By Shawn Ray
Looking back over the year that was 2019, we saw some new faces, comebacks, global expansion and more Pro Cards than ever!
Kicking off this past year we all took notice of the arrival of Brandon Curry by winning the 31st, Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio adding that victory to his other two ASC Championship Wins in Brazil & Australia! Brandon punched the competition in the face following up his 5th finish at the 2018 Mr. Olympia by presenting his best package to date while vanquishing most of the sports biggest names in the process!
2 weeks after Brandon shocked the industry, last years ASC Winner, William Bonac captured his 2nd Arnold Classic Title in the land down unda in the absence of Brandon Curry who sat it out. William was coming off a 1st Runner up finish in Ohio, a show he won the previous year, and looked significant fuller and more muscular in Melbourne, Australia than he did in Columbus to seal the W!
The Arnold Classic Tour continued into South America and specifically São Paulo, Brazil where Juan “Diesel” Morel snatched up his first Arnold Classic Title and qualifying once again for the Joe Weider Mr. Olympia later in the year. Juan showed the right amount of muscle and detail to capture the title this year and join past ASC Brazil Champions; Curry, Kuclo; Big Ramy, Greene and Osladil!
The IFBB Pro League rolled into New York to crown a new King but Low and behold, The King of New York was once again Juan “Diesel” Morel who had won this title in 2015! Juan was struggling to find a way to hold his conditioning while giving up much needed fullness especially in the quads and hamstring department. Standing nearly 6ft, Juan was just too big for the smallish line-up with the exception of 1st runner- up And thickly muscled, Akim Williams.
Following the NY Pro were the Puerto Rico & Toronto Pro Shows which saw the return of Jon Dela Rosa to the victory podium! Jon has struggled prior to winning these two with water retention and relocating his living quarters but he chose the right show at the right time and got redemption in the end.
The “Texas King Snake” Steve Kuclo defended his Indy Pro Title to once again qualify for the Mr. Olympia by way of victory and improvements. Steve was solid from start to finish catching the eyes of the judges and serving notice to an already crowded line-up in September out in Las Vegas.
Chicago Pro Winner, Michael Lockett snapped up another victory to once again qualify for the Olympia by doing a masterful job of highlighting his strengths over his weaknesses.
The summer wrapped up with a 49 year old phenom by the name of “The Blade” Dexter Jackson! Dexter continues to defy Father Time and added victory number 29 to his resume in Tampa. The crowd & contest favorite, Jackson brought an overall package of shape and symmetry that was rivaled by none!
The 55th Joe Weider Mr. Olympia Weekend brought together a collection of the years winners and a wide open, vacant Mr. Olympia Title up for grabs!
A few side bars left the vacant tile open for the first time since 1998 in New York City with a few key players sitting this one out; Shawn Rhoden, Phil Heath, Big Ramy and still no sign of returning, Kai Greene.
Then things got interesting with the inclusion of Special Invite, Cedric McMillan and the VISA Approval for Iranian Sensation, Hadi Choopan entering the fray. Just like that, the Greatest Show In Sport just got hot!!!!!
The new promoter of the Mr. Olympia, Dan Solomon and his crew from WEIDER AMI, Tamer ElGuindy and company with supporting major sponsors like Wings of Strength and Trifecta, this was sure to be one for the ages as the VIP Ticket Package Sold Out prior to the event and Saturday Nights Finals would also be a Complete SELL OUT as well!
By the time the dust settled, many of the storylines that had been written previously to showtime would become fables by nights end.
The New 15th Mr. Olympia announcement would ultimately be the pre-contest favorite, Brandon Curry who became only the 3rd man to win both the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia Titles in the same calendar year joining Hall of Famers, Ronnie Coleman- 2001 and Dexter Jackson- 2008.
The post Olympia IFBB Pro League Tour included countries; Korea, Hungary, Romania and Japan with familiar names winning and qualifying for Olympia 2020:
Korea: Nathan DeAsha
Hungary & Romania- Cedrick McMillan–
Japan: Juan Morel-
The year 2019 closes out a decade of great battles, stories, history and epic memories that has paved the way to the newest decade of exciting times ahead for the next generation of bodybuilders to share the stage with the Ageless now 50 year old Dexter Jackson in the coming year 2020!
Editor in Chief.