29 September, 2014
Joe Weider’s 50th Olympia
This year’s Olympia was special to me because it marked the 50th Anniversary of the prestigious event and I wanted to win this show more then any other show I have ever competed in. When I was 20 years old, I came to the states for a FLEX magazine photoshoot and had the unique opportunity to meet Joe Weider when I was signed as a Weider athlete. Ten years later, I was ready to take the stage to defend my Olympia 212 title going for the #3peat.
Neil, Ali and I landed in Vegas at 8:30pm. We picked up the rental and checked into the hotel. Thanks to my FitMark bags, I never missed a meal. No rest to be the best! Ali and Ii dd cardio and then went food shopping to pick up the basic necessities for my meals.
Neil and I went to City Athletic Club to train back and shoulders, a final workout to “flush” out the body. Then I met up with Jimmy Bluff for a massage. Later Ali and I went to have dinner with artist Mike Godard http://www.michaelgodard.com aka “The Olive Guy” and his wife. Of course I brought my food while everyone else enjoyed dinner! A few years ago, Mike was making an appearance at a gallery in the mall in Boca Raton. Being a huge fan of his art, I went to meet him and we have been friends ever since.
Today is the weigh in for the 212lbs. and under athletes. I woke up, got a meal in and went down to the hotel gym to do cardio. I had to squeeze in one last session because I was weighing bang on 212lbs. on the scale in my room. When I stepped on the scale for the official weigh in, I came in at 211.9lbs. With Neil looking after me, I was confident I would make weight, but that is
as close as you can get without going over! Fortunately I had one less scoop of BSN Syntha-6 Isolate this morning, lol.
When I woke up this morning, my physique was on point but I had minor stomach pains. My stomach was making more noise then a Vegas nightclub, but I was excited to see the rest of my team arrive. Every year I look forward to the ‘Meet The Olympians’ event because I get to spend one on one time with fans from all over the world. Throughout this contest prep, I had been saying “This one is for the fans,” so I was ready to get started.
After applying a few coats of tan, we arrived early to setup shop. I take my hat off to my team because my table looked more like a fan experience then just a table and I’m proud to give back to those who flew in from as far as Australia, New Zealand, the UK and from all over the states. For the second year in a row, I had a line well past 10pm but unfortunately this year security shut us down. I’m humbled by everyone who waits for an hour or more just to get a photo or shake my hand –thank you so much. I love my fans because they are so understanding when I need to hold up the line 10-15 minutes so I can get a meal in. My love for this sport lives in all of you and I appreciate every one of you.
After applying another coat of tan and carbing up, I was ready to hit the Olympia Expo to meet the fans at the FLEX magazine and BSN booths. After spending an hour in the BSN booth, my stomach started acting up and it was really bothering me. I pushed through it, but when I took a break it really tightened up. Peter McGough, a long time friend and mentor came in the booth to see me and I couldn’t hide my discomfort. Fortunately, an hour later it passed. My team and I went back to the hotel to try to understand what was causing the probem. The only thing we could come up with was some type of food allergy. Ali and I rested up, watching the Mr. Olympia prejudging on the Bodybuilding.com webcast. I’m not only a competitor, but a huge fan of the sport so I was excited to see the boys battle for the title.
When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t be happier with my physique –I was hard, full and dry. I was ready to show both the judges and fans the improvements I had been working on in the off-season and defend my Olympia 212 title at the 50th Anniversary. I drove over to the expo with my team and quietly made my way backstage. After getting oiled up, I started pumping up. Out of nowhere my stomach started acting up and I couldn’t hold it in. I remember thinking WHY NOW?! I worked my ass off this year and off all times to have an issue, now is NOT the time. I traded a couple of text messages with Neil and a few minutes later I was called on stage for my posing routine. I made it through my routine without issue, but my stomach was tight and it was making me uncomfortable in several of my poses. After the comparison round, I was called out in the first callout with Aaron Clark, Eduardo, Hide and Jose. The judges moved us around and I was put in the center. I am the last one to make excuses, but I take a lot of pride in my conditioning and clearly I was not the best Flex Lewis especially compared to my conditioning in the morning.
After prejudging, I went out for a cheat meal with my family and my team. Neil and I discussed what I needed to do for the finals to redeem myself. I was confident, but I wasn’t going to allow prejudging to be a reflection of my conditioning at this show. I then went back to the room to rest up and prepare for battle on the main Olympia stage at the Orleans Arena. We made the necessary adjustments and I felt much better with my conditioning at finals.
When Bob Ciccarello called out Eduardo Correa and I to center stage to announce the winner, I was confident that I did enough to defend my title but as I said in my speech the dramatic pause is killing me! I take my hat off to Eduardo, he was at his all time best as was Jose. The level of competition in the 212 Showdown was so improved that last year’s second place competitor David Henry didn’t even make the Top 6.
After interviews with Amanda Latona for NBC Sports, Tony Doherty for NPC News Online, Dennis James for FLEX magazine and for Bodybuilding.com’s LIVE webcast with Dave Farra and Larry Pepe, I showered and changed into my suit for the Olympia Gala dinner. Then it was off to Drais Nightclub to celebrate with family and friends. It was not until I seen my name up in lights in the club did I really being to realize what I had done for the third consecutive year.
Aside from winning my third Olympia 212 title, one of the highlights of my weekend was getting a photo in with Betty Weider. I want to congratulate Jim Manion, President of the IFBB Pro League on winning the first ever Joe Weider Icon award. Special thanks to Robin Chang and his team for putting on a great show. I think it was the best Olympia setup ever. The production was top notch. I look forward to watching the show on NBC Sports Network, October 18th 1:30 – 3pm EDT and October 25th 5:30 – 7pm EDT.