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Olympia 2019 Predictions

By: 
Branden Liezert

Olympia Coverage Sponsored By Redcon1

The greatest bodybuilding athletes will gather in Las Vegas, Nevada to figure out who is taking home the honour of Olympia champion. There are many storylines surrounding the championship weekend, but perhaps none more prominent than Hadi Choopan being granted his visa and competing at his first Olympia after being known as one of the best bodybuilders in the world for a couple of years now. The Mr. Olympia title is wide open this year, but that is only where the competition begins this year as every other major IFBB Pro division will be in action in Vegas as well.

 

Mr. Olympia

1. Brandon “The Prodigy” Curry

Everyone is jumping on the Curry hype train, and I’m no different here. Curry’s physique at the 2019 Arnold Classic would’ve won the 2018 Olympia in my opinion. Curry covers all the bases of a champion physique: aesthetics, size, proportions, and conditioning. Curry has every body part in spades, but is most notable for his arms and chest, which lends itself to a very aesthetic look. His sweeping lats tie into a very tight waist, and flaring quads complete the look. The only way Curry loses this show in my opinion is if he screws up his water and fullness immensely and one of the other front-runners nails his conditioning and surpass him in that regard.

2. William “The Conqueror” Bonac

Absent from the hoopla leading into the show, Bonac is always dangerous and never misses his condition. Of course, Bonac’s structure is what limits his potential (something where Curry has a huge advantage on him). When it comes to muscle separation, hardness, and overall density, Bonac is rarely defeated. Bonac frequently displays cross-striated quads, a layered Christmas tree in the lower back, and sinew-splitting fullness in the upper body. His physique is just ever so slightly “too busy” because of his frame, though, and I see him somewhere in the second-to-fourth range this weekend. I will say he’s more likely to be under this prediction than above in my opinion.

3. Roelly “The Beast” Winklaar

The big dance is generally pretty good to Winklaar whereas Ohio (Arnold Classic) placings have been a little less kind. In this year’s Arnold Classic, Roelly missed his conditioning and landed with a disappointing fifth-place finish. It was just one year ago that Roelly showed up at his best to date at the 2018 Mr. Olympia and finished third, behind Shawn Rhoden and Phil Heath (both of whom aren’t competing this year). I fully expect last year’s version of Winklaar to show up in terms of conditioning with a few more pounds of muscle, but I feel like Bonac will be even sharper than last year and Curry is going to have a lot more muscle. So, this third-place prediction is not a slight to Winklaar, but rather a commendation to Curry and Bonac.

4. Dexter “The Blade” Jackson

It is stupid how good Dex is after being in this game for so long. It’s impossible for Jackson to reinvent his physique every year (unlike Curry), but he has no problem consistently nailing his condition and getting onstage bone-dry and hard as rock. Jackson is a bit of a wild card this weekend; I truly believe he could land anywhere between first and eighth. Jackson was a little off in 2018 at the big dance, but has compared favourably to Curry multiple times before. If Dexter is 100 percent on the money and Curry is slightly off, I do believe Jackson can beat him. Having said that, Curry has put on so much size in the past year that we won’t know how it will shake down until they get beside each other onstage. To me, it’s clear that a 100 percent Dexter beats Winklaar and Bonac even if they’re just a tad off. However, if a flat Dexter gets onstage (like last year), I think names like Sandoe, McMillan, De Asha, and Kuclo could surpass him.

5. Nathan “The Prophecy” De Asha

Nathan is a bit of a polarizing personality in the world of bodybuilding. To some, the entertainment of his antics and social-media persona make him popular. However, if you’re a purist of the sport and in the camp of leaving bodybuilding to actual bodybuilding, it can surely be a little much at times. Beyond that, you cannot deny De Asha’s potential, and his current physique is absolutely top notch. This year, De Asha showed two different physiques, first at BodyPower in the United Kingdom, then at the Vancouver Pro, where he was admittedly not his best. If BodyPower De Asha takes the stage in Las Vegas with a bit of added muscle, a lot of people are going to have broken hearts—especially if they’re paying attention to all the crap De Asha routinely talks. I have zero doubts that De Asha is a stand-up individual, but man,would I not want to lose to this guy.

6. Luke “The Juggernaut” Sandoe

Another Brit, Luke Sandoe, will be in contention for a top-five finish this weekend. Sandoe will be one of the densest and thickest bodybuilders in the lineup. Sandoe’s strength is absolutely legendary as well. He can be seen repping 200-pound dumbbells for flat presses and rowing four plates with strict form on his Instagram page. The knock on Sandoe is that he is still yet to come in at 100 percent condition. He’s lacking nothing in terms of development, but unfortunately, because of his conditioning issues (at this level), he’s more likely to be outside the first callout than in a podium position.

7. Cedric “Big Mac” McMillan

Perhaps the most charismatic men’s open bodybuilder in the IFBB today, “Big Mac” will compete in Las Vegas thanks to a special invitation issued by the IFBB. I am officially off the “future Mr. Olympia” bandwagon for McMillan. It has unfortunately been too long that I have been waiting for McMillan to realize his potential as a bodybuilder (don’t get me wrong—he’s absolutely top-echelon), and I don’t see him ever making the leap in terms of progress when it comes to conditioning. Matching his best to date won’t be enough to catapult him into the top three, and anything worse than his usual is really going to send him down the lineup.

8. Hadi “The Persian Wolf” Choopan

Although there’s a lot of noise coming out of the Choopan camp, I think the Olympia is going to slow down (albeit only temporarily) the momentum of the Persian Wolf. Choopan beat an off Nathan De Asha, Iain Valliere, and Lukas Osladil in Vancouver. Tough competition, but not Olympia-tough.Choopan has a certain hardness to his physique that very few people have. Add that to insane back development, coarsely striated and massive quads, and a very tight waistline—now you’ve got what makes Hadi unique in the lineup. However, we simply haven’t seen him against the likes of Curry, Jackson, Winklaar, or Bonac. This doesn’t mean he cannot beat them if all the cards fall into place, but I am definitely reserving the prediction that he does until we get him against the elite of the elite at least once.

9. Steve “The Kingsnake” Kuclo

A perennial Olympia competitor, the native of Texas will travel to Las Vegas once again to see where the chips fall in 2019. I think Kuclo fails to get the recognition he deserves. It’s one thing to qualify and compete at the Olympia year after year, but to consistently place 10th to 15th is another story. Kuclo was his best ever in Ohio earlier this year in my opinion, but he’ll still need to be much better than that to crack the first callout in Vegas. I think he likely grabs a top-10 spot and battles to win the second callout.

10. Lukas Osladil

As far as conditioning goes, maybe only Dexter Jackson and William Bonac can rival Osladil in this lineup. Osladil lacks the lines and doesn’t carry the mass to catapult him up this lineup, but I still think he can be a threat to the top 10. If people mentioned above are off, he could easily sneak his way into winning the second callout.

Figure

1. Cydney Gillon

Once again, the Figure Olympia will come down to a three-horse race. Reigning champ Cydney Gillon will have her hands full with the field, but if she’s 100 percent, it’s hard to imagine any other competitor getting the nod over her.

2. Latorya Watts

Former Olympia champ Watts is coming to Las Vegas once again in 2019. I think if Watts was in champion form, she could push Gillon as she has a very imposing flow to her physique. While she will slightly outmuscle Gillon, I think she will lack the condition of Gillon and other competitors after a while away from the stage.

3. Candace Lewis-Carter

I think Lewis-Carter could potentially win this weekend, but would have to beat her best to date in order to usurp the current champ at the Olympia. She has jaw-dropping quadriceps development, a tiny waist, and excellent capped shoulders. Oftentimes previously, she was a little outmatched in terms of conditioning. If she holds her own or has an advantage in that regard, she may be the last woman standing.

Men’s 212

With the departure of Flex Lewis, this is another class that is totally up for grabs in 2019. Luckily for these competitors, Hadi Choopan has elected to do the open. There’s a splash of new blood in this division as well, but the top callout should mostly feature names that have been at the top for a while now. Who carries the torch for Lewis in Vegas for the 212?

1. Derek Lunsford

Lunsford is the rightful heir apparent in this situation. Lunsford is absolutely massive for the division, has the perfect proportions, and has a very clean, marketable, aesthetic look—much like Flex Lewis. I don’t see Lunsford missing condition (he’s had striated glutes since eight weeks out), and if he’s 100 percent, I think he walks it.

2. Ahmad Ashkanani

Ashkanani has the best back in the division, a great chest, awesome arms, and many poses that will rival Lunsford. However, when you look at the overall flow of these two physiques, it becomes quite apparent that Lunsford has a clear advantage. One of Lunsford’s strong points is his sweeping quads, and Ashkanani is genetically a little narrower there. Having said that, If Ashkanani shows up in condition, it will take very special packages to move him from the top three. If he doesn’t, he will struggle to make the top five.

3. Kamal Elgargni

After his breakout performance at the 2018 Arnold Classic, Elgargni kept the train rolling into the Olympia and beyond. Now, he finds himself able to potentially finish in the top two at the Super Bowl of bodybuilding. Although he’s well beyond 40 years old, he has a fresh look to his physique and is very complete. I can’t foresee a single situation where he lands outside of the first callout. It’s safe to assume he lands in the top five.

4. David Henry

Henry has been a mainstay of the Olympia stage for over a decade now and has won the lighter weight-class Olympia before. I think he’s quite removed from that this year, but should be a sure thing for a top-five finish.

5. John Jewett

Jewett has made the physique with which he turned pro a shadow and a memory of what his current situation is. Jewett packs some nasty density and development with very thin hips that helps create what would be one of the most impressive silhouettes in the entire division. I still think a win is out of reach for Jewett at this year’s showdown in Vegas, but I could see him landing as high as third if he’s able to improve on his showing in Tampa, where he won earlier this year.

Men’s Physique

1. Brandon Hendrickson

When it comes to the extremes of a beach-body physique, Hendrickson epitomizes your immediate thoughts. Although he lacks development of certain body parts when compared to the strong points of other competitors, he does have absolutely amazing proportions. I think he holds off the crowd for the win in 2019.

2. Andre Ferguson

In the past, he could be a bit hit or miss, but there’s no better time to be “on” than the Olympia. Each of Ferguson and Hendrickson possess separate strengths, but I still give a slight nod to the latter. If Ferguson is on the money, I think he poses the biggest threat to Hendrickson and company.

3. Ryan Terry

Even though Terry has battled major injuries in the past years, he’s always showed up in proper condition and never really lacking muscle either. If I had a favourite physique in this division, this would surely be it. As far as genetics go, I think he may be a bit inferior to the two previously mentioned, but Terry is still dangerous enough to grab hoist the trophy if they leave room for error.

Fitness Olympia

1. Whitney “WoJo” Jones

I see a repeat here! Whitney pairs a tremendous, feminine, yet imposing physique with superbly entertaining routines. Now that she will once again have had a totally healthy and injury-free off-season to prepare, I expect a duplicate performance in placing.

2. Myriam Capes

Last year’s third-place finisher, Canada’s own Myriam Capes will again be in contention for a win in Las Vegas. I think she moves up a spot here with another year to progress her physique and come in a little tighter than last year. If she does, I’ll be hard pressed to think of anyone that would come from outside of last year’s top three that can beat her.

3. Ryall Graber

Graber was last year’s Olympia runner-up, but I think she falls a spot or two this weekend. Compared to some of the field, she’s slightly under-muscled in my opinion. Last year, her condition catapulted her into second, but if it’s any less impressive this year, it could be a fourth to sixth spot in 2019.

Bikini

1. Angelica Teixeira

The two-time defending Olympia champ changed the landscape of the bikini division in 2017. The revolution of a much less conditioned and muscled look in bikini was started when Teixeira took over as champion. Teixeira’s beauty and stage presence should be enough to carry her to another win unless she’s badly off in Las Vegas.

2. Janet Layug

Layug has placed very high at the Olympia multiple times now, but she’s never been able to be crowned queen. It’s largely been the same first callout at the Olympia for a few years now, and Layug has a very impressive look for the division. I think she has more of a chance than any athlete in upsetting Teixeira.

3. Jennifer Dorie

This is a bit of a dark-horse pick, but Dorie absolutely stands out in a lineup when she’s on the money. She has a very bubbly presence onstage, but also probably has the best lower body in the division—for what the judges are looking for. I think she rises to the occasion and puts a Canadian in the top three of the bikini division in Las Vegas.

Women’s Physique

1. Shanique Grant

There is no athlete where their genetics help them in the division they’re in any more than Shanique Grant. Grant has incredible development and couples it with a streamlined and conditioned look. I think we see Grant repeat in Vegas.

2. Natalia Abraham Coelho

The rivalry between Coelho and Grant could potentially last a decade or more. Coelho offers the extreme conditioning and a bit more density, which I tend to favour more. However, the judges in Las Vegas haven’t been seemed to favour as much as Grant’s lines, proportions, and development. If Grant lacks her usual lights-out conditioning, Coelho will surely surpass her.

3. Daniely Castilho

Castilho is the in-between of the two previously mentioned athletes. Castilho is a fierce competitor when she brings her A-game, but lacks the lines of Grant and the conditioning that Coelho gets in. However,s he brings a very feminine look and packs a ton of well-flowing muscle. I think she’s pretty much a lock for the top three.

Classic Physique

1. Chris Bumstead

This is finally the year that the Canadian golden boy beats Breon Ansley. As far as a classic look goes, Bumstead is totally in a league of his own—even in this division. I think Bumstead walks onstage and is noticeably drier and tighter than he was last year, and that’s enough to justify a win in my mind.

2. Breon Ansley

Ansley is as densely packed with muscle as anyone in the division. The impressive thing is that he still carries a very classic look with all of that muscle. He has body parts (hamstrings and biceps) that are far and away the best in the division. I just think the overwhelmingly intimidating structure of C-Bum is too much for him this year.

3. Henri-Pierre Ano

I felt Ano was severely overlooked last year. I think an argument can be made where Ano was second last year due to Bumstead’s conditioning being off. No one in the division has a back like this competitor, and no one else has the width Ano has in general. If he was able to improve his lower body a bit this offseason, he could end up higher than this prediction.

4. George Peterson

Peterson is routinely the most conditioned CPD athlete at the Olympia. To me, he doesn’t have much of a “classic” look, but is surely one of the best athletes that fit the height-to-weight ratio in classic physique. I think he drops out of the top three this year just due to the emergence of Ano.

5. Arash Rahbar

One of the veterans of this division, Rahbar is often forgotten in conversations of the best of the division. Again, not quite the “classic” lines of Bumstead, Ansley, or Ano—but, like Peterson, he packs a great look with a ton of muscle in the division with the weight cap. If he ever came in to the Olympia with a totally shredded look, he would finish in the top three. However, he’s always a few pounds away from that. If he peaks properly, he can end up anywhere from third to sixth.

 

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