance to get in this battle and mix it up again! Rumor has it, he maybe working on a Supplement Line, either way at 55 plus, Samir is to be commended he says, " I'm challenging myself daily to see how good I can be regardless of how I place, I'm on a mission!
"The Viking," Andreas Cahling now living in Southern California by way of Sweden dusts off his famous Posing Suit to have another shot at a Posedown in South Beach!
"Dazzling," Darrem Charles the "King of the $10,000.00 Shows" as I've coined him doesn't have to travel far to have a go at the $100,000 Prize Money being he lives near South Beach and while he took an extended break by his contest standards should return fresh and ready to make some noise not to mention go after the $5,000.00 Best Poser Award that's up for grabs!
40 year old 2009 NPC National Champion and 2011 IFBB Mexico Pro Winner, Ed " 2nd to" Nunn is looking to close the year out as "The Spoiler!" Hailing from Indiana, Ed stands 6ft tall and plans on coming in around 260 plus pounds! It will be interesting to see how he looks at the end of this year having competed already in 6 Pro contests this year alone?
"Big Bill Wilmore" 5x Mr. Olympia competitor originally from Pittsburgh, Pa now living in Hollywood, Florida wont have to travel far to rumble once again with some heavy weights! Bill skipped the Olympia and the summer shows to concentrate on this show being held in his back yard. With plans of coming in a few pounds heavier and a much harder and separated Bill have everything to gain and nothing to lose here! Welcome to the Over 40 Club bro!
Pavol Jablonicky returns with a Vengeance! From the Czech Republic, Pavol is known for his hard conditioning and vascularity. Should he bring Muscle Separation to his Back, Hams & Glutes a lot of guys should have reason to be concerned! Pavol is truly a veteran of the Pro Stage and should represent himself well here in this line up.
202 lb Champ, Ricky "Tricky" Jackson has been chomping at the bit for this contest of 40 plus bodybuilders. Standing 5'5 200lbs, Tricky has no grand illusions of knocking out some pre-contest favorites but should he bring his "A Game" he'll chop em down at the knee's if they don't show up ready to rumble! Tricky has his eye on the $5,000 Best Poser Award as well to add to his collection that is impressive by anyones standard!
Local Pro, "Life Guard" Lee Apperson with Cover Boy good looks, stands 6 ft tall with a 6 pack to die for. Lee on the slender side of the Muscle Department, brings an Athletic Look that has been missing from the taller bodybuilder's for sometime. Ever improving, Lee should be respectable but this field is deep with talent and he could get lost in the mix but congrats to him for showing he still ambitious enough to showcase his work wh ere it should rightfully be shown!
8X Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman in da house! It has been rumored and stated by Ronnie himself that if his Back heals enough to his liking he will get in the contest as a Competitor! He will be making an 11th hour decision but if he cannot compete he will be there support the event after under going Back Surgery this summer the "Big Nasty" even at less than 100% could instill fear into the line up of healthy. Bodybuilders! Time will tell.......?
These are a few confirmed to battle it out December 10th along with a few others not mentioned here.
As previously stated, the term "Masters" is a word reserved for the "Elite" and while we don't see names like: Labrada, Gaspari, Levrone, Wheeler or Ray what we do see is a nice mix of the "Past & Present" going to center stage at the advanced age of over 40 which is no easy feat in and of itself. Regardless of what some may think of the Masters Contest being brought back or it's Line up I will simply say this, " Based on the Iconic Hall of Fame Bodybuilders in attendance, I wouldn't miss this show for the world!"
2X Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott- Receiving "Lifetime Achievement Award"
"The Incredible Hulk"- Lou Ferrigno- Presenting Award
"Totalee Awesome" - Lee Haney- 8 X Mr. Olympia
"The Chemist" - Frank Zane- 3 X Mr. Olympia
"Invincible" - Vince Taylor - 5X Masters Olympia
"The Shadow"- Dorian Yates - 6 X Mr. Olympia
"The Lion of Lebanon"- Samir Bannout- Mr. Olympia 83'
Chris Dickerson- Mr. Olympia 82'
"The Blade" - Dexter Jackson- Mr. Olympia 08'
"The Maryland Muscle Machine"- Kevin Levrone
"The Black Prince"- Robby Robinson - Guest Poser
Juliette Bergman- 3 X Ms. Olympia - Guest Poser
Andy Haman- Guest Poser
Asia Monet Ray- 6 yr old National Miss Petite- Guest Performer
Special Invited Guests:
MBL- A Rod (Alex Rodriguez) New York Yankee
WWE- Bautista (David Bautista) former WWE Champ
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