The Promise of Something Big!
One of the BIG storylines to come out of the 2014 Arnold Classic was the advancement of Cedric McMillan to the top level of the bodybuilding hierarchy. After last year’s impressive debut at the Arnold (which was sabotaged by lack of color and oil) and a very disappointing 12th place finish at the New York Pro, McMillan has now gotten a handle on his condition and is at last receiving the respect from the judges that his physique clearly deserves.
More than anyone else competing on the professional level, Cedric has a Classic Bodybuilding Physique. He brings to the stage all the aspects of what defines Bodybuilding – size, shape, symmetry and posing ability. In another era, he would clearly be dominating the stage in any competition he entered.
To prove my point, look at the amazing career of Lee Haney. When Haney competed in the 1982 NPC Nationals, he shocked the judges with his great combination of size, structure and symmetry. In an era when smaller but classical physiques like Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Samir Bannout and Mohamed Makkawy would routinely win the top professional contests, Haney presented an aesthetic physique that was on par with these champions but with the addition of 50 more pounds of muscle!
When Lee Haney entered the professional ranks, it wasn’t long before the judges acknowledged the dominance of his physique. He placed third in his first pro show before winning the prestigious Night of the Champions contest in 1983. In his first Mr. Olympia appearance later that year, he placed a strong third, beating 3-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane in his final competition.
One year later, Lee had added 13 pounds of beef to his superior structure and easily ascended to the throne of Mr. Olympia. He went on to win the biggest title in bodybuilding an amazing eight times, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record in the process. In most of his Mr. Olympia wins, the contest was essentially over as soon as all the competitors initially lined up for the judges. At 5’11”, Haney was taller than most of his competition and his wide shoulders combined with his tiny waistline presented a dominating figure that was too much for his genetically inferior rivals to beat.
Things have changed in the bodybuilding world since Lee Haney last competed in 1991. Bodybuilders are much bigger now and the standards for hardness, graininess and dryness have surpassed ideals such as structure, proportion and symmetry. In the 21st Century, a bodybuilder with a less than perfect structure can still place high simply by virtue of his conditioning and hardness.
When Cedric McMillan stepped out on the Arnold Classic stage one year ago, he was holding a thin film of water over his massive and proportionate physique. Because of the current standard of judging, his unmistakable and dominant mass and shape was overcome by bodybuilders such as Johnnie Jackson and Hidetada Yamagishi. Somewhere, the late Steve Reeves must have been bowing his head in confusion.
Thankfully, Cedric has now corrected his dietary mistakes and has a better feel for what his body needs. When he eats what his body needs and he gets the rest he requires, the result is a bodybuilder that belongs at the very top of the sport.
This year, McMillan stepped onstage in a condition that could not be ignored. Combining outrageous mass and fullness with the hardness and definition to showcase all the magnificent muscle, the judges rightly moved Cedric up to the third place position, behind the top front runners going into the contest, Dennis Wolf and Shawn Rhoden.
Even more appealing about the Cedric McMillan persona is his respect for the presentation aspect of the sport. Cedric obviously knows his bodybuilding and it’s apparent by the work he has put into his posing. Most bodybuilders have great difficulty hitting the majestic three quarter back pose but McMillan hits it like a champ. The way he flows from one heroic pose to another proves that he knows how to present his physique the way it is supposed to be displayed. You won’t find any half ass attempts at soliciting audience applause or a lackluster routine when Cedric takes the stage. This is obviously a well thought out, grand posing presentation in the tradition of Haney and Schwarzenegger!
At this year’s Arnold Classic, the King himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, approached Cedric backstage and told him that “he was very impressive and his physique was perfect.” He also acknowledged that Cedric is the only one who hits his poses correctly. For all his success and fame, Arnold is still, at heart, a true bodybuilder. Whenever he is interviewed about some of his classic competitions, Arnold’s eyes light up and he gets excited and animated in recalling the good old days of bodybuilding. If anyone is an expert in the bodybuilding world, it is Arnold.
Now that Cedric is on his way, I am pulling for him to go to the top and dominate the stage at this year’s Mr. Olympia contest. Let’s go back to the classic standards of bodybuilding judging and award a physique that has the best combination of size, shape, symmetry, posing and definition. Can Phil match Cedric when it comes to massive size and proportion? Can Kai overcome the magnificent shape and symmetry of McMillan? It’s up to Cedric to nail his condition again but I’m hoping that this high placing and the backing of the Terminator himself is enough to instill the confidence and sense of purpose he needs to work even harder at building his physique and ascend to the highest throne in bodybuilding.