Mr. Olympia is once again set to be crowned in Las Vegas this weekend. The annual showcase held by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness features many of the world's top bodybuilders fighting for the highly coveted title.
Details concerning the prize money that will be awarded for the 2015 edition of the competition have not yet been released. Last year, the top 10 finishers took home a combined $710,000, with reigning champion Phil Heath earning $275,000, according to GetBig.com.
Let's check out all of the important information for the popular event. That's followed by the daily schedule, a preview and predictions for the top finishers.
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center and Orleans Arena in Nevada
When: Friday, Sept. 18—Saturday, Sept. 19
Live Stream: FlexOnline.com
Official Site: MrOlympia.com
|2015 Mr. Olympia Dates, Times and Competitions|
|Friday, Sept. 18||-|
|10:30 a.m.||IFBB Pro League Women's Judging: Fitness, Bikini, Figure and Women's Physique|
|7 p.m.||Fitness & Bikini Olympia Finals and Mr. Olympia Judging|
|Saturday, Sept. 19||-|
|10:30 a.m.||Men's Physique Showdown – Judging & Finals, Women's Physique Showdown (posing & confirmation round), Men's & Women’s Physique Awards and 212 Showdown – Judging and Posing|
|7 p.m.||Figure, 212 Showdown & Mr. Olympia Finals|
Heath is seeking his fifth consecutive triumph in the event, which would bring him within three of the record streak shared by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. He's taken over the role of competitor to beat from Jay Cutler, who had won four of the previous five titles.
The Washington native has shown no signs of slowing down. He told Flex Online that he's still at the point in his life where he thinks competing at an elite level is possible for awhile.
"I figured out the other day that Ronnie Coleman won his first of eight Sandows at the age of 34," Heath said. "I won four by 34, and I'm 35 now. So I think I've still got time."
As long as his motivation and drive remain strong, there's no reason Heath can't remain on the mountaintop for several more years. It's a sport where periods of dominance have been the name of the game, and he's continuing that tradition.
His road toward another title received a boost when Kai Greene, who finished second last year, announced he wasn't going to compete in a tearful nine-minute video:
Steve Shaw of Tiger Fitness provided further information about the surprising turn of events. There are various stories about the nature of his exit in the report, but Mr. Olympia promoter Robin Chang said Greene was never banned. He just didn't sign the contract.
"Kai has had his Olympia contract since April but refused to sign it for reasons known only to Kai. This is the same contract Kai has signed for the past six years," Chang said. "Nothing has changed but the dates. If he was banned from competing, why would we send him the contract? I've even heard he said he was banned from the expo! Are you kidding me?"
Whatever the reason, his absence boosts Heath's chances and shifts the focus to other hopefuls. Shawn Rhoden, Dennis Wolf and Dexter Jackson rounded out the top five finishers in 2014.
It's still a remarkably strong group. Rhoden and Wolf have both been trending in the right direction in recent years and may be ready to take that next step toward title contention. Jackson is a former champion who might view Greene's exit as one more chance for him to claim the top spot.
That said, Heath remains the prohibitive favorite. There's no reason to believe he's backed down from the standard he's set over the past few years, meaning somebody else will need to exceed that in order to win. That's an uphill battle to say the least.
Predictions: 1. Phil Heath 2. Dennis Wolf 3. Shawn Rhoden