We arrived at the 25th Anniversary edition of the Arnold Classic with one main question in mind – will anybody prevent Dexter “The Blade” Jackson from tying “Flex” Wheeler for the all-time record for most Arnold Classic titles (4)? Personally, I was expecting Toney “X-Man” Freeman to at least take second place and potentially challenge for the title, but it appeared that nothing was going to stop “The Blade” from winning on this night! On a Saturday evening in Columbus, Ohio, Dexter was in top form, riding some great bodybuilding competition momentum from recent major wins in recent months. You can’t deny the motivation and hard work that Dexter puts in between competitions. This competition was his to lose, and he showed up in good form.
Photograph by Edward Sanders
Thoughts on the X-Man!
Living in Atlanta since 2009, I’ve had the privilege to meet Toney and workout out beside him. He is no joke. At a young age of 6, he appears ageless. I really want to see the X-Man capture this title, but [apparently] it was not in the cards. In fact, even though he grew stronger as the competition and evening went on, Toney somehow slipped down to third place. But, he continues to have a positive attitude as he refocuses on the rest of the competitive season. Then again, the $50,000 third place paycheck doesn’t hurt, huh?
Disappointment in the Field…
While I am not here to take away anything from the strong field of competitors, it was a bit shocking to see only a few of the top elite bodybuilders vying for this title. Branch Warren (2-time and defending Arnold Classic champion) pulled out – as did a bunch of others. It seems like the top three guys (Phil Heath, Kia Greene, and Jay Cutler) are holding out for Mr. Olympia each year. Certainly, I understand the importance of that for them, and they still put on a number of guest poses . They do not want to have to peak more than once per year and hence risk losing placement at the Mr. Olympia, but that is very frustrating as a bodybuilding fan. I’m now wishing that the powers that may be would somehow tweak the point system a bit more to sway other top bodybuilders to step on stage at the Arnold Classic. I mean… this is the ARNOLD!
Well, it was a great weekend of bodybuilding. Unfortunately, I was not in attendance, but I did monitor many of the blogs, social media accounts, and the free webcast to get the latest scoop. This year, Elaine and I watched the last few moments of the Arnold via a laptop at our favorite local Barnes & Noble, but we hope to make it up to Columbus, Ohio for the 2014 edition! Until then, we will look forward to the competitions between now and the Mr. Olympia contest!