- Notes about the show
The 2002 Ironman Pro Invitational was held on Saturday, February 16, 2002, at the L.A. Trade Technical College, at the Grand Theater, 400 West Washington Blvd. Pre-judging at noon; finals were at 8pm. The Master of Ceremonies was Lonnie Teper. Jack LaLanne is the recipient of the 2002 Peary and Mabel Rader Lifetime Achievement Award. Jimmy Caruso is the recipient of the 2002 Art Zeller Award for Artistic Achievement in Bodybuilding.
It was held at the Grand Theater here at the College close to the Los Angeles Convention Center because the Redonod Beach Performaing Arts Center, where the event has been held for the last six year is under renovation. Attendance was noticebly less this year; perhaps because of the lack of powerful competitors in the event; perhaps because of the recession; or perhaps because of where the place was.
There was quite a number of people who could not find the place, as it was a tricky exit from the freeways, and parking was on the roof, entering from a side street. Once there, you wonder if you needed to purchase a daily permit, for fear of perhaps getting a ticket if you did not.
The Grand Theater itself was a nice auditorium. It was big, roomy, with a balcony and although the stage was smaller than the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, there was lots of room. Backstage, there were two dressing rooms, although there were no weights for the competitors to work out with.
Jim Manion came in and did the required athlete call-out, which then each athlete picked their button (which was upside down), and thus chose their random placing on who goes on.
An interesting note is that the bodybuilders only start to get ready about 15 minutes before pre-judging begins, some putting on coloring, some getting ready by doing push-ups, etc.
- From Ironman Magazine's website, Lonne Teper...
Chris Cormier, who at first said he was going to bypass the IRONMAN Pro to concentrate on the Arnold Classic, changed his mind and is $10,000 richer for it. Cormier, competing at a sharp 253 pounds on a 5’11” frame, won three of four rounds en route to a 17-point victory over a best-ever Lee Priest at the event, held February 16 at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. It was the 34-year-old Cormier’s fourth consecutive conquest at the IRONMAN, one short of the record held by Ken “Flex” Wheeler.
Priest, 29, was in tremendous condition, competing at 207 pounds. According to judges, it was Cormier’s superiority in the thighs and from the back, especially in the glute and hamstring regions, that proved to be the deciding factors. First or not, the appearance marked an amazing comeback for the Blond Myth. Three weeks out from last season’s show, Priest was rushed to the emergency room at a local hospital for chest pains. Lee competed in the IRONMAN anyway, but finished way down the line in seventh. The illness, coupled with financial difficulties, forced the 5’5” star to sit out the rest of the year.
Ernie Taylor edged Amhad Haidar by a single digit for the coveted third spot; the top three qualify for the Mr. Olympia. Taylor, who trains with Dorian Yates at Temple Gym in Birmingham, England, was in really good shape, and he had to be to topple Haidar, who was shredded and had the best abs in the contest. The only rookie in field, Quincy Taylor, did well in his pro debut, placing fifth in the 19-man lineup. Taylor, the largest man in the sport at 6’4” and 290 pounds, merited pro status with an Overall victory at the 2001 USA.
Tommi Thorvildsen, who earned the moniker “Glutezilla” after I witnessed his insanely ripped glutes at the Toronto Pro International last year, placed sixth, with Garrett Downing landing in seventh and Jason Arntz finishing eighth. Victor Martinez, the 2000 Nationals winner, was placed in ninth, with Jeff “Box” Long rounding out the top 10.
- Opinions from the Ironman.
Chris Cormier looked quite bloated. I was really surprised with all the hype about him being in his best ever condition and all, but I supposed he spilled over a bit, a process where the margin for error is slight.
Quincy Taylor looked huge! He should have a FLEX cover shot for being the "most massive bodybuilder" because when he was standing in between Cormier and Priest during the callout, he made them look like little kids. This should of been Quincy's show!
- Opinions from the Ironman.
The results should of been, Cormier 1st, Priest 2nd, Quincy Taylor 3rd, Ahmad Haider 4th, and Ernie Taylor 5th. Chris Cormier is definately not bloated. Whoever said that Chris was bloated needs 3 sets of glasses, a transplanted eagle's eye, and a seeing eye dog. You mus be B-L-I-N-D!!!
- Regarding comparing Cormier & Priest.
Regarding comparing Chris and Lee Priest. It really was not very close between Chris Cormier, and Lee Priest. Even if you could overlook Chris's much better symmetry and lines (which you can't), Lee still wouldn't beat Chris. Lee's problem area has, and always will be, his legs. His leg seperation is not that great unless he's super shredded, and he's not super shredded at this show. Cormier's quad and hamstring development and seperation are among the very best in the entire sport. That makes a huge gap between the two when you're judging them. Add to that, that Cormier possibly has the second best back in the world (2nd to Coleman), and may have the prettiest back period, whereas Lee has high lats.
Now, don't misunderstand me. Lee does look very, very good. Absolutely deserves 2nd. No question about that. But we're not talking about how great Lee looks, here. Why again, folks?? That's right, because we are COMPARING Chris and Lee.
Lee should hit the treadmill tonight right after the show, and try and shred his legs up for next week's Arnold. I wouldn't even go out to eat after the show if I were Lee. Of course, Chad Nicholls asked me to remind Chris to go home and stick to his diet after the show. no restaraunt food for even one meal, tonight for Chris. After all, Cormier's trying to win the Arnold, not just the Ironman. Of course, Lee will read this and write back some respeonse telling me to "F OFF", taking constructive criticism as well as he always does.
Just to answer someone question about Victor Martinez: Victor is a little off. Still has an awesome physique, obviosuly. He just needs to be 3-4 pounds sharper. Honestly, if Victor had nailed his conditioning dead on, he'd be 3rd and headed to the Olympia.
- Regarding Tommi Thorvildsen
Regarding Tommi Thorvildsen not peaking for the Ironman. Why would Tommi try to peak at the Arnold? Don't you think it's easier for him to qualify at the Ironman? To qualify at the Arnold will be frigging hard for him this year since only the top 5 qualify. So I'm sure that this wasn't the reason for him being a bit off tonight at the Ironman. It's the mass game that most of the younger guys trying to compete with. All I can say is establish yourself first and then try to move up the ranks. Don't come in shredded in your first pro show and then try to get to big and loose that condition the judges remember that .
- Regarding the Line-up
All in all, I was not impressed with the lineup ath this year's Ironman. I expected to see certain guys in their all time best shape, but well, that did not happen.
- Regarding Garrett Downing.
Garrett did look bigger and fuller, but I would say he was about five too heavy. Sometimes coming in too big is not always better. Trust me, I've been there many times. If you come in bigger, then you need to bring the same condition, if not better than your last showing that is what makes a difference. Don't missunderstand me. I personally like Garrett and his physique very much, but he did the same mistake I did sacrificing condition for size. If he drops five pounds for next week's Arnold Classic, he will look even bigger, but he will be extremly hard and that is what the judges want to see. So come on Garrett keep your head up now, don't let the placing get to you. I know what it feels like placing lower than you think you would, but this is what we need to light up the fire even more.