Besides the couple of hundred vendors, there were also several competitions at the event, of which Mr. Olympia was just one. The FLEX Pound4Pound Fan Challenge was the first one that we saw. It was an opportunity for bodybuilding fans to—for some sort of prize, I assume—attempt to lift their own weight on the flat bench press. You might think that this sounds like a really stupid activity, which is interesting, because it looked like one, too. You see, I learned at the expo that the average body building fan weighs a little more than a Zamboni machine. So, there was quite a bit of laughter, quite a few internal hemorrhages, and a crew of professional FLEX athletes shaking their heads in brazen disgust while some teenage schmoe in a TapOut t-shirt turned lollypop purple beneath the weight bar as he slowly pushed his internal organs out through his belly button.
Another contest we saw was a professional bodybuilding competition where the physiques were actually reasonably proportioned; pectorals, biceps, and triceps were masculine and shapely without bulging into distorted proportions; calves, thighs, and gluts were attractive, manly, and pronounced without swelling into monstrous formations. These were bodies that I would very much like to have myself, except for the fact that none of the contestants had penises. The International Female Body Building Pro League Judging was inspirational to watch. I simply wondered where all of those women found Y chromosomes and how exactly they were able to install them. I observed that, at some point, the process involved relinquishing their boobies.
For the MHP’s Olympia Strongman Challenge I was able to take a lot of photographs due to finding a place on the press platform. Well… it wasn’t the “main” press platform, in that I was the only member of the press on it, since the principle platform was filled from corner to corner with really scary journalist-type photographers who I’m certain had Tasers. No, I found another platform, likely a section that was left over and set out of the way. Even so, at least I was above the crowd and positioned like a real professional. I just wish I hadn’t been behind the competitors where the only interesting angle came when the athletes bent over to pick up the weights.
After the Strongman Challenge, we walked around the convention some more and I purchased a cup of cola costing $3.95. There was something apropos, however, about the augmented price of my soda. I just can’t put my finger on it. It’s almost as though its value had been enhanced somehow in an unnatural way, perhaps by some kind of illegal, anabolic process. Hm. Bears pondering, that.
Truly, the Mr. Olympia event was steeped with the most impressive physiques in the world. It was the Best of the Best. And then there were the bigger contestants who appeared as though they had eaten the Best of the Best.
The principal athletes of the Mr. Olympia competition were men of staggering proportions. The detail and girth of the muscles these men bore was stunning to the point of rendering one comatose. Let me just say that, when you see a man walking toward you who has shoulders as wide as you are tall, you should do everything you can to get out of his way. That is not the time to freeze like a doe on a highway. The probability was that, had I done so, the athlete would not have even noticed me. He would have walked right into me. I would have bounced off of his thigh like a gummy bear against an oil drum, sent screaming into the air, and discovered hours later lodged several feet inside a ventilation space.
Over forty men from Japan to Canada competed for the Mr. Olympia title, their combined weight requiring granite reinforcement beneath the posing stage. There was enough collective body oil used to support the economy of a small, middle-eastern nation. The only things that were not gargantuan in the competition were the bikini briefs, which were actually pieces of Christmas ribbon held on by rubber bands. (Oh, and, the items beneath the Christmas ribbons were also not quite of gargantuan proportion.)
All in all it was a fun and enlightening day. I’ll be looking forward to next year when I may just get up onto the flat bench myself and try to press one hundred and eighty pounds so that I can win some whey protein antioxidant volumizing resin-flavored broccoli.