Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Frederic Sauvage: GP Heracles

The 34 year old French IFBB champion, Frederic Sauvage guest posed this past weekend at the Grand Prix Heracles in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France and will be competing April 18 at the Europa Show of Champions, part of the Sport & Fitness Expo, in Orlando, Fl.

Frederic, standing just 5' 5 ½", did not start competing until he was 26, winning the 80 kgs (176lbs) class at the IFBB France Championships in 2000. Last August he competed in the 202 class at the 2008 Europa Supershow and placed 6th. In the Open he unfortunately fell to 13th, and just a week earlier at the Tampa Bay Pro (with no lighter class) placed 11th.

Thanks to Muscpassion for some great pictures:

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

Monday, March 30, 2009

Raul Martinez: 2009 Sunshine Classic Champ

Moving up a weight class, Raul Martinez placed 5th in the light-heavies at this year's Arnold Amateur (from 2nd in the middleweight class in 2008) only to then win his class, and the overall championship at the 2009 Sunshine Classic on March 21st in Palm Beach, Fl.

As for the pictures, the first two are from March 3rd (a couple of days prior to the Arnold), the next four from the Arnold weekend on the 7th, and then the last from his win on the 21st.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Steve Christman

Amateur Ohioan bodybuilder Steve Christman recently featured at MD and soon to be seen on the upcoming "Ohio Muscle" DVD from MostMuscular.com.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thomas Askeland: The Interview!

Original programming if you will!

Yes, this is indeed an all-new, real interview - albeit a mini one - with Norwegian bodybuilder Thomas Askeland who came to watch the Arnold Amateur in 2008, and then enter it himself this year (in order to get his foot wet in international competition).

During the run up to the Arnold as you may have noticed this blog focused on the Arnold Amatuer contestants. I wanted to profile a number of the contestants, only to find the task particularly difficult especially when researching the non-American competitors. This got me thinking and hence this mini-interview with Thomas, who so kindly responded to some questions I posed him (which I have fleshed this out with some pictures from Thomas' recent photo shoot with Mike Sirén).

Never Too Big: Congratulations on your 6th place finish in the light heavy class at the Arnold Amateur! Were you happy with your placing?
Thomas Askeland: Yeah I definitely was, even if I was there to win it ;-) It was my first time competing at this level internationally, and light heavy is for me a new class. Considering it was the biggest class with great names and profiles I was pulled out in the first comparison which felt great. I wasn't in my best condition and still placing 6th missing top 5 by one point, and 3 points to the 4th I didn't know I was that close after we went of stage. I was hoping for top 10 at that point. I consider this my introduction to the international arena and now I will be competing more often at this level.

N2B: American amateur bodybuilders don’t seem to consider the Arnold Amateur an important contest, few enter, and those that do don’t place that highly. What are your thoughts, if any, about this?
TA: Well the competition is relative new and has grown immensely since the start 3 years ago, it will probably be more popular to American bodybuilders in a while, at least it should be if they want to compete against the best in the world. It will be interesting to see in the years to come.

N2B: America, and California in particular, is considered the “mecca” of bodybuilding. To succeed in the sport do you think it is necessary to be known in, and even move to, the US (like Flex Lewis for example)?
TA: Yes, at least if you are interested in competing as a pro, and trying to make some money out of it. You need to be seen, known and have a sponsor to promote you. And also to be seen in the magazines and at the events. But of course you can do well and probably win competitions even if you don't live in the us, but it will be more difficult to be noticed by the judges, at least in a lineup with bodybuilders of similar structure an build, the shape must be at its best and muscularity as well as posing to.

N2B: You have done very well at the Nordic Championships and Norwegian Nationals in the past, winning the overall title at both contests. What are your future contest plans? Will you be competing at the World Amateur Championships?

TA: My plans now are: I am doing two more shows in Norway, there are more shows in Sweden and Denmark that I could consider doing but my main goal this year will be the World Amateur Championship so I think I will need the four months in between diets to rest my body and prepare. Next year I will be back for the Arnold, if everything goes well I will consider turning pro.

N2B: You have also won numerous “Best Poser” awards, what is your secret to good posing?
TA: Genetics, fantasy and a secure sense of rhythm. You also must know how your body looks from different angels....putting together a posing routine isn't that easy of you want to make it flow with the music, in order to do this right you probably need some help. I think I have a natural sense of rhythm and I pose a lot, looking for different angels and moves that will put me in a good position to do the next pose. And there must be a start and an end to the show.

N2B: Kamal Salam, the winner of your class has competed as an IFBB pro in the past. Do you hope to compete as an IFBB Pro one day?
TA: Sure I am considering turning pro, and to compete for some years in pro shows could be fun, so we'll see.

N2B: Do you think you will compete at the Arnold again next year?
TA: Yes I will!!

N2B: Again "Mange takk" for your time and input. Congratualtions again on your placing at the Arnold and we look forward to seeing much more of you in the future!
TA: You are welcome!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sergey Shelestov: Arnold Classic, 8th

Sergey Shelestov, the 37 year old, big 5'11" Russian began his serious competive bodybuilding career back in 1997 after retiring from the Red Army in 1996. In 1998 he won the heavies at the European and World Amateur championships. In 2000 he won the Overall at the Worlds, but was disqualified upon failing a drug test (which happened again at a 2001 contest).

After taking a few years off, Sergey placed third behind Coleman and Cutler at the 2006 Romanian Grand Prix Romania but has again since failed to live up to such potential. He qualified for, but didn't place at either the 2007 or 2008 Olympias, and only placed as high as 4th at one of the smaller IFBB shows, the 2008 New Zealand Grand Prix.

Here he is placing 8th at the Arnold a couple of weeks ago, along with a pre-contest shots just a week before (more of which can be found here).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roelly Winklaar: Arnold Amatuer Champ!!!

The super heavyweight and overall champ from the 2009 Arnold Amateur, 31 year old, 5'7" Roelly Winklaar (or Egberton Etienne-Winklaar if you will) representing The Natherlands and Dutch Antilles.

How come this guy isn't a pro already? And failing that why doesn't the Amatuer overall champ, at least, get awarded their pro card. I mean what with Tarek Elsetouhi winning the title last year (and he turned pro very soon after) and now Roelly... time to think about awarded a pro card at the show!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mike Kefalianos: Recent Shows

Kefalianos,"The Greek Beast," made his pro debut at the Australian Grand Prix this past weekend, just a week after competing as a amateur at the Arnold Classic in Columbus. Now you may have thought a IFBB Pro-level competitor should have at least won his class, but Kefalianos only placed third in the heavies (behind Pavel Kirilenko and Pablo Zayas) so did not even posedown for the Overall title.

In Oz he placed a respectable 4th (out of 9), and at least got to take the stage with three consummate pros Kai, Silvio and Toney Freeman (even if he wasn't in the first callout). With the top three already qualified for the 2009 Olympia, Kefalianos now also has an invite to the "big show" (if he chooses). If I were a judge I would have switched 4th and 5th, placing the 253lb Ivan Sadek ahead of Kefalianos (but who am I to judge). Australia-Bodybuilidng.com's John Terilli (himself a two time NABBA Universe champ and IFBB Olympian) did the site's play-by-play calling Kefalianos' routine "technically good, and [we] can’t take anything away from him, but that it didn’t stir emotion."

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