It’s kind of odd that someone who was on top of the bodybuilding world a mere six months ago can be at a career crossroads now, but it can be argued that Dexter Jackson needs to do more than okay at the 2010 Arnold Classic this weekend. But he is 40 years old and has competed since 1992, most of the time doing numerous shows in a calendar year.
Even in his most successful campaign (2008), he entered and won five contests – the Arnold, Australian, New Zealand and Russian Grand Prix, as well as the Mr. Olympia. “You just have to know how to pace yourself,” Jackson said two days out of the ’08 O about competing in three shows before the most important one. “It’s not going to affect me in any way. I’ll still be 110 percent on that stage.” All of that dieting may have taken a lot out of him and ‘The Blade’ decided to compete in only one show the following year.
Jackson finished a disappointing third last September in Las Vegas and his reaction upon hearing his name called with two more competitors standing beside him left no mystery as to what he thought of the judge’s decision. Although many defending champions get the benefit of the doubt to at least finish as the runner-up, it’s hard to argue with Branch Warren taking second and Jay Cutler winning the Sandow.
There have been many names thrown around as possible winners of the Arnold. Of course, Kai Greene is the favorite as the reigning title holder and should be. He is a special bodybuilder who finished fourth at his maiden Olympia. He had peaked in March and it was too much for him to come in six months later in top condition again. Then there is Warren, who won the Most Muscular Award at the last Arnold.
Others to keep an eye on are Phil Heath, Hidetada Yamagishi and Toney Freeman.
Jackson is looking to get his fourth Arnold Classic victory (2205, 2006, 2008) and has a good chance to come in to do just that. He still has many folks in his corner and can rebound easily from having the Olympia title taken from him after just one year. If he can win in Columbus, people will be once again putting him in the category of the all-time greats. But if he finishes out of the top three, the chatter that he has seen his best days will become commonplace.
Photo by Francesco Pillari