Phil Heath outlasted rival Kai Greene for the third year in a row to claim his fourth consecutive Mr. Olympia title Saturday night in Las Vegas at the 50th edition of Joe Weider's Olympia.
The final two wound up as no surprise, although third-place finisher Shawn Rhoden took home the bronze medal to the surprise of many, signifying that the top of the podium in coming years will be less predictable.
NPC News Online captured the moment:
The 50th edition of the spectacle came equipped with the largest purse to date. Here is a look at how the top 10 shaped up:
Due to the momentous occasion, before the contest began, it made a point to pay homage to those who paved the way to make show No. 50 a possibility. Legends such as Franco Columbu, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman and Arnold Schwarzenegger took the stage to kick things off for the night:
As for the 17 competitors on the hunt for the title of 2014 Mr. Olympia, most figured to take a backseat to the dominance of Heath and Greene in recent years.
The Heath-Greene rivalry has been the headline act of the sport for the better part of the past three years since Heath began winning his titles. Greene wound up as the runner-up at the past two shows, an undoubtedly crushing blow with the differences between the two so minuscule and the final decision left in the hands of thejudges.
Of course, the two were throwing jabs at one another—as always—at the always-entertaining press conference before the big competition:
Greene's biggest issue has always been his conditioning. Jaw-dropping back and leg striations and mass routinely set him apart from the pack, as do the most important factors of all—proportion and symmetry.
For Greene, it has always been a matter of keeping that hard, paper-thin look for the full course of the main event.
Heath has no such issue. The key this year that allowed one of the growing legends of the sport to retain his title is rather simple—avoid complacency.
Heath spoke before the event about the adjustments he was sure to make in order to fend off the competition that had painted a target on his back, as captured by Roger Lockridge of Bodybuilding.com:
Every year is different. No prep is the same. We see different weaknesses and body parts to bring up. I change the diet. My trainer and I make adjustments all the time, and we had to change a lot. The cardio that worked last year didn't work this year. Same with training, so we changed it.
I actually enjoy the prep because I know how to execute, and many guys don't know how to do that. And I go by fact: I won every Olympia with a perfect score.
After the 17 competitors ran their paces individually, three obvious names were called to the forefront in the first call-out—Dennis Wolf, Heath and Greene.
There was one shocker, too, in Rhoden. As pro bodybuilder Layne Norton noted during the call-outs, Wolf and Rhoden figured to be fighting for the same spot behind the top two:
Other notable contenders with strong showings included Dexter Jackson and Victor Martinez. The latter in particular was extremely impressive as he continues his comeback trail. Branch Warren also looked his best in years at the age of 39 after finishing in ninth place last year.
MuscleTech noted the rejuvenated Warren during his solo routine:
Most impressive of all, though, was the work put in by rookie Juan Morel.
In his first-ever appearance at the event, he drew audible gasps from the crown for simply sneaking into the top 10. RX Muscle notes that he seemingly only continues to improve:
In a rather fitting turn of events at the 50th event, the future of the sport looks extremely bright thanks to performances from younger stars such as Rhoden and Morel.
For the time being, though, the old guard remains in the top two slots. Heath now has four consecutive titles, and his path to eight is seemingly wide open at this rate.
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