By Bill Geiger
Reigning Mr. Olympia champ Phil Heath fended off a strong challenge from Kai Greene to take his second Olympia title on Sept. 29 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The win came with the largest purse ever in the event as Heath pocketed $250,000 for the night’s work. Greene, whose best efforts had been a pair of wins at the Arnold Classic, was the only real challenger to the defending champ from Colorado. Rounding out the top 10 were Shawn Rhoden (3rd), Dexter Jackson (4th), Branch Warren (5th), Dennis Wolf (6th), Toney Freeman (7th), Evan Centopani (8th), Johnnie Jackson (9th) and Lionel Beyeke (10th).
In the 212-pound division, the UK’s Flex Lewis finally bagged the big prize taking the crown in the absence of multi-year champ Kevin English. Lewis earned $20,000, edging out David Henry.
In the Figure class, Florida’s Erin Stern captured the title and $28,000 first-place check, defeating Nicole Wilkins, the reigning champ. Wilkins had edged out Stern a year ago.