Muscle Sport Magazine

Lee Priest Skipping Arnold May Come Back to Haunt Him

’09 Show in Ohio Would Go a Long Way After Being Reinstated by IFBB

After battling for nearly three years to be reinstated by the IFBB, Lee Priest has decided to make his return to the stage at the Australian and New Zealand Pros instead of the Arnold Classic. That may come as a surprise to some people, since all three shows are within a week of one another and the Arnold is viewed as the next big thing after the Mr. Olympia contest.

Last year, Dexter Jackson scored a hat trick of all three shows in March and then topped it by also taking the Mr. O title. While this is not a scenario that Priest would be able to duplicate, the Arnold show is held in a much higher regard than either overseas shows. Being from Australia, perhaps Priest feels that his best chance at taking one of the championships – or at least placing in the top three for Olympia qualification purposes – is with minimal travel.


According to a report on Muscular, Priest chose to stay away from Ohio for travel reasons. “I don’t want to fly all the way to the U.S. to do the Arnold only to have to turn around and come right back six days later.”

While this strategy may make sense, concentrating on the Arnold Classic may have gone a longer way than two shows not as prestigious.


  1. Patricia

    December 15, 2008 at 6:22 am


    I would have to respectfully disagree. Why does Lee need anything more “prestigious”? He is one of the most known names on the circuit, and a massive crowd favorite now.

    Also, he has a great contract with an Australian company – and perhaps the focus on competing in Australia – where the supps are sold is a far better representation for his company – hence a better business decision. Plus, an Oz comeback just serves to endear him to his Aussie fans, which is where he is now based, guest poses, makes appearences etc.

    I really don’t see why skipping the Arnold is a big deal, and in fact knowing the circumstances around it think it was a great decision on his part.

  2. Joe Pietaro

    December 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm


    Thanks for your comment. I guess it would be fair to say the we ‘agree to disagree’ then. (Boy, I hate using that lame statement.)

    Please understand that I was not knocking the Australian or New Zealand contests. Perhaps being in the US, I have a different outlook on the shows held here as opposed to overseas, visa verca for you, I suppose.

    In general, the Arnold is viewed as a show nearly as big as the Mr. O, perhaps a step under it. My point was that if Priest really wanted to make a splash return, blowing away the competition on that stage in Ohio would have been a big plus.

    More media attention – at least over here – is focused on the Arnold in comparison to both of those shows combined. The muscle magazines, websites, forums, etc.

    I have always been a big fan of Lee Priest and hope that he wins both of those shows. Bodybuilding is a much more interesting sport with him competing and I, for one, had hoped to finally get to see him in person in March. Hopefully, that will happen in September.

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