Brandon Curry, Dexter Jackson and Top Contestants Competing at 2019 Mr. Olympia

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:  Dexter Jackson of the USA poses during the Arnold Classic Pro Show during the Arnold Sports Festival Australia at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on March 17, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Past champions Phil Heath, Jay Cutler and Shawn Rhoden will not be competing at the 2019 Mr. Olympia.

Four-time winner Cutler has not participated since 2013, while Phil Heath—whose seven-year winning streak was broken by Rhoden last year—is not taking part.

Rhoden will not compete after America Media LLC revoked his eligibility to compete "in the 2019 and future Mr. Olympia competitions" after he was charged with felony rape, felony object rape and felony forcible sexual assault in July.

Per Gretel Kauffman of KSL.com, Rhoden has been accused of raping a female bodybuilder in a Utah hotel room in October. TMZ reported Rhoden turned himself in to the police and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

                  

Date: Saturday, September 14

Time7 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET, 3 a.m. BST (Sunday)

Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

Prize Money: $1.4 million total ($400,000 for first)

The full schedule is available at the competition's official website.

       

2008 winner Dexter Jackson is the only previous champion competing in the field this year.

The veteran is two months shy of his 50th birthday in November, and he'll be making his 20th appearance at the event:

Jackson has a record 29 IFBB bodybuilding titles, most recently winning the Tampa Pro event in August, and he'll hope he can use his experience to his advantage on Saturday.

Brandon Curry will also be among the favourites.

He only placed fifth at Mr. Olympia last year, but his victory at the Arnold Classic in March will put him in contention:

Amid talk of an open field, the 36-year-old feels he's in pole position to win the title.

"It's wide open they say, but I've got that door handle in my hand," he said. "It's my time right now, it's all about timing, and yeah I'm ready to close that door man. I don't see a better opportunity, I don't see a better weekend to have this happen. It's all about now and I'm ready."

Cutler believes Hadi Choopan's presence could upset the apple cart, and he's looking forward to seeing how he fares against Jackson:

The Iranian won gold in the IFBB Vancouver Pro this year, as well as in last year's Asia Grand Prix and IFBB Portugal Pro.

Roelly Winklaar is another to watch out for. The Curacao-born bodybuilder only came fifth in this year's Arnold Classic, but he finished third last year at Mr. Olympia.

With the two men who finished in front of him—Rhoden and Heath—not competing, he'll also fancy his chances.

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