When I was young and still quite the novice in lifting, I lived and breathed bodybuilding.
I bought every magazine that hit the stand each month and devoured every bit of information I could from each one. Back in those days I really idolized the guys that trained hard, heavy, and were in possession of that "look of power" that came from that kind of training. Guys like Dorian Yates, Mike Francois, Achim Albrecht, and Nasser.
It was always a dream of mine during those days to attend the Mr. Olympia and be able to watch in person the guys I looked up to so much.
Over time, my interest in bodybuilding faded a bit. I became more interested in just training for strength, honing my technique in the big three, and becoming more educated in powerlifting.
The last year or so, my interest in bodybuilding returned and I've paid more attention to the sport and a lot of the guys competing in it. As chance would have it, when I went to the strength expo in Iowa my booth there was right next to IFBB pro Fred Smalls. Fred and I ended up hitting it off and I decided that it would be very cool to actually make one of my teenage dreams come to fruition. So I booked a trip to Vegas to attend the Olympia.
Fortunately I had a good connection and got VIP passes into the expo (thanks, Al). I ran into so many people that knew me, and that I had talked to online, but hadn't had the chance of meeting yet. John Meadows, Matt Kroc, Trevor Kashey, Susan Salazar, Garret Griffin, Scott Cartwright, Kalle Beck, Al McDonagh, and too many others to list. I also saw my usual group of thugs like Justin Graalfs, Marshall Johnson, and many others.
The Olympia itself was amazing. Because it was the 50th year, they had a bunch of former Olympia champions come onstage to talk about what it meant to win the Mr. Olympia, and what Joe Weider meant to bodybuilding. Arnold was there, as was Franco, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Samir Bannout, Lee Haney, and a few others I can't fucking remember.
I came to support Freddie, and while he didn't take top 10 like he had hoped, he easily had the best routine of the night and it totally brought the house down. I know with another 7 pounds of lean mass or so, Freddie should crack into the top 10. I will be working with him this offseason to try and make that happen.
Unfortunately outside of my last night there the trip was mostly uneventful. I didn't do any lines of blow off of a strippers boob job, or end up wrecked in a gutter somewhere.
Ok so the last night there was pretty epic, and I'm not being vague about it for any other reason than the people I was with literally told me not to say shit about it. So I will leave it at that. Sorry.
I fully plan on attending again next year where I am pretty sure that Gillian will be competing and that Freddie will have had a strong enough offseason to break into that top 10 like he wants to.
To all of those that introduced themselves to me, thanks so much for doing so and it was my honor to meet you. Hope to see you all there next year!