Arnold Classic History: 1999 – 2003.
We continue with our Arnold Classic coverage. We will be looking the years from 1999-2003. Another great five years in the history of this great competition.
In 1999, Flex Wheeler was not in the competition to try to make it his fourth Arnold Classic win and the title was open to anybody. A fantastic line-up of competitors graced the stage. Kevin Levrone was back to try to win his third, while a young Jay Cutler was also in the mix. But, nobody came close the the great Nasser El Sonbaty (RIP). Nassar at the time could stand next to anybody and give them a great fight.
After placing second in 1997 and 1998, 1999 would be the year Nasser takes the precious title home with him. Kevin Levrone had to settle for second while Chris Cormier finished in third. Future Mr. Olympia and multiple Arnold Classic winner Jay Cutler placed fourth.
The 2000 Arnold Classic was another mega competition with another fantastic line-up of future legends in the making. But, it was the year the amazing Flex Wheeler took his fourth Arnold Classic title home. It would be Flex Wheeler’s final victory in what would be a fantastic career.
Chris Cormier would move up a place from 1999 to finish second, while two-time winner Kevin Levrone had to settle for third. Big Dennis James would take fourth spot while the future record breaking Deter Jackson would finish in fifth.
The 2001 Arnold Classic would see an already dominant bodybuilder take the title. Ronnie Coleman had already established himself as the best bodybuilder in the world with already two Mr. Olympia titles under his belt and would go on to win another six.
Ronnie was literally unbeatable and the battle was really for second place. Chris Cormier walked home with another second place medal, while Dennis James moved up a place from the previous year to finish third. The energetic King Kamali finished in fourth while the best Dexter Jackson could do was fifth place… for now.
In 2002, we would see the rise of another king, this time it would be Jay Cutler. The 2002 Arnold Classic victory would be the first of three for big Jay Cutler. By this time, Jay Cutler already finished in second to Ronnie Coleman in the Mr. Olympia making him one of the best bodybuilders in the world. Jay Cutler was the man to beat at the Arnold Classic, his condition was just perfect.
Chris Cormier had to settle for another second place finish and future Arnold Classic king, Dexter Jackson moved up to third place. ‘Giant Killer’ Lee Priest took home fourth place while Kevin Levrone fell to fifth. Another placing one would note is that 1999 winner Nasser El Sonbaty (RIP) finished in 10th.
In 2003, it would be Jay Cutler again to take home his second Arnold Classic title. 2003 would be a great year for Jay Cutler as he won five IFBB Pro shows.
The era of the mass monsters started and the final standings started to show it.
Chris Cormier again would walk home with second place. It started to look like Chris would always find one of the best bodybuilders in the world in his way to win this title. Third place went to the German monster Markus Ruhl.
Dexter Jackson had to settle for fourth place while Kevin Levrone ended up in fifth.