Bodybuilding veteran Chris Cormier was a mainstay in the IFBB Pro League during the 1990s and 2000s. In a recent Prime Time Muscle podcast, Cormier looked back on 2002 Mr. Olympia where Gunter Schlierkamp pushed Ronnie Coleman with one of his career’s best packages.
German pro Gunter Schlierkamp led a successful tenure lasting over 15 years. He was well respected in the industry for his size and muscularity as many predicted he would be a future Mr. Olympia winner assuming his conditioning was on par with his contemporaries. He shared the stage with several big names in the sport like Flex Wheeler, Cormier, Coleman, and Jay Cutler.
Having reflected on past Mr. Olympia competitions, Schlierkamp believes he could have placed higher at a few contests but said winners weren’t hand-picked. His remarks came after Kevin Levrone took part in The Menace Podcast with Dennis James. Levrone suspected that outside factors and politics played a role in which bodybuilders ultimately won gold and represented the brand.
In a trip down memory lane, Cormier relived his 2002 Mr. Olympia experience when Gunter Schlierkamp was leading the show ahead of Coleman during prejudging. While Schlierkamp finished fifth, Cormier said it was one of his best looks of all time.
Chris Cormier on Gunter Schlierkamp at 2002 Mr. Olympia: ‘Joe Weider Told Us He Was Giving Ronnie Trouble’
According to Chris Cormier, Joe Weider warned him that Gunter Schlierkamp was on track to challenge for gold in 2002. It should be noted that Gunter Schlierkamp defeated Coleman at the 2002 GNC Show of Strength
“We were in Amsterdam, competed in Europe, myself, Ronnie, all the crew, Dexter, we’re all there and we were a little tired we were coming from a little tour in Europe. Then, we were in Amsterdam, so we were eating the cookies, and I was eating the cookies. Yup. I was in good shape. I wasn’t worried about it. We went there to New Orleans, on our way there, Joe Weider was talking to someone at the time on the tour and expressed to us how good Gunter was looking and that he’s possibly going to be giving Ronnie some trouble – that he was in that good of shape.
Getting over to the show, you know, we were like, ‘Okay, so,’ but it’s still Gunter, it’s not like a killer. But we were still banking on beating him. And it was a lot of money at stake. We were going in there guns a-blazing also, King Kamali was also there. But he [Gunter Schlierkamp] was in great shape. They did the first call out, they called out Ronnie, they called out Gunter, and they called myself out. It was us three in that call out there.”
Looking back on the contest, Cormier said he, Coleman, and Gunter all won some shots. He highlighted that shape and aesthetics were highly favored by judges at the time.
“I think they had Gunter in first place after the symmetry round, so I’m pissed, I kind of go off on him about it after the prejudging, ‘How the hell you get first place in the symmetry round?’ I’m just kind of like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ He and his wife at the time was going back and forth with me in the lobby, I was pissed, don’t be telling me you’re winning the symmetry round, come on man, you know you don’t deserve that shit.”
“I would win some shots, Gunter would win some shots, Ronnie would win, but at that time, it was a lot of shape and a lot of aesthetics going on in the judging and the flavor of that type of year. It just kind of hit everyone by surprise. Kevin Levrone jumped on the stage and congratulated him and was so happy for Hunter, because he thought in his mind, now the blood is in the water, now I can get Ronnie too. If Gunter can beat him, I could beat him. I was pissed till I got my check that day.”
Given Schlierkamp’s combination of size, fullness, and conditioning, Cormier and Olympia judge Terrick El Guindy agree it was one of his most complete packages to date.
“It was a good place from him but it was the time, coming from Europe and all that stuff, but I’m not going to take anything away from him because he did look good that day,” added Cormier.
“Joe Weider approached Chris Cormier and he said, ‘Gunter is looking incredible, Ronnie might be in trouble.’ What he was referring to is, I took a gander at this guy and his conditioning has never been this good and credit to Joe and Gunter, this is his best conditioning. So, I still think he needed to be more large on top. But, if you look at the hamstrings and the glutes, we had never seen that before from Gunter, and here he shows something different to the judges, to the audience, at this event in 2002,” El Guindy said.
“I think he changed dieticians and something, he did something a lot different. I know he was training with Charles Glass back in the day. He came in a lot different in that show. That was probably the peak show of his career,” Cormier shared.
The last time fans heard from Schlierkamp, he joined Dennis Wolf for a workout at 52. Fans were taken aback by his jacked biceps in retirement. Despite his ability to push the pace with some of the biggest mass monsters the sport has seen, Gunter appears happy with his downsized physique since stepping away from bodybuilding.
RELATED: History of Mr. Olympia
After reminiscing about 2002 Mr. Olympia, Cormier who placed third ahead of Gunter Schlierkamp, still believes the German native brought one his best physiques of all time.
Leave a Reply