From Lonnie Teper's blog... dated September 15, 2008http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/blogs/lonnie/
Read a rather, ah, surprising response by Bob Cicherillo a few weeks ago to a thread started on getbig.com. Somebody asked why the Masters Olympia hasn’t been revived; Chick replied, from what I recall, that people did not want to watch a bunch of old guys in posing briefs on stage.
Say what, Robert? Like Darrem Charles and Toney Freeman, who just finished one-two in the Masters at the Atlantic City Pro? You know, the same competitors that placed third and fourth, respectively, to Open champ Melvin Anthony as well. And, we all know that the 42-year-old Freeman was the fave going into the AC after victories at both the Tampa and Europa last month. The same Freeman who won the IRON MAN Pro at 40 in 2007.
Speaking of Marvelous Melvin, he hits the 40 mark next year. So does Dennis James. Ronnie Coleman, of course, is four years past that number. Darn if a guy named Dexter Jackson isn’t rapidly approaching his fourth decade of life; Troy Alves is 42, Marc Lavoie, this year’s North American winner, is 41. And, Chick won his only pro show at the Masters Pro World a couple of years back at a ripe 40 years of age.
The 202 and under division has been implemented to “make things fair” for the smaller fella’s in the industry. Well then, why don’t we try to even things up a bit for the older dudes as well? Sounds like a terrific line-up would be assembled, one which wouldn’t result in fans clammoring “why are these old dudes still going on stage in posing trunks?”. And, while a Freeman or Charles–or even an Anthony or James for that matter– will never win the Mr. Olympia, they would have a great shot at becoming Masters Mr. Olympia.
As a matter of fact, Mike Valentino, who I feature in my News and Views column in the December issue if IRON MAN as the “Comeback Kid”, should be the first one yelling loud and clear to bring back the Masters O. The North Carolina State Chairman, who competed for the first time at the Tampa and Europa last month after earning his pro card six years earlier, says the 202 and under is the best thing to ever happen to the sport. Why? You’ll have to read the column to find out.
But, guys like the 45-year-old Valentino should be just as pumped up for a Masters 0 as for the lighter division; it helps to even the playing field, doesn’t it, Michael?
Actually, since people like Ronnie, Toney, Darrem, et al have proven that 40 really isn’t very old at all, especially in bodybuilding (look at the women bodybuilders; some of the finest in the game are near 50–or over, like Betty Pariso), let’s change the Masters limit to 45 and over while we’re at it; still a lot of outstanding physiques left to impress the fans. Just think of how many 45-year olds, who swear they are 39, would suddently admit to their true age
. Now, THIS is a topic worth discussion, not if 40 year olds should be classified as old geezers, and if they are of any interest to followers of the industry.
And, while I’m on the topic of Masters competitors, Kristy Hawkins asked me at the gym this morning (Gold’s, Pasadena) that, since I’m against crossing over in the 202 and under, would I be against the same situation regarding Masters competitions? Absolutley. The theme is the same–it’s inequitable to allow some inviduals the opportunity to win money in two different divsions. Why punish, in a sense, an athlete because they weigh 220 pounds, or are 30 years old? There are other logistical problems as well, but no need to go into that again.
On the other hand, don’t ask me where we’d fit the Masters Olympia into the already crowded scene at the Olympia Weekend. And, come up with the extra prize money needed for the extra category. That would be (another) task for AMI’s Robin Chang, who is head of production for the event. Hey, that’s why Robin gets paid the big bucks. And, I’m not passing the buck, either. Well, maybe I am.