Flex Flex UK - January 2018 - Page 74

THE WOULD-BE CONTENDERS Although there were only 12 competitors, the fight to muscle into the vaulted top five was so fierce that two crisply conditioned Europeans were stranded out of the money. At 45 and diabetic, Ronny Rockel of Germany has experienced a career renaissance in the 212 division, 14 years after his pro debut. He showed some minor edge blurring, but his corrugated lower back proved he brought the cuts, and he was justly rewarded with his highest Vegas placing since a sixth in the 2010 Mr. Olympia. With his wispy waist and broad shoulders, Milan Sadek of the Czech Republic has the most classical physique in the 212 class. He makes a great first impression with a V-shaped front double biceps, but at 5’7½”, he’s a tall 212er and appears rangy in some poses. Classic physique may be Sadek’s ideal home. But in his 212 Olympia debut, he missed the top five because of another O rookie. Derek Lunsford wasn’t merely an O rookie. He had won the USA Championships only seven weeks earlier. The Indianan was fourth after Friday’s pre-judging but made a rookie mistake with his absence of oil on Saturday and slipped to fifth. Still, Lunsford showed a pleasing combination of size and shape and boundless potential at age 24, just 28 months removed from his first bodybuilding show. (Jose Raymond flexed in his first contest the year Lunsford was born!) By contrast, 42-year-old David Henry, in the twilight of a remarkable career, was in O No. 12. Though he lacked his trademark spaghetti striations, Henry still crunched the freakiest most-muscular in the 212 division. THE TOP CONTENDERS “I came here for one reason—to put a nix on the six,” Raymond good-naturedly quipped at the 72 FLEX | JANUARY 2018 1 FLEX LEWIS