The arenas are empty, the lights are dimmed, the smell of Mar Tan and armpit that’s been floating over the pump up room for the last three weeks like smog over the Los Angeles city skyline is finally beginning to fade, and that can only mean one thing – the 2014 contest season is officially in the record books. But, before we turn the page and close the chapter on the year that was, we here at Iron Affinity thought it would be nice to hand out a little postseason hardware to honor a few of the people that this year one of the most interesting in recent memory. (For Our 2014 Pre-Season Awards Click Here)
The Arkham Asylum Award – For the guy who might actually be criminally insane.
Kai Greene – I don’t make any secret out of the fact that I’m a huge Kai Greene fan. When he’s at his best, Kai possess (at least in my view) one of the most incredible physiques we’ve ever seen on a bodybuilding stage. That being said, when we look back at the entire painfully awkward series of events at the Olympia weekend, his mysterious exit from the Prague show, and his hundreds of videos where we hear him speak in strange nonsensical metaphors – it really does make him seem like a villain straight out of a Batman movie. Not to mention the fact that he has the body of Bain, speaks like the Riddler, walks like the Penguin, went into full-on Joker Mode over Olympia weekend, and dresses in black and red like he’s a MuscleMeds fueled version of Robin. But unfortunately for Kai, Robin always takes a back seat to the Caped Crusader. And in bodybuilding’s version of Batman, Phil Heath is the one wearing the Bat Suit, driving the bad ass car, and holding the Sandow Trophy – and he doesn’t appear to have intentions on giving up his lead role any time soon.
The ZZ Top Award – For the man with Bodybuilding’s most Bad Ass Beard.
Mike Johnson – I, for one, am glad to see the beard growing in popularity in bodybuilding. For far too long we’ve been staring at clean shaven, oiled up bald guys trotting out onstage that looking like they should be tagged with an individuality free sticker as they come off of the assembly line. Finally we have a few brave pioneers willing to explore the uncharted territories of manliness in the world of muscle. But without a doubt, the most bad ass beard in bodybuilding unquestionably belongs to Mike Johnson. Mike’s beard is so bad ass that I’m going to purpose that from now on he gets his own theme music when he walks out onstage and that he should legally change his name to Mike Johnson’s Beard.
The CGTC All-Stars Award – For the guy who has done basically nothing, but still finds a way to Keep Gettin’ Them Checks.
Zack Kahn – Once upon a time you couldn’t visit a bodybuilding message board without seeing a post with some stupid thoughtless title like “Zack Kahn is going to win 50 Olympias” followed by two million responses and a few dozen pictures of ZKK looking like he was built by a team of muscle geeks and pumped up with a little bit of special sauce – like something out of that scene in Captain America. But those days are long gone, and whatever Sandow glory there could’ve been collapsed and was buried under an avalanche of broken dreams after a ZKK suffered a series of horrific injuries. But, despite the fact that we’ve only seen him on a bodybuilding stage once in the last four years, King Kahn is still backing up the Brinks truck to the bank, depositing some major bodybuilding dollars. But as they say, “You’re only worth what someone is willing to pay you”. So with that in mind – Keep Gettin’ Them Checks Zack Kahn.
The Dexter Award – For the guy who is silently killing the competition.
Dexter Jackson – It seems weird to call a former Mr. Olympia and three time Arnold Classic champion underrated – but at this point in his career he actually is. In the last two years Dexter’s had three wins, nine top five finishes, and has had just about everyone who matters with an opinion grab a shovel, throw some dirt on him, and say that his best days are behind him – which they very well might be, but that doesn’t mean that he still isn’t one damn good bodybuilder. However, despite the fact that he’s probably the least respected Mr. Olympia in bodybuilding history, it doesn’t really seem to bother him (at least publicly). In fact, it actually plays right into the psyche of a silent killer like Dexter. He sees it. He hears it. He smells blood in the water. And he waits for the right time to make his move. The Blade has sharpened his skills over nearly two decades in the game, and he’s learned one very important lesson over the years that his younger, weaker prey haven’t quite figured out – real killers do their work in silence.
The William Shakespeare Award – For the guy who was Much Ado About Nothing.
Mamdouh “Big Ramy ” Elssbiay – To quote the great author Sean Patrick, “Success is equal to met expectations.” And even though he has two wins, and two top ten finishes at the Olympia on his resume in his four pro contests – the amount of disappointment following this year’s 7th place finish on bodybuilding’s biggest stage, is a direct result of the hype machine sending expectations into the stratosphere. There comes a point where there’s so much bullshit propaganda surrounding something that any result less than a life altering experience is going to be considered a failure, and that’s exactly what’s happened to Ramy – he’s become a victim of his own hype leading to unrealistic expectations. Take a careful look at the pictures from last year to this year – it’s pretty obvious that this guy is still making improvements at a staggering rate. But, in the words of the revolutionary American thinker Young Jeezy, “Let’s keep it 1,000”, he has yet to score a point in any contest against Phil, Kai, Wolf, or Rhoden. So while all of the pictures of him standing next to a crowd of people looking like a real life caricature may be hard to wrap your head around, his success has quite frankly failed to meet expectations. And when you’re measuring success at the highest level with Sandow’s and Arnold Classic trophies – there’s a pretty glaring hole in the resume so far.
The Paul Dillet Career Achievement Award – For The Guy Who Looks Like Mr. Olympia in a Tank Top, but never quite gets the job done onstage.
Roelly Winklaar – Is there anyone who has inspired more spontaneous “holy shits” from random gym pictures than Roelly Winklar? Roelly has some of the best arms and shoulders in the multiverse, and his signature most muscular certainly has an extra-terrestrial quality to it, but unfortunately for Roelly he’s been stricken with the same terminal affliction of Mr. Olympia in a tank top , the same one that haunted Paul Dillet throughout his career. Just like the namesake of his prestigious award’s forebear, he can’t ever seem to bring that same level of craziness that we see in the gym with him to the stage. Roelly, just like Dillet, checks all of the boxes on paper of what of you would say a dominant athlete needs to have in the sport. But we’re headed into year five of the Winklaar experience, and to say it’s been a little bit disappointing is like saying Charlie Sheen has a little bit of a drinking problem – it’s a massive understatement. And while we all know there’s certainly worse company you could have your name mentioned alongside in the bodybuilding world, being infamous for being inconsistent isn’t exactly a legacy builder.
It was exciting, it was intriguing, and it was fun while it lasted, but just like a marriage to a Kardashian, we all sort of knew that it was coming to an end pretty quickly. So, as you shed a few tears into your Flag nor Fail hoodie and pour out a little whey isolate in remembrance while your favorite Zhansi video plays on a loop in the background, try to take a deep breath and think on the bright side – we’re less than sixteen weeks away from the Arnold, and before you know it, you’ll be back to arguing anonymously with complete strangers about who’s going to win, and who’s going to show up looking like they spent the last three days carbing up at the Cici’s all you can eat pizza buffet down the street.