2013 Olympia Interview with Ben Tatar
By Anthony Alayon
Anthony Alayon: For those who do not know you that well, can you tell us who you are and how you have helped Critical Bench throughout the years?
Ben Tatar: I have been with Critical Bench since 1999 and have written hundreds of training articles and ebooks. I have interviewed hundreds of celebrities, UFC champions, pro athletes, world record holders, bodybuilders and iron greats. I’m also known for attending many conventions and reporting on events.
Anthony Alayon: Moving on to the Olympia. What makes the Olympia weekend great?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia is an amazing event. I will list 10 things that make the Olympia great:
1) The best of the best are always there, the best athletes, celebrities, bodybuilders, powerlifters and strongmen.
2) The Olympia is in Las Vegas. This gives the Olympia a real vacation and glamorous feel.
3) The Olympia Expo is in a big convention, so you have quality time to talk to the stars. I have had more conversations with people at the Olympia than any other event.
4) There is so much to do at the Olympia. There are thousands of people who share your interest, competitive events and entertaining attractions such as the Animal Cage.
5) You have all of Vegas to enjoy, so the opportunities for fun are endless.
6) You see old friends who you don’t get to see often. It’s like reuniting with a friend in a paradise-like setting.
7) You meet new friends in a great setting.
8) There are great restaurants, casinos and parties.
9) Champions are made.
10) There’s lots of great energy everywhere.
Anthony Alayon: How many people show up to this event?
Ben Tatar: There were approximately 40,000 for the Olympia Expo. Also, about 10,000 people show up for the Mr. Olympia competition. Another cool thing about the Olympia is that all the big names past, present and future are there.
Anthony Alayon: What were some of the athletic events that went on during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: There is bodybuilding, powerlifting, bench pressing, arm wrestling, World’s Strongest Man, World’s Ultimate Athlete competition, cross fit, all types of model searches, mixed martial arts, boxing and even Sumo Wrestling.
Anthony Alayon: Did you compete in any of the events?
Ben Tatar: I competed in the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. This is an event to crown the greatest athlete. Athletes perform events such as a fast ball baseball pitch, a three point shooting contest, throwing footballs through tires and a grueling physical obstacle course. The obstacle course includes carrying things like big logs over boxes, climbing over big walls and pulling sleds.
Anthony Alayon: What was your favorite part of the entire event and why?
Ben Tatar: My favorite moment of the event occurred when I picked up my Media Credential Pass at the Orleans Hotel. As soon as I picked my media credentials, I looked back at all the years I have been going to these events. I thought about the people I planned to see and remembered people who use to go to the events. It was a deep and intense moment for me. Then I walked into Meet the Olympians event, I saw the strongman in the Lobby and my dad with a media credential pass as well. My dad and I were celebrating. The energy around me felt intense. Every moment from these events that I have ever experienced entered my mind simultaneously! I screamed “Yeah, Westy,” even though he couldn’t hear me. I thought of everyone. I was like “Thank you God,” and then I patted myself on the back for my choices. Then I was like, “I’M HERE!” It was a powerful experience, and then I took that energy into a laser-like focus for an amazing weekend.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us a crazy or fun thing that you did during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: I jumped off the tallest building in Las Vegas, the stratosphere. You can see my video below.
Ben Tatar: I’m giving the freak award to WSM all-star, Robert Oberst. He stands at nearly seven feet tall and weighs well over 400lbs. He has a bigger beard than Santa Claus, and he is awesome.
Anthony Alayon: Name us a bodybuilder from the 2013 Olympia who really impressed you and tell us why?
Ben Tatar: I always found Ben White impressive. He is not only an IFBB pro bodybuilding great, but he is also the strongest bodybuilding bench presser of all time.
Anthony Alayon: What are the costs of attending this event if someone wants to go?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia Expo only cost $25 per day. The cost of hotels vary wildly.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us who made history at this year’s Olympia weekend event.
Ben Tatar: Phil Heath won the Mr. Olympia competition. In the men’s 212lbs bodybuilding competition, James Flex Lewis emerged victorious. The physique professional winner was Mark Anthony Wingson. The Muscle and Fitness model search winner went to Sergi Constance. On the women’s side, Iris Kyle became Ms. Olympia. She also set a record for winning more Olympias than anyone in history. This includes surpassing Arnold. The woman physique winner was Dana Linn Bailey. My friend, Nicole Wilkins took the figure again. Adela Garcia won Fitness, and Ashley Kaltwasser won Bikini. In the America’s strongest man competition, Brian Shaw made history! Shaw has truly become a strongman champion icon winning these competitions repeatedly! Craig Tullier won the Olympia’s Arm Wrestling war.
The heavy weight, Tectar from Norway won the Arm Wrestling heavy weight championship. In Sumo Wrestling, Sumo Dan Kalbfleisch won the Gold. For powerlifting, Henry Thomason was the most impressive heavy weight powerlifter, totaling 2,298lbs. Al Caslow and Micah Marino dominated in the powerlifting 181lbs weight division. Al totaled 1,973lbs and Micah totaled 1,967lbs. April Shumaker prevailed victorious in the female powerlifting division, totaling 914lbs. The best bench presser for the big men was Matt Houser, benching 826lbs. Joe Mazza weighing 181lbs was the most impressive pound for pound bencher as he benched 617lbs. The best female deadlifter was Kristy Scott, as she deadlifted 523lbs. Damon Myers weighing 198lbs won for light lifters, deadlifting 766lbs. The man who deadlifted the most of anyone was heavy weight Brent Willis, deadlifting 881lbs. The Ultimate Athlete Champion was Mark Sayas. Mark was in 14th place after day one, and he made a huge comeback to win the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. As you can tell, lots of people made history in different avenues of iron and athletic excellence during Olympia weekend.
Anthony Alayon: What made this year’s Olympia different from other Olympia’s?
Ben Tatar: This year’s Olympia Expo was in the Northern Hall. That made this year’s Olympia the biggest one to date. There are always new faces, celebrities and champions. Therefore, for me, these events never get old, and I will keep returning.