Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photo essay of the 2009 Arnold Classic Sports Festival Weekend

Below, a photo essay to accompany my article on the 2009 Arnold Classic (the fitness expo weekend hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger), currently published at the Broad Street Review (click here to read).
Some shots from inside the main expo hall. Try to find anyone who doesn't look physically fit.
Anywhere but the Arnold, the encounter on the top would be worth taking a picture of. At bottom, the cage that normally houses men of this size and strength.
Two photos of "average guys," hawking their products. Average for the Arnold Classic, that is.
This guy was pissed that I took his picture. Do you think it's because he knows he's one of the smallest people in the room?
By contrast, here's two shots of one of the AMATEUR bodybuilding competitors. Next to these guys, the dude on his cell phone does look a bit tiny.
Some more photos of the men's amateur bodybuilding competition.
But what about the women? Here's how they dress at the Arnold. (note how the one on the bottom still slightly resembles a "traditionally pretty" girl.
At the Arnold, I looked everywhere to find good examples of women who would count as traditionally pretty--that is, not overly-muscled, and with un-adrogenized faces (and ranked as 8 or above, looks-wise). These two are the best I could find:
These next two are moving in the opposite direction. Still attractive, but with severely musculated physiques, and yet still nowhere near the level of physical specimen on display at the Arnold:
Below, a step further. The one on top offers the perfect mix of silicone and leather; the one on the bottom has started to redefine the boundaries of the female species.
I'm not even sure what's in the next picture. But notice the "normal" girl in the bottom photo checking out the severely defined oblique muscles of the blonde.
Below, two photos from the AMATEUR Fitness competition.
And now it gets a little "freaky." Whatever the word "feminine" used to connote, it loses all traditional meaning in these next two photos of the women's AMATEUR bodybuilding competition.
But really, how is a woman supposed to look? Compare the Liv Tyler look-alike (and traditionally pretty woman in the center of the top photo) to the four "hired-guns" who surround her; then look at the three "super" models on the bottom. After a weekend saturated with a more muscled version of women, it became hard to tell what I still preferred.
Below: Beauty AND the Beast. By contrast, at bottom below is Olympic weightlifting "hottie" (and current US Bobsled Team Member) Ingrid Marcum. Is she how a woman should look?
At the Arnold, it's not much easier to discern the ideal for men. Below a very average specimen (the author) poses with former Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, who outweighs me by about 70 lbs. At bottom, the far more athletic (and much lighter German Olympic Team member completes a very easy 375lb Clean and Jerk. Aesthetics does not always equal strength, even when it "looks better."
Of course, it's possible to take both aesthetics and strength to extremes. Below, Derek Poundstone, an incredibly fit competitor who won the 2009 Arnold Strongman Challenge. In these photos, he's hoisting over 970lbs off the floor to waist height.
Perhaps the worst part about a "body art" sport like bodybuilding is the transient nature of the finished product. Even though he's a far cry away from the anatomy lesson depicted below, 57-year old Lou Ferrigno still looks jacked.
But then, look at Frank Zane, in the photo (direct below) taken in his prime, when he won the Mr. Olympia contest (and looked carved out of marble). At bottom, he's a mere shell of his former self, as if someone had etched a scar across the Mona Lisa.
But then again, not even the Governator looks too hot anymore. I suppose, however, it's better than the two guys at bottom, a pair of "freaks" who've never had it.

The remainder of the shots consist of images I found interesting, and I'll leave you first with four of me, your fearless reporter who sided up to the "freaks" (and got fake tan all over his shirt).
Below, my two proudest moments from the Arnold. Making a 365lbs clean and jerk (for a competition personal best), and later, meeting German Gold Medal winning weightlifter Mathias Steiner.
Two photos of the ballroom dancing competition. At the Arnold, everything's a pageant.
For the first time ever, the Arnold Sports Festival weekend included an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight, this year held at the Columbus Arena. The card sucked, but two of the game's best stopped by the expo hall to sign autographs. On top, Tito Ortiz, and at bottom, possibly the truest freak of nature on hand the whole weekend, Brock Lesnar:
The various expo booths hawked a variety of products. On top, a plastic surgeon knows his customers are walking all around him. at bottom, those who can't do, make the costumes for those who can.
Speaking of products, would you visit a website if it was advertised like in the top photo? And would you get suckered into buying a product from the woman at lower right, who everyone knows didn't get to look like she does by lifting 5lb weights?

1 comment:

mew said...

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