By Christian Duque
The Arnold Classic 2020 will go down in history for various reasons. For starters, it brought together one of the best lineups in the history of sports. They had former masters in William Bonac, Cedric McMillan and Dexter Jackson in the mix. They had rising stars like Patrick Moore that made waves. Big Ramy returned after a year of absence and looked very much earlier. Sergio Oliva Jr. looked very impressive and even won the Best Poser Award. Cedric reached the top 6. It was also great to see how experienced competitors really did, people like Maxx Charles and Akim Williams. An experienced competitor who really dropped his jaw was Steve Kuclo, who finished 4th and showed tremendous improvements.
If that is said, the contest will also make the history books because of the corona virus, the canceled expo, and the suspense in which the amateur and even pro events hung. All in all, however, the show went on and fans around the world could watch a great bodybuilding show from the comfort of their own home. The live feed has improved by leaps and bounds, making fans feel like they are watching PPV – total home run !! Finally, something needs to be said, so much that it inspired this article. When Bob Cicherillo finished the roundup after the show, former Arnold Classic champion Cedric McMillan interrupted the program. He went by, saw the news, and felt the need to add a few points. When someone crashes an interview, it's usually either humorous and / or controversial. McMillan, however, had some very important things to say. His message addressed past bodybuilding when there was more camaraderie and the need for it today.
One of the points that Cedric raised that I think resonated with Cicherillo is that bodybuilders had a real sense of community back then. There was a much stronger tendency to help each other. The boys weren't on ego trips. I think over the years the media and the business side of the industry have made athletes a lot more controversial than they have to be.
Bodybuilding is not boxing. A competitor's actions, whether it's preparation, posturing, or even appearance, won't rule out the next man or woman. The best body wins, but the body is different. In basketball, a layup is two points and an outside shot can be three. It is definitely. You shoot the ball and when it goes into the basket you get points; The team with the most points wins. Basketball – and most sports too – is an objective sport. Bodybuilding is a subjective sport. Yes, there are points in a bodybuilding competition, but the points are judged based on the judges' opinions. The judges' opinions decide. The positions are not in the hands of the athletes.
McMillan made a very good point when he said that bodybuilding is not an athlete versus athlete competition, but a sport where every athlete has to do his or her best. When a bodybuilder comes in 100% and poses 100%, he has done everything in his power to win. There is no reason for this bodybuilder to grapple with others, dodge others backstage and / or cast shadows on other competitors. So why?
Nostalgia always seems better than the present. I don't care if it's film, music, food or even fashion. People love the past because the past is rich in memories. Some people live by their memories, while others live in them. However, the truth is that Cedric is right. In the past, bodybuilders trained together, ate together and sometimes even lived together. When you look at Arnold and Franco, Lee and Paul, etc., you see a level of camaraderie that you just don't see today. In the past, bodybuilders even shared their carbohydrates behind the scenes, but what about today? Today everyone is on their own and it really doesn't have to be that way.
We are very lucky that Mr. Olympias like our reigning champion Brandon Curry and our (temporarily) paused Shawn Rhoden are there. This is not a typo. He is our Shawn Rhoden. Brandon is our Mr. Olympia. These great champions represent the best of our sport, they tirelessly expand it and try tirelessly to be positive, even if trolls and haters do their best to play everyone, including them, against each other.
Look, the money doesn't stop with the athletes. We can't and Cedric certainly can't just blame them. In fact, he doesn't blame anyone. However, I will do it. There are trolls among the fans – false fans – who indulge in the drama. There are also some media that rely on clickbait, fake news, and sensationalism to sell advertisements and stay relevant. Being relevant is also a fairly subjective concept. I say they made themselves irrelevant, but that's my privilege. There are also some supplement companies that want to promote divisions, dramas, and even downright hostility among competitors to sell more pills and powders. There the athletes have less say – and like the rest of us – they have bills and obligations. Should athletes insist that they are only part of positive advertising campaigns or are they running? The top 5-10 professionals in each division could possibly do that and not get the ax, but average professionals and the few national top NPC competitors with good contracts would most likely be deleted and replaced.
The bottom line is to take Cedric's plea and encourage the media and industry to think about McMillan's camaraderie among the athletes. The fans have always been there. Talking to them about the trolls and haters is pointless. It's like talking on a dead phone.
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