Phil Heath Faces Toughest Test at 2013 Mr. Olympia Competition

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IISeptember 28, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16:  Mr Olympia Phil Heath poses during a media call ahead of the 2012 IFBB Australian Pro Grand Prix XIII on March 16, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The top contenders of the male bodybuilding world have converged on Las Vegas to challenge back-to-back champion Phil Heath for his throne.

With the competition’s growing reach and popularity, we’re set for one of the best and most competitive events in recent history.

For Heath, maintaining a perfect regimen year in and year out is a hefty task. Winning two competitions in a row was a monumental accomplishment, but finding the strength to three-peat against the strongest athletes in the world will certainly be a challenge.

When you’re on top, everyone is trying to take your crown.

This year’s competition is packed with top talent, including the return of former champion Jay Cutler, who missed the 2012 event due to injury. At 40 years old, though, he has the deck stacked against him.

Before missing last year’s competition, Cutler finished in first of second place in nine out of the previous 11 competitions, including four wins between 2006 and 2007.

And Cutler isn’t the only contender eyeing a return to the spotlight.

Dexter Jackson—Mr. Olympia 2008—has accomplished so much during his pro bodybuilding career. His career is highlighted by four Arnold Classic titles, one Sandow Trophy, and a Master’s Olympia title.

It’s been awhile since he’s been at the top of the pack, but don’t count out a competitor with his experience and success.

Kai Greene returns to the big show in search of his first Mr. Olympia crown.

While he hasn’t plateaued by winning the headline competition of the industry, Greene is a solid choice to usurp Heath this year. His second-place finish to Heath in 2012 is fresh in both of their minds and likely a large motivator for the fierce competitor.

To date, Greene has 11 first-place finishes and a plethora of top three results during his decade-plus of competition, per

We know Heath is at the top of the totem pole heading into the weekend, but it wouldn’t be crazy to see any of these guys beat him out for their shot at a Sandow Trophy. The slightest slip up can result in a disappointment.

He’ll need to be perfect against this impressive field of competitors to secure a three-peat in 2013.