The Ninth Annual Joe Weider's Masters Mr. Olympia
Held in Charlotte, North Carolina with the 2003 Jan Tana Classic
August 15, 2003 (Prejudging)
August 16, 2003 (Evening Show) (Page1)
Evening Show Page 2
Stan Frydrych (now a US citizen, previously in
Poland) took the over-50 award last year, and
looks like an overgrown kid having the time of
his life onstage. He uses poses that show off his
huge torso, hiding his relatively weaker legs by
kneeling a lot. He was unranked at 18th.
George Turmon (US) was a late entrant, having just won the NPC
Masters Nationals a month before this show and so qualifying as an IFBB
pro. Turmon has transparent skin, great lines, huge shoulders and legs,
tight abs, and beautiful posing. He needs to balance his body parts, but
considering he had a hip replaced last year, he's doing incredible work
onstage. He was easily in the top five, and has a shot at winning this show
when he can train specifically for it.
Claude Groulx (US, previously in Canada) caused a sensation at this show. People laughed when he
walked out -- not at him, but at the notion that anyone could beat him. A unreconstructed BB monster,
Groulx looked ready to blast off, working the crowd with a professional routine well beyond what
anyone else brought to the table. He aced the top five without breaking a sweat.
From the sublime to . . . Ken Jones (US), who dedicated his routine to Darrem Charles's mother, tragically
killed last year. He began by imitating a piano player, then went into stunts reminiscent of a trained seal.
After an eternity of that, he refused to stop. Getting a hat for a prop, he did an elaborate dance to Michael
Jackson's "Billy Jean." Even the judges couldn't keep straight faces. He was unranked at 18th.
Rafael Vera Diaz (Spain) was a pleasant surprise.
Unknown in the US, he brought a strong compact
build to the show. A superb poser, he needs more
size to be competitive in the overall division, but
might knock fellow Spaniard Cironte out of the
over-60 award in a couple years. I liked him a lot.
He was unranked at 18th.
Juan Marquez (US, previously in Spain)
was a late entrant, not even in the program.
He'd left the show last year due to injury,
so it was great to see him in such excellent
shape, with a great torso and terrific posing.
The judges noticed him, giving him 6th place.
(In a side note, Marquez won the first
amateur show Jan Tana promoted in 1988.)
(Click for large image)
Johnny Stewart (US, and from Charlotte) had a huge fan base cheering his every
move. In his pro debut, Stewart showed what he had: abs, shoulders, unbelievable
legs, and a wide back. Posing dynamically, he won over people in the audience
who had come to support someone else. He easily made the top five.
Josef Rac (Czech Republic) now had working music (Queen's "We Are the Champions")
and went last. He posed well, showing off his tight build to good advantage. He just didn't
have the size to be competitive here. He was unranked at 18th.
While the fitness women were rejudged, some of the masters men came back into the audience to wait for the men's awards. When the men's part started up again, the awards for over 50 and 60 went first. Those in that age range came back out -- Brown, Mihailescu, Delczeg, Frydrych, Cironte, and Diaz -- and they did mandatories and then a posedown. Diaz, who speaks no English, had to be herded around -- and he watched others to see what the judges wanted. For the over-60 award, brand new IFBB pro Richard Jones gave it to Honore Cironte. Then Shawn Ray gave the over-50 award to Rafael Vera Diaz, which justified a long flight across the Atlantic.
At this point Jan Tana received the IFBB Silver Medal for her many contributions to the bodybuilding and fitness industry. Rob Wilkins, special assistant for the IFBB and the stage manager for the prejudging and evening show, handed her the well-deserved award.
Before the show, Shawn Ray announced that he would put up a special $1000 prize for best posing routine by a pro masters competitor. He now gave the posing award to Flavio Baccianini, a popular choice. Baccianini couldn't resist going down into the audience to celebrate his prize with us. Everyone hooted, of course.
After the pro women's fitness award was given out (won by Tracey Greenwood), the top five masters men were brought back out: Stafford, Hawk, Turmon, Groulx, and Stewart. They were rejudged in quarter turns, with a lot of yelling from the crowd. Then a posedown was requested, which gave the audience something to scream about while the judges crunched numbers. It was an exciting moment when the final rankings were announced: George Turmon got 5th (with a lot of booing for that placing), David Hawk got 4th (the same ranking as last year), Darryl Stafford got 3rd (which also got boos, as some had him higher), Johnny Stewart got 2nd (a popular win for the local favorite), and Claude Groulx decisively took 1st place. Since he had already qualified for the Mr. Olympia earlier this year, this win didn't add anyone to the Olympia lineup. It should next year, with newly tightened IFBB Olympia qualifying rules.
It was great to see Groulx in person. Like the Grand Canyon, no photo can do justice to a build like his -- or anyone else's in a show of this quality. Get to a pro bodybuilding show in person if you can; there's nothing like it.
(Evening Show, page1)