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Go, Johnnie O

Go, Johnnie O – Interview

Julian Schmidt

Since JOHNNIE O. JACKSON set the bodybuilding world agog with his convincing light-heavyweight and overall victories at the 2001 NPC National Championships last November we’ve all been awaiting his debut at a pro show. Well, wait no longer. You’ll be able to see him at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in Columbus, Ohio, the weekend of February 22-24. Only one catch: He’ll be at the Arnold Classic, not in it.

It was obvious when Jackson walked away with the works at the NPC Nationals that he had inaugurated a fresh new era of bodybuilding, but few knew at that time that this amazing athlete was already a big name in powerlifting, with a 2,072pound total in the 220pound class. As a result, Jackson will be competing in the Arnold Fitness Weekend’s powerlifting meet, a qualifying event for the World Powerlifting Organization’s national championships.

Why compete as a powerlifter, rather than as a bodybuilder in the Arnold Classic? “It’s a two-pronged strategy,” says Jackson. “I want to take a year off from bodybuilding and use powerlifting to gain more size and muscle density, but it’s also about marketing myself. What’s going to separate me from other bodybuilders? All of those guys look awesome, every one of them, so it’s only natural for the judges to wonder why they should pay attention to me. Those other guys have been around longer, and I just got here, so I have to ask myself what’s going to make me stand out?

“Powerlifting, will make me stand out, I want to have recognition for being one of the world’s premier powerlifters, as well as a professional bodybuilder, and the Arnold meet should give me my own little niche. It’s my way of saying, ‘Hey, guys, pay attention to me a little bit,'”

Hey, Johnnie O., we’re paying attention.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group