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Mr. Olympia Report 2002 Bodybuilding Contest Main Pages Mr. Olympia 2002 Updates Mr. Olympia Report 2002

2002 Mr. Olympia - Prejudging (DVD) A completely separate tape for the Prejudging - with all of the comparisons. See the top men side by side. Sadly this was the last Mr Olympia appearance by the great Flex Wheeler. BUY IT NOW 2002 Mr. Olympia - Prejudging (DVD)




Go to: 2002 MR. OLYMPIA LINKS!



Another Mr. Olympia has come and gone and it was an exciting show as always. This time, 25 athletes have competed, so it was one of the biggest shows ever. Ronnie Coleman took home his fifth Sandow which leaves him only one more victory until he catches up with the great Dorian Yates. Although this was not Ronnie's best showing, he still had the goods needed to take home the gold.

Show Sponsors

The show had many sponsors. A 2003 Cadillac Escalade was presented to the winner by Mel Rich and Steve Stern of the Bodyonics Pinnacle company which donated the prize. Sponsors include:

  • Bodyonics Pinnacle
  • FLEX Magazine
  • GNC
  • Magna Media
  • MET-Rx
  • Muscle & Fitness Magazine
  • Muscle Marketing USA
  • Physical Magazine
  • Twinlab
  • UMIX
  • Universal Nutrition
  • VPX Sports
  • Weider Nutrition

Below are the standings at the 2003 Mr. Olympia. Many excellent competitors stepped onstage this year, including some who had never been there before. The standings went as follows:

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Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino; Las Vegas, Nevada; October 19, 2002

2. Kevin Levrone (USA)
3. Chris Cormier (USA)
4. Dexter Jackson (USA)
5. Gunter Schlierkamp (Germany)
6. Lee Priest (Australia)
7. Flex Wheeler (USA)
8. Markus Ruhl (Germany)
9. Orville Burke (USA)
10. Dennis James (USA)
11. Craig Titus (USA)
12. Art Atwood (USA)
13. Ahmad Haidar (Lebanon)
14. Ernie Taylor (England)
15. Nasser El Sonbaty (Yogoslavia)
16. Darrem Charles (Trinidad and Tobago)
17. King Kamali (USA)
18. Bob Cicherillo (USA)
19. George Farah (USA)
20. Francisco Bautista (Spain)
21. Claude Groulx (Canada)
22. Tommi Thorvildsen (Norway)
23. Jaroslav Horvath (Slovakia)
24. Gustavo Badell (Puerto Rico)
25. Don Youngblood (USA)

*Note: Top 10 qualify for 2003 Mr. Olympia contest.

Now I will make detailed comments below for each athlete:

1st - Ronnie Coleman - USA: 5'11, 245 pounds
Ronnie came into this contest at 245 pounds, 20 pounds lighter than in his controversial win over Jay Cutler at the 2001 show. Ronnie looked like a smaller and flatter version of his normal self, which in previous years, easily overpowered the majority of the competition. His arms were considerably down from previous years. Ronnie had received criticism before for his distended midsection, and it was obvious he tried hard this year to reduce it this year, and he did succeed. It was pretty clear that Ronnie was trying to reproduce the package he brought on stage at the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, and did so by the drastically reduced body weight. Unfortunately, he was not as full as that contest. But despite his reduction in overall muscularity, he was still dense and hard and had the goods needed to take his fifth straight Sandow.

2nd - Kevin Levrone - USA: 5'10, 244 pounds
This was a great performance from Kevin Levrone. After 4th and 5th place finishes at the 2002 Australia Pro and Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, people were afraid that Kevin was not dedicated enough to bodybuilding to bring back the bodybuilder he used to be. He proved them wrong at this year's show, coming in muscular and full, with the complete package polished off with the cuts and small midsection required to be a champion. His main weakness - his legs. They were not up to the level of Ronnie's, and not up to the level we had previously seen from Kevin. A great showing, and a well deserved finish for the Maryland Muscle Machine.

3rd - Chris Cormier - USA: 5'11, 253 pounds
Chris had complained earlier in the day that he was not feeling well, and this seemed to negatively affect his conditioning. Looking just a little bit flatter, and a little less cut than usual, Chris still performed well and gave the top bodybuilders on stage that day a good run. Third place seemed like a very deserving finish, even for a version of Chris not at his absolute best.

4th - Dexter Jackson - USA: 5'61/2, 217 pounds
Dexter is definitely among the best of pro bodybuilders, and perhaps the single best today at bringing in sharp conditioning and fullness to the stage. As always, he brought razor sharp conditioning and a slight midsection to the stage. Previously, Dexter's comparative lack of size had been holding him down from the top spots, but he has now finally started to get his dues. His main weaknesses are his calves and his high lats. If he brings these up, he could potentially become Mr. Olympia sometime in the future.

5th - Gunter Schlierkamp - Germany: 6'1, 300 pounds
The Gentle Giant was definitely the surprise of the show, and clearly, the most improved. As Jay Cutler did in 2001, he came out of nowhere to become a threat for the Sandow and the Mr. Olympia title in the future years. He brought his upper body up, and now the overall muscularity was in better balance with his lower body, which had always been his strong point before. Gunter's main challenge which he will need to overcome to become Mr. Olympia are from behind. His back does not have the thickness, density, and muscle maturity of Ronnie Coleman, and although Gunter is highly competitive from the front, as we all know - in the past 20 years, the Mr. Olympia has been won from the back. Gunter also appears blocky in his abs and thigh pose, and again, this can be improved if he makes the necessary improvements from the back to bring up the appearance of his lats from the front. In conclusion, Gunter was shocker at this show, and a crowd favorite - he received a very big standing ovation for his performance and for his fifth place finish, and if the show was judged by the audience, he would have had a Sandow. If Gunter can reproduce this level of conditioning, muscularity, fullness and balance in future shows, he will be a threat to any competitive bodybuilder on the current scene.

6th - Lee Priest - Australia: 5'4, 200 pounds
How the blond myth can make such drastic changes come contest time is a mystery to me. It's incredible - What Lee does is absolutely incredible. Whether it's genetics or work ethic or a combination, it's nothing short of amazing. In the photo above (part of an ad for muscletech supplements), Lee is barely recognizable in the first picture - but in no time flat becomes highly competitive. At 5'4 and 200 pounds, Lee looked to be even heavier - he had previously competed at higher body weights, and didn't appear much smaller than he had in previous years. Lee probably has the single best biceps / triceps / forearms combo in the history of the sport, and one of the best six packs as well. His calves were huge as always. The only flaw - Lee has a very hard time getting shredded from behind. It seems that no matter what body weight he enters a show in, his glutes and hamstrings are not up to the level of conditioning as the rest of him. Needless to say - this was a very well deserved finish for Lee.

7th - Flex Wheeler - USA: 5'101/2, 220 pounds
Flex entered this contest after taking two years off from the Mr. Olympia stage. Flex has a classic physique from head to toe, and although he was smaller than his competitive best, he still has flawless lines and amazing symmetry. The detail in his back is still incredible, and Flex maintains great proportions in every pose. A good showing for Flex in a highly competitive lineup.

8th - Markus Ruhl - Germany: 5'10, 285 pounds
Competing at a full and ripped 285 pounds, Markus easily made it into the top 10 at the show. He had previously suffered a leg injury which resulted in a 4th place finish at the 2001 Mr. Olympia contest, but he was back to his humongous best at this show, legs included! If he can ring out the water in his lower back and glutes and bring his condition from the front to the back, he will continue to imrprove in the professional ranks of bodybuilding in the years to come - and at only 30 years old, he has the time needed to do it.

9th - Orville Burke - USA: 5'10, 257 pounds
Orville came into this show at 257 pounds - seven ponuds heavier than the 2001 Mr. Olympia, where he was at his competitive best. Burke's main flaw lies in his posing - his midsection is distended and he doesn't seem to make an effort to hold it in. However, his waist his tiny, and his lats and shoulder width are enormous, making for one of the best V tapers in the history of the sport. He looks incredible in back poses thanks to this mass, and he definitely proved to the world he was not a one hit wonder in 2001. A good showing for a very friendly personality in the sport.

10th - Dennis James - USA: 5'8, 249 pounds
Dennis has a way of peaking too early for contests, and the same thing happened this year. However, he was considerably improved over his 2001 performance, and brought his midsection to a competitive level and in balance with the rest of his body. A deserving top 10 finish - Dennis would probably have placed even better if he had entered the show in the condition he was in a few days earlier.
11th - Craig Titus - USA: 5'9, 250 pounds
Competing at a very full 20 pounds heavier than in 2001, Titus make considerable improvements with this extra muscle mass. Craig has a very good overall package, and with more improvements as the years pass, he will definitely remain a force in upcoming competitions.

12th - Art Atwood - USA: 5'11, 261 pounds
Art Atwood won his first pro show at the 2002 Toronto Pro, beating Markus Ruhl. His second show was the Mr. Olympia, where he came in at a full and hard 261 pounds. His frame is enormous and his abs are incredibly deep for a man carrying as much mass as he does. His side chest is as powerful as any of the best in the history of bodybuilding, and he looks great from behind. A great showing in his Olympia debut - expect big things from Art in the years to come.

13th - Ahmad Haidar - Lebanon: 5'7, 225 pounds
Ahmad is the kind of guy with great balance and great abs that anybody would want to strive for. However, at this upper level of bodybuilding competition, he lacks the freaky muscle to be the best of the best. That said, I can easily see Ahmad placing in the top 10 in future shows - but anything beyond that takes way too much muscle these days. Things may change in the future - in which case the package Ahmad brings to the stage will get rewarded.

14th - Ernie Taylor - England: 5'10, 245 pounds
A little less full than usual, Ernie had received criticism for his overwhelming triceps earlier in the year. He has been accused of using synthol many times, but insists he does not and that his triceps are a genetic gift. However, judges had previously been marking him down for this. A very balanced pro - of he was a bit fuller of would have probably pushed a bit closer to the top 10.

15th - Nasser El Sonbaty - Yugoslavia: 5'111/2, 272 pounds
Nasser weighed in at 272 pounds, which from the number alone would be impressive - but he just didn't look as he did in previous years. Where he once was a man who gave Dorian Yates a run for his money, he has now fallen down the ranks considerably. It's very unfortunate to see this happening to such a good bodybuilder of yesterday, but Nasser still has time to get back on track in the future. He needs to take time off the competitive stage, regroup, and come back bigger and stronger some time in the future.

16th - Darrem Charles - Trinidad and Tobago: 5'9, 220 pounds
Darrem came in to this show with amazing conditioning - razor sharp abs, the incredible split biceps he's known for and a small midsection. He was not at his best, but still looked amazing, especially considering the tragic death of his mother which had occurred only two weeks earlier. I could definitely have seen Darrem in the top 10. It might just be that at this level, 220 pounds just won't cut it - in today's age of freaks, the top 10 is normally seen only by those with more muscle on their frames. As the sport continues to evolve, the judging may change - giving deserving athletes like Darrem consistenly better placings - only time will tell.

17th - King Kamali - USA: 5'10, 247 pounds
This was a disappointing performance for King, who had great ambitions and drive coming into the show - after his showing last year, I could have seen him come in the top 10 again this year. He looked smaller than 247 pounds, and his condition was nothing the same as it was in 2001. Still has a lot of quality muscle - hopefully next year he brings everything up to where it was and improves from there.

18th - Bob Cicherillo - USA: 6'0, 250 pounds
Bob looked good, and better than he did at his second place finish at the 2002 Night of Champions contest. However, at this quality lineup, he had to accept a lower placing. If he continues to improve in the years to come, he should be able to crack the top 10.

19th - George Farah - USA: 5'6, 208 pounds
It's amazing what George had to go through to find his way to the Mr. Olympia stage - he suffered from life-threatening gunshot wounds some time earlier. He had said it was his muscularity which saved him, because his brain actually used his muscle to survive when he was in critical condition - a true champion. George has a pleasing and balanced physique, but at his light body weight, it was difficult to grasp a high placing in this show.

20th - Francisco 'Paco' Bautista - Spain: 5'9, 270 pounds
Paco has a great lower body - his legs are among the best in terms of shape and conditioning. His upper body is not yet at this level - if he were to ever get his upper body to the level of his legs and calves, he would be highly competitive in any pro bodybuilding contest.

21st - Claude Groulx - Canada: 5'8, 228 pounds
The hardness Claude brought into the contest stage reminded me of the condition Rich Gaspari would bring to the Mr. Olympia contests back in the 1980s when he was Lee Haney's biggest headache. Very well balanced, very proportioned and only lacking a little in his triceps and back. In my opinion, 21st place was not very fair for Claude, who at 39 years old, brought to the stage a body guys way younger would be envious of.

22nd - Tommi Thorvildsen - Norway: 5'9, 260 pounds
Tommi brought good conditioning to the stage - especially his abs and highly competitive glutes, which gave him the well deserving nickname "Glutezilla". However, he had shown better overall conditioning before, and his arms and chest are still lacking the freakiness needed to secure a higher placing at this year's Mr. O.

23rd - Jaroslav Horvath - Slovakia: 5'6, 191 pounds
Horvath has a world class physique. But at 191, today's top Olympia class bodybuilders are considerably heavier. He has great condition and overall shape, but his light weight held him down.

24th - Gustavo Badell - Puerto Rico: 5'9, 232 pounds
A good bodybuilder. No body parts really stand out in any extreme way. Good balance. With enough time and dedication, he will continue to improve in the sport.

25th - Don Youngblood - USA: 5'9, 248 pounds
The 48 year old champion of the 2002 Master's Mr. Olympia, Don did not bring the same package as he did to the stage as he did in the summer for his victory. Still in good condition, and totally jacked for a 48 year old, despite an elbow injury had had suffered previously. He still has enough to continue competing in the years to come.

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Click HERE for the complete scorecard of the show!

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All photos are property of Ron Avidan of For more of Ron's excellent photography, please visit his website.

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If you are interested in the 2002 Battle for the Olympia Video:

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