Big easy does it! – Ed’s Page

Big easy does it! – Ed’s Page – Editorial

Peter McGough

In the biggest bodybuilding shock since this scribe put his finger in a backstage light socket at the Poughkeepsie Open, Gunter Schlierkamp defeated reigning Mr. O Ronnie Coleman at the GNC Show of Strength in New Orleans on November 9. That was three weeks after Coleman had nabbed his fifth Sandow, with crowd favorite Schlierkamp finishing four spots behind him.

Mindful of the seemingly unwritten law that a Mr. Olympia–like Jay Leno in a chinning contest–never loses, what are we to make of this stunning result?

Already the conspiracy theorists are shouting “Fix,” a cry that has others asking “What are you smoking, you grassy know-it-alls?” OK, the result has made Olympia promoter Wayne DeMilia happier than Winona Ryder at an unsupervised Saks, but claims of skullduggery are about as legitimate as the lineage of half of the British royal family.

The truth is that sometimes momentum takes hold in bodybuilding, and in recent times no one has generated more momentum–save Dam DeLuise on a ski slope–than 300-pound Gunter Schlierkamp. At the Olympia, he was a revelation; a special invite who had never cracked the top 10, he was overlooked early on before finishing faster than a rookie in a whorehouse.

Simply put, Ronnie was not at his best at the Olympia, but Gunter was at his all-time best. The recipient of a standing ovation, he took that man-of-the-moment momentum to New Orleans, and with everyone mindful of the happenings three weeks earlier, he got the first callout, captivated the judges and audience alike and took all four rounds against Coleman, who was actually better than he had been at the Olympia. Was Schlierkamp four rounds to zip better than Coleman, and if he had not done so well at the Olympia, would he have received the first callout in New Orleans? Was Gandhi’s dying request “Now can I have a friggin’ sandwich?”

Coleman is a great champion who lost out to the peak physique of Schlierkamp, but, probably more succinctly, lost to the physique he himself fashioned in winning the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic. Ronnie is still Mr. Olympia and, having been given a bigger wake-up call than John Wayne Babbitt, don’t bet against him collecting his sixth Sandow next October. Meanwhile, the pro bodybuilding scene is suddenly bursting with more life than a hobo’s undershirt. Doncha just love it?

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

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