Saturday, February 28, 2009

Omar Garcia: Arnold Amateur

Another seasoned Arnold Amateur competitor, Omar Garcia from Miami Beach, Fl placed 8th in the light-heavy class last year. Trained by IFBB Pro Heinz Senior, Garcia won his class at the 2007 Southern States.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thomas Askeland: Arnold Amateur

Thomas Askeland is the "Lee Priest" of Norwegian bodybuilding, he even has the trademark Superman tattoo. The 5'5" 31 year old from Bergen, Norway is a two-time middleweight class winner at the Nordic Championships in 2006 and 2007. He won the Nordic overall in 2007 as well as the overall at the Norwegian Nationals that same year (and additionally took home the Top Poser award, an award he also won in 2006 and 2004).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vitaliy Grechukhov: Arnold Amateur

Ukrainian Vitaliy Grechukhov is the former 2002 Welterweight European Champion. He is also a professional DJ, so it may be no surprise that he happens to be famous for his great posing routines. In 2007 he stepped up to the middleweight class, placing 8th at that year's World Championship and then 4th in 2008. In 2007 he also placed 4th in the inaugral European Games in Kiev (Robert Piotrkowicz won the night).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John Durante: Arnold Amateur

5'4" John Durante, the 29 year old middleweight from Wellington, FL placed third in his class at the Arnold Amateur last year. Mark Mason at thought Durante's legs were superior even to winner Arturo CastaƱeda's, but he needed some work on his traps and delts to bring up the full package.

In 2007 he won the middleweight class at the Sunshine Classic Bodybuilding Fitness & Figure. At the NPC Junior National Championships that year, weighing 176lbs, he placed 2nd. A year earlier, at the same contest, he also placed 2nd this time however as a welterweight, coming in some 12lbs lighter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Josep Merino: Arnold Amateur

In a tough middleweight (85kgs) class at the 2008 European Championships last May in Playa d'Aro, Spain (where Manuel Manchado, one of my favourites, won the overall) Spaniard Josep Merino was easily victorious since he looked "extremely massive and vigorous." His winning 2008 European posing routine is featured below (though he's up second).

In November however he fell to 5th at the Worlds behind the likes of Vitaliy Grechukhov and Kamal El Gargni, but it looks like Merino is moving up to the light-heavies for the Arnold, leaving Vitaliy at least back in the middleweights.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bogdan Kravchenko: Arnold Amateur

Ukrainian champion Bogdan Kravchenko decided to get into bodybuilding after seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1988 movie Red Heat, began competing as a junior in 1997 and took home his first national title in 2003.

The 32 year old super heavyweight most recently placed 6th at the World Amateur Championships, where Ahmed Hamouda won the class and the overall, last November. This was up from 10th in 2007 and 7th the previous year. In 2006 he also competed in the Euro Elite Tour placing 13th in Moscow and then 8th in Tallinn, Estonia (the latter pictures - and video? - below).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jonathan Bradley: Arnold Amateur

Jonathan Bradley, the light-heavyweight from Baldwinsville, NY who placed 4th in his class, behind eventual Overall winner Gilberto Mundo, at the 2007 Eastern USA Championships. He also placed 3rd in the Masters (35+) class at the same contest.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Costantino Galeazzo: Arnold Amateur

Costantino Galeazzo, the Italian 2002 NABBA Universe overall winner returned to competition in 2008, placing 12th in the open super-heavy class and 6th in the masters.

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