From the moment that Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Phil Heath, and Dexter Jackson walked on stage at the Veteran's Memorial auditorium last Saturday morning in Columbus, Ohio at the 22nd Annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, it was clear that this year's winner would come down to a fierce battle among these IFBB Pros who are at the top of the IFBB Pro food chain! The only man missing was Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler who was busy fending off a horde of ravenous fans over at the Muscletech booth at the Arnold Expo.
When the smoke cleared, following a fierce pre-judging and hotly contested evening finals, only two battered muscle warriors remained – Phil Heath and Kai Greene. As MC Lonnie Teper proceeded to announce the second place winner both held their collective breath in anticipation!
In second place, Phil Heath! Your 2010 Arnold Classic winner is Kai Greene! At the announcement, a resounding roar of approval erupted from a packed Veterans audience as the most unpredictable man in bodybuilding stalked, crawled, and literally climbed half way up the stage wall on his way to his second consecutive Arnold Classic win! But his win wasn't without controversy as popular Phil Heath and steel hard Branch Warren both had their legion of fans that showed some serious disapproval by loud booing when each was announced in their respective placings. Based on his runner-up finish at the Olympia, Warren was an odds on favorite to finally win the Arnold Classic. Had he come into the pre-judging in the condition that he managed to bring to the stage in the evening finals he may have had the storybook ending he so wished for.
Unfortunately, he was just a shade off at the prejudging and paid dearly for his mis-timed peak. To soften the blow Branch was awarded the Most Muscular Man title for fourth time.
Following the morning prejudging gifted Phil Heath was on his way to the evening finals with a Tsunami of momentum boosted by a solid three-point lead over popular Kai Greene. The thickly muscled Greene, although impressive, failed to sport the bone-dry package that won him the title back in 2009. Obviously, Greene's team were quick to pick up on this flaw and took serious measures to correct it!
In contrast the Heath Train slowed down with Heath coming into the evening finals looking not quite as invincible as he appeared at the pre-judging. Like a wily jungle predator sensing an opportunity to strike, Greene sensed a weakness and pounced on the confident Heath seizing the lead by scoring a perfect score of five to Heaths thirteen in the evening round sealing his victory.
Regardless, of how many titles you have won, you are only as good as the package you bring to the stage the day of the show! Following this year's Arnold Classic Dexter the Blade Jackson was fully aware of this! If the three times Arnold Classic winner was looking to break the record with his fourth win, then he either underestimated the competition or mistimed his peak. Coming into this year's competition in less than his best condition, his mis-timed peak cost him serious bucks and a bruised reputation as he was punished with his lowest placing at the Arnold since 2003.
Rounding out the top five was the ever intimidating "X" man Toney Freeman who squeezed past the fast improving Ronny Rockel for fifth place. Along with receiving his second coveted Arnold Classic Statue Kai Greene's bank account was enhanced by an extra ten grand for being awarded the best poser.