2006 Olympia: After the 2005 Mr. Olympia, it was clear the title was Ronnie Coleman’s to lose. At no point had the winner been questioned during that contest, from the first callout to the final posedown, and Coleman’s mass had proved to be far too much for any other competitor to handle. Just as solidly placed was Jay Cutler- though he was second on every judge’s card, he was so far ahead of the other competitors that he and Coleman looked to be holding a two man contest in 2006… and those two men did not disappoint.
The 2006 Olympia proved to be a hallmark moment in men’s bodybuilding, as the mass monsters who had handily dominated their opposition in the past were to suffer greatly in the placings, as the judges began valuing aesthetics and symmetry far more than simple, brutal, and unshapely mass. Blindsided by this turn of events, the larger men in the field saw themselves slaughtered on the scorecards, even though Coleman had taken a shocking defeat to the massive German the year prior.
Benefitting from the departure from a size-at-all-costs judging protocol were men like Victor Martinez, Dexter Jackson, and Melvin Anthony, all of whom combined more classically structured appearances than Coleman and Cutler, whose mass and symmetry put them so far ahead of the other athletes that direct comparison between the top two men and the rest of the field was essentially impossible. Those men rounded out the final placings with Gustavo Badell in sixth, while the massive Johnny Jackson, Branch Warren, Markus Rühl, and Günter Schlierkamp found themselves scattered throughout the field as the judges turned a blind eye to their size.
In the end, a changing of the guards was signalled, as the incumbent Mr. Olympia was unseated without having arrived significantly diminished- the judges nevertheless handed the trophy to a best-ever Jay Cutler, where in the past it would have gone to an excellent incumbent. At the same time, a clear message had been delivered to the rest of the field- the mass monsters of the past would need to refine and reshape that mass to stand any chance against much smaller but better conditioned and more symmetrical bodybuilders. Though it didn’t signal a return to the era of Zane, the judges did make a strong pronouncement that symmetry and shape were back in a big way. Read bout 2006 Olympia.