Las Vegas’ own Jay Cutler looks to regain the title of Mr. Olympia today and Saturday at the Orleans. If he’s victorious, he’ll be the first man to win (2006 and 2007), lose (last year), then win.
"A lot of people wrote me off, because usually a guy doesn’t come back to win. But I’m coming back to win," Culter, 36, tells me.
"I always call myself the Rodney Dangerfield of bodybuilding, because I get disrespected a lot by other athletes."
Cutler says fans have encouraged him in e-mails, in person around town, and at the Gold’s Gym where he works out.
But he’s been disparaged by "magazines and whispers behind the scenes" among some bodybuilders, he says.
"People are always nice to your face. But behind your back, people like to talk," he says. "People tend to say, ‘He’s been around; time for the new guys to get in.’ But it’s still my time."
From 1998 to 2005, the soft-spoken Cutler came in second place behind eight-time champ Ronnie Coleman. Then Cutler won in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, he came in second to Dexter Jackson.
Last year’s problem: He was retaining water on the first night of competition.
"When you eat a lot of carbohydrates is when you tend to hold body fluid."
This year, he’s lighter in weight but "drier," and his protein intake is higher.
He’s more confident than last year, because he looks better, he thinks.
"And I have something to prove," he says. "I’m trying to rewrite history to be the first champion to lose and come back to win it."
In fact, when the music plays during Cutler’s flexing, there will be a famous voice-over in the middle of his showing.
"Since I’ve gotten no respect this year for coming back, I put in a little Rodney Dangerfield. It says, ‘I get no respect,’ " he says.
Competing at his level does jangle the emotions.
"You train for one year for this competition," Cutler says. "You’re excited, you’re anxious, you’re hungry, and you’re kind of uncertain, because there’s a lot of guys that look good. It’s a very competitive show this year, more than ever."
Cutler’s mission is to bust the image many outsiders have of bodybuilders.
"People think they’re dumb and they’re arrogant. And that’s too bad. But a lot of it’s true. A guy gets muscles, he thinks he’s a tough guy.
"I’m trying to portray a great lifestyle, because bodybuilding has given me a whole life I never thought imaginable in the beginning," Cutler says.
"I never thought it would be a lifestyle, and fans would buy Jay Cutler material all over the world. I’m running a clothing line, Cutler Atheltics, off of the JayCutler.com Web site. It’s a huge hit now."
Contact Doug Elfman at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.