By Alex Zakrzewski, Online Editor
6. Lionel Beyeke
Since nabbing his first pro win at the 2012 Flex Pro, Beyeke has been hovering on the periphery of bodybuilding greatness. His obvious natural talents have kept him in the game, but he hasn’t been able to put together a solid enough package to make him a legitimate threat to the best in the world. His top ten finish at the 2013 Olympia is definitely an indication that he’s finally found his stride and, provided he stays in shape, could upset many higher ranked pros this coming season.
5. Brandon Curry
“The Prodigy” came of out of nowhere last spring to win the first ever Arnold Classic Brazil. Few predicted Curry to edge out heavy favorites Hidetada Yamigishi and Johnnie Jackson for the top spot. In doing so he showed the bodybuilding world that he’s still a force to be reckoned with and may be finally living up to the hype that surrounded him during his NPC days. Although his showing at the 2013 Olympia was admittedly poor, the fact that he’s back on bodybuilding’s biggest stage at all is a sign of good things to come.
4. Roelly Winklaar
Roelly finished 2013 with the top spot at the Wings of Strength Chicago, seventh place at the Olympia and sixth at the Arnold Classic Europe. His superior size and conditioning in Vegas shocked everyone and debate still rages as to whether or not he should have edged out four-time Mr. O Jay Cutler for sixth place. Definitely adding to Roelly’s momentum was his prominent featuring in the acclaimed bodybuilding documentary Generation Iron where fans really got to know the big Dutchman and his trainer “Grandma” Sibil Peters.
3. Big Ramy
What more can be said about Big Ramy that hasn’t already been said? Mamdouh Elssbiay was undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of 2013. Even before his arrival on the IFBB scene, internet rumours abounded of a massive Egyptian bodybuilder who was going to take the bodybuilding world by storm. His easy win at the New York Pro seemed to confirm everyone’s expectations and his eighth place finish at the Olympia solidified his standing as a bodybuilding force for years to come.
2. Dennis Wolf
The “Big Bad Wolf’s” third place finish at last year’s Olympia should arguably have occurred six years ago when he first exploded on the bodybuilding scene and seemed poised to seriously challenge Jay Cutler for bodybuilding’s biggest crown. Since then he’s fallen down the pro rankings only to painstakingly fight and claw his way back to the top of the heap. His discipline and work ethic appear to have paid off as he looks better than ever and is finally in a legitimate position to challenge for the Mr. Olympia title.
1. Phil Heath
We’re fully aware that the number one pick on our list is anything but surprising. However, it’s always undeniable. “The Gift” currently stands head and shoulders above his closest competition in terms of overall size, definition and conditioning. The fact that he bested Kai Greene, his closest competition, twice in the same week at the 2013 Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic Europe respectively is proof enough that Phil is untouchable. Although the IFBB season has hardly begun, we’re predicting a fourth Sandow for Heath along with whatever other competition titles he chooses to compete for this year.