Bob 'Chick' Cicherillo
November 15, 2002

Bob Cicherillo is one of the most personable competitors in pro bodybuilders. Always friendly, always taking the time to say hello to everyone, Bob has come a long way in the sport of bodybuilding. Bob's first bodybuilding contest was the the 1980 Teenage Mr. Monroe County. Bob won his pro card at the 2000 NPC USA Bodybuilding show, placing 1st in the Super Heavyweight and becoming the Overall Champion.

Since then. Bob has competed in six pro shows, and garnered a lucrative GNC sponsorship contract, with his ability to promote and market himself. His contests includest the 2001 Night of Champions (11th), 2001 Toronto Pro (5th), 2002 Southwest Pro (2nd), 2002 Night of Champions (2nd), 2002 Olympia (18th), and the 2002 Show of Strength (7th).

Here are some quick questions with Bob.

Bob Cicherillo, interviewed by Ron Avidan.

  • So what did you think of the GNC Show of Strength show?

      I thought it was awesome. They put together a spectacle. The show was basically a little scaled down Arnold Classic. They had everything there. They had powerlifting, strongman events, bench press events, Kurt Angle and is wrestling, they had tons of things going on. This thing was well put together. They did a nice job there.

  • What did you think of your placing there?

      I thought it was decent, I thought I could have been possibly been up a placing or two. Again, you are subject to the calls. I think a few more comparisons with Dexter and Dennis would of helped. If you look at the pictures after the show with me and Dennis, I think I am in better condition than he was, I could of seen myself in 5th or 6th.

  • I have never seen a tie before in a show?

      Yea, I know. Some people just don't get it. This whole rouge about the round system is a complete joke. Yes, there are four rounds, but they are all muscularity rounds. First round is muscularity with some symmetry in it; second round is muscularity round with mandatory poses put into it. The third round is a muscularity round with a posing routine. The fourth round is a muscularity round with the top six guys. That's it.

  • So what is it supposed to be?

      According to how it is structured out, the first one is supposed to be the symmetry round. Which means that the people with the best symmetry should be in the top. However, as we all know, does Gunter have the best symmetry out there? Hell, no. Either does Ronnie. Now if you have to pick the guys at the GNC show with the best symmetry; I would pick Chris Cormier, as he has real nice symmetry. Dexter has real nice symmetry. In all fairness, either myself or Amhed Haidar have good symmetry. But as we all know, it never happens that way. So its not really a symmetry round. It's a muscularity round with one percent of symmetry in it. The whole symmetry thing anyway is a complete joke; it should be called the proportion round.

  • And the second round.

      The second round is the muscularity round. Now again, are these the most muscular people out there. No. We have seen evidence of this with things like Paco. Paco, with all his muscles, could be up there in the top 1 or 2 in any muscularity round, but you will never see that because he is put together like a jigsaw puzzle.

      Round three is supposed to be the posing routine round. We have seen countless examples of this on how it fails. When was Dorian Yates ever won a posing round, or Ronnie? Do the best posers ever place in the top three? No! Last year's Olympia, King placing eighth in the posing round, that was a joke. Love him, hate him, or anything in between, anybody that was there in attendance, King obviously hit one of the top two or three posing routines, if anything else. How did he get eighth? Well, they had to put him in eighth, otherwise he might of ended up in 3rd or 4th place. And they did not want him that up; they wanted him in 10th place.

  • And then

      Then the overall posedown is just that, the overall posedown. Of course, I am still trying to figure out how the hell they gave placings to anybody at the last posedown at the GNC, everybody went into the crowd. I don't even know how the compared these guys.

      So there is our famed, flawed judging system at work. Total impossibilities. I beat Titus twice, I beat him in Texas, I beat him at the NOC. Three time if you count the guest posing gig. Should this guy ever be ahead of me at any kind of symmetry round. Hell no. Oddly enough, if you look at the scoring rounds at the GNC show, we don't even end up tied. He beats me in the symmetry round, then I beat him in the muscularity round. It's like ok, did his symmetry improve? No. Muscularity can improve or get worse, depending on your level of conditioning, that I can understand. Someone who is blocky and who is in better condition is in better condition but still blocky. And so on and so forth. I am not just singling him out. It's a joke.

      Even the judges themselves, and I have talked to numerous judges, especially in the past year or so, they do not like this system. It is very flawed, and a complete farce. Everybody knows it. For some reason, that powers that be, the IFBB, refused to let this thing go.

  • So how would you change the judging system?

      I would judge it like the NPC. Put a guy in a place because that is the place that you things he deserves to be in. Basically, it is an opinion. Other than that, I can't figure out any other system that you can use. If they are going to stay with this system, then judge it as it is, fairly in each round, like they do with the fitness girls. They guy with the best symmetry never wins the symmetry round. The guy with the most muscularity sometimes wins the second round; and sometimes he does not.

  • Does the IFBB have rules on this?

      Sure they have rules, but the whole thing is a grey area. Our sport like many others, is basically an opinion. If you are judging Ronnie, it is your opinion that this guy is better than that guy, One thing I think that the judging system is missing, or the judges are, is the term 'Overall'. I think this has gone the wayside over the last couple of years. They will look at someone like me, and will sit there and say 'Well, why was Bob 18th at the Olympia, or why has he 7th at the GNC show?' And they say, well, he is a little soft in the ass and the hams. Well, I can go with that, no shit. But, overall, was I better than the other guy. So a guy whose overall should place higher. One judge basically told me that I would of placed above Dennis James, but even though he was smooth, he was tight in that ham and glute area. Call me crazy, but wait a minute. So you are telling me, if I have one little area that needs improvement on, not like anyone else doesn't, that takes precedent over a guy whose overall generally ten pounds overweight. I don't get it.

      Same thing with the Olympia. How is Markus Ruhl in the top ten at the Olympia. He looks like he was four weeks out from a show. He not just smooth, he's got some weight to lose.

  • How did Gunter look?

      Gunter looked great. I thought he was deserving of winning, no question about it. You are going to hear different things, but I was there on stage, next to these guys. I've seen what they had to offer. Now I am not saying if Gunter is a better bodybuilder overall, I would have to say no. This gets now into the Vince Taylor / Don Youngblood type thing. Is Don a better bodybuilder than Vince. Absolutely fucking not, but on that day, he was in better condition, presented a better package, and therefore was awarded the title.

  • Was Ronnie stunned at the decision.

      Uh, not really. I think he knew. I think he had an idea. I think the writing was on the wall. You don't have to be genius to figure it out from the callouts in the prejudging that it was obviously going to be very tight between Gunter and Ronnie. And at least have of the callouts, Gunter was in the middle. Ronnie is no dummy, he well knew that there is always a possibility that he might lose.

  • What do you need to do to make yourself better?

      I need a couple of things. What would I do if I was someone else telling me what to do? First thing I would do is that I have to put on a little bit more beef. For my framesize, and a lot of those guys that I am competing against are shorter than I am, I have to fill out ever a little bit more. Even 250 pounds with my frame is not enough. I need to be closer to 260 on stage and fill out. And obviously, that ham and glute area still needs to be tightened more and more etched. Aside from that, I really do not see a lot of area that needs to be improved, except for the overall conditioning. You are always striving for that perfect balance, full and ripped. That is an oxymoron, but you do your best to get to that point.

  • What is important? Symmetry? Conditioning?

      They are both important to me. Is it important to the judges? I don't know? I supposed it depends where the people place. But sometimes they will take a more muscular guy even though it is out of condition, over a more conditioned athlete, even though that it a mistake. Personally speaking, I would rather reward a higher place to a more conditioned athlete, as he did his homework. It depends on someone's interpretation.

      My biggest beef at the Olympia was not being compared to others, which I took as being disrespectful. I thought it was very disrespectful to not be compared to guys that I had already beaten, or been right there with. I have never compared to Markus Ruhl, never compared to Craig Titus, compared once to Darrem Charles. It like they stuck you in this little three person arena, and that was it for you. I contend that if I could have been next to these guys, and hitting shots, against guys that I was capable of beating, that I could of probably beaten some of them. Why not give an opportunity to someone to show whether they are better or not. I think that is ridiculous. I am not saying compare a guy who is last to Ronnie Coleman, but come on.

  • You got the 13th callout at the Olympia in the first round.

      There you go. I was certainly not expecting to get a callout in the first 2 or 3 callouts. I had set a goal for myself to get a callout by the sixth or seventh callout. I thought that would have been appropriate. I was basically going for the lower top ten, realistically shooting for. Are these guys out of my range? Absolutely not. Gunter started to make wave after he was called out in the 6th callout. I don't think I got the respect I deserve by being a two time runner up this year in two events, qualifying for the Olympia. I think that was the least deserving of comparisons. I only had one callout in the first round. So all I am proving that I am better or worse than the two other guys I was called out with, but that it it. How do you not call me out against Dennis James, whom I was standing next to. He ended up 10th. I will contend to anybody, look at the video, look at pictures, if you compare my front double bi and back double bi, to anybody that placed eighth through twelfth, and I will contend to you that it beats most of them, if not all of them. Put them up next to each other in the pictures and check it out. Unfortunately, I never even got a chance to prove that because I never even got a callout against them.

  • You had only one callout in the 2nd round.

      Yes, this is what I mean. This was a slam in my face to me. Again, I am not saying that I should be battling it out with Ronnie and Chris and Kevin, but if I was deserving of being a runner up in two pro shows, I was certainly deserving of being compared with the same guys at the Olympia. That is my main beef with that. The only thing I can say with that is that we did not have the luxury of having the same judges, as these were newer judges of the Olympia.

  • What about people qualifying?

      Nobody new qualifies. You get a smattering of guys. If the top three guys are already qualified, the fourth guy, or fifth guy should automatically qualify, bringing in new guys to the Mr. Olympia. Because the top spots are usually taken up by the guys who already have qualified. Now what's the worst case scenario that can happen. 25 or 30 guys qualify for the Olympia. Is this a good thing? Those extra guys can bring in a lot of people. Those extra guys each bring in 10, 12, 15 people to the shows, who all buy tickets. These guys all have legions of fans who come to see them, or legions of fans who will purchase the Pay-Per-View.

      What, the poor judges have to sit there for an extra 20 minutes judging. Big deal. And if the rotate the judges, like Shawn Ray has been requested, but not particularly new guys, but rotate them. Put other judges on, not ones who rarely judge an IFBB contest. Put the most experience judges at the Mr. Olympia, like the World Series does. The judges who posted the best percentages in judging. They earned their way to get there. Same things with the Superbowl. The best judges throughout the year are rewarded by playing in the big game.

      They should do the same thing they should do for bodybuilding. If the best judges are there year after year, then those are the same guys who posted the best percentages each year. I don't have any problem with that. But they need to take a look at these qualifying contests, and make some changes to them. Let new guys qualify so it does not look like a carbon copy year. With the exception of this year, the last four or fives years have had the same guys in the show, here and there. How many new guys have crept up there? Two, three. If you can rank up the top six or seven guys, Ronnie, Flex, Chris, Kevin, Dexterů it's same crew year after year.

      Why don't they call out more than 3 people at the time, why not 5 or six? You have seen what happens. How do you know that the guy in 3rd placed better than the guy in 5th if they do not compare them.

      They were judging from a screen. One of the judges told me that.

  • So what happed at the meeting of the competitors before the Mr. Olympia?

      At the competitor's meeting, Wayne had asked us if there was any problem with the judges tying everyone who placed after 15th. So basically, they were only going to place the top 15 guys. After that, everyone else was supposed to be tied for 16th. So the judges did not have to judge guys like in 22nd, 23rd, etc. So we all said fine 'We, did not have a problem with that'. But what Wayne failed to mention to us is that they were going to do that after the 2nd round. So it did not matter what I did or happened in the evening rounds. I could of showed up looking like Arnold and it would not have made any difference. I could of showed up with an amazing posing routine and it would not have made any difference. Now, I talked to some of the officials afterwards and they said it basically affected someone like me, because I showed up at night more sharp than prejudging, and had one of the top routines at night, and it did not make a difference. Because I was not even judged at night at all. Technically, you can't even have a top 15 because you do not even have three complete rounds in there. How could you have a top 15 after round two? Are you not missing a round? After round three, you could have a top 15, and that is when you could accurate place competitors in the top 15.

  • Did you talk to any of the judges?

      No, I did not. But I still do not understand why they did not take an extra 15 minutes to compare the competitors better. What, will they miss lunch? I put fourteen weeks of my life into one show with nothing but preparing for a competition, and these guys show up for just one day. What, you can't make a few extra comparisons? If the rounds take too long, than call out those guys. Instead of calling out, Ronnie in the middle, Kevin Levrone on one side, Chris Cormier on the other; call out another two or three next to them. Have five or six guys out there to compare. This is where a guy like Gunter got screwed. If he was called out earlier in Round One, instead of the judges going with the idea that Gunter is not that good, he always places in the middle of the lineup anyway, so we won't call him in the first couple of call outs. If you called up five at a time, there would be a better chance of comparing everyone. You may have a guy who potentially might be 3rd or 4th being compared with someone who might be 8th or 9th. But you get a chance to pose with them. Now you can show your shit. The way it is now, Chris, who winds up in 3rd might never be compared to the person who places 7th. Gunter would have had a much better shot at moving up quicker in the first round if he was compared better, because they would of seen earlier that this guy put on some size and brought up his physique up. Maybe he can actually stand me next to these guys, and give them a run. That is the way it should be done, like the NPC. Some guys may be posing more, but it gives the opportunity for some competitors to get better and some to get worse in the rounds. This judging system screwed a guy like Gunter. But at some point, somebody had to wake up and say, 'Wait a minute. Gunter is pretty damn good."

      There are some judges who have told me that they do have a proposal into the IFBB to change the judging format. Because some of them do not like it either. But they have to work with it. I really do not blame the judges in particular. I don't have a problem with any of the judges. They have a system, and it is a faulty system that they have to work with it. What I put the blame on is the IFBB. Change the system. It obviously does not work. I do not understand why we have two different judging systems. One in the NPC and one in the IFBB. What other sport can you think of that you have different judging systems in the same sport?