The National Dog Show & A Bodybuilding Show… They’re Not That Different.

National Dog show

The Olympia is often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding and fitness. It showcases “the best of the best” in professional physique competition. Hundreds of pro competitors attempt to qualify for the event each year but few make it to the grand stage. Those who do make it to the Olympia stage often refer to it as one of, if not thee, highlight of their competitive career.

Countless sacrifices go into preparing for any competition  but the stakes are always higher at the Olympia. The total prize money (between all divisions) totaled over one million dollars. As you can imagine with that kind of cash on the line, the participants are laser focused heading into the event. While you’re out partying on a Friday night, Olympia competitors are hitting the gym or cooking their meals for the next day. When friends and family are having a beer at a wedding, they’re reaching for a jug of water. Cake? Forget about having any of that en route to the big dance. It requires extreme dedication, discipline and passion to compete at the Olympia level. Just ask anyone who has been on there and they’ll tell you what they gave up to pursue their passion.

A competitor’s nerves are higher and the pressure is on at the Olympia. It is at every competition but this event draws the attention of thousands across the world. They’ll be subjected to not only the judges’ opinions but also the media and fans. The event is shown live and free on but this year’s Olympia, the monumental 50th anniversary, was to be different. In addition to the live online stream it was going to be shown on the NBC Sports Network. It would mark the return of bodybuilding to television, something that hadn’t happened since 1984.

David J. Pecker, American Media Inc.(AMI) Chairman, President and CEO said in the June press release, “The Olympia Weekend is an extraordinary event that underscores the passion and commitment that every competitor brings to the stage, and the exhilaration of the more than forty thousand spectators that will attend this year’s event.”

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) was to televise two 90-minute specials around the event in October. When people tuned into NBCSN on October 18th and again on October 25th they expected to see the Olympia. Instead viewers saw soccer or a car show during that time. On October 18th, fans were confused and inquired about it online. They thought maybe there was a scheduling change and/or they had the wrong time. When October 25th came and went with no Olympia broadcast on TV, fans went from confused to angry and pissed.

What happened to the Olympia and the broadcast not airing? It’s disappointing that this extraordinary event didn’t see the light of day on television. We’re all left in the dark as to why the historic 50th Olympia wasn’t show on the NBC network. No statement has been made by AMI or NBC. It wouldn’t change anything but I’m sure those who competed would like to know. It’s rewarding and validating to see your hard work showcased on television. But hey you can always tune into The National Dog Show on NBC.

Wait, what? What the hell does a bodybuilding show and a dog show have to do with one another? More than you might think.

The National Dog Show has been on NBC for over a decade so clearly the pooch patrol has a leg up on bodybuilding there. There were an estimated 20 million viewers for this year’s event. Clearly, if it hadn’t aired there would be some sort of explanation as to why but when bodybuilding’s biggest show doesn’t air nothing is mentioned.

The dog show features, “the leading canines from over 170 breeds (including the world’s largest, smallest and most exotic)”.

The Olympia Weekend showcases a variety of events but mainly the best bodies in the world, some of which are large and muscular while others are more tight and toned.

If you’ve ever watched a dog show you’ve probably wondered, “what the hell are they judging”? I know I did. It’s not all that different from watching a bodybuilding competition for the first time. Spectators in both events will likely pick their favorite(s). If you ask why,  you’ll get a variety of reasons. I like the Labrador retrievers in a dog show. Why? I had one when I was a kid and still partial to them today. They’re good looking, sporty, friendly and obedient. The person to my right may like the poodle because she saw one in a movie and the person to my left fancies the bulldog because Adam Sandler has one. The same holds true to a bodybuilding competition. Maybe the guy has nice abs and you were a fan of Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” music video. Ask someone else and they’ll pick the guy with the biggest arms because they like super heroes.

While I was watching The National Dog Show on NBC, it felt a lot like I was watching the “new breeds” of physique competition, i.e. Bikini and Men’s Physique. We’ll focus on the Bikini division. The dog show and a bikini competition showcase a variety of different looks and most are stunning. The dog handlers spend hours (and surely it’s not cheap) preparing for this big day. Just like the bikini competitors. They all look great but how could one win over the other?

I’ve been asked hundreds of times, why did she win and not the other gal? Great question. I have no idea. The bikini competitor I liked the best placed fifth and the one I thought wouldn’t be in the top five won. How do you explain it? Sure you can go down a list of rules and guidelines but will that change your opinion? Maybe but probably not. It didn’t for me when I watched the video explaining what the judges look for in the National Dog show.

After listening to David Frei, the host of the National Dog Show, it appears bikini competitors and dogs may get eerily similar feedback. Both are subjective and depend on who is judging on that day. How it might go when asking for feedback…

Bikini vs The National Dog Show Judges’Feedback.
Dog Show – The collar color was too big.
Bikini – Your suit didn’t fit you right.

Dog Show – The color of the collar was distracting.
Bikini – Your suit color didn’t flatter your body.

Dog Show – The trainer didn’t hold the leash tight enough.
Bikini – You didn’t come in tight enough.

Dog Show – The hair color wasn’t right.
Bikini – Your hair color didn’t work for your physique.

Dog Show – The dog’s hair was too short.
Bikini – Your hair is too short, you should grow it out.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t present well.
Bikini – You need to work on your presentation.

Dog Show – The eye shape wasn’t what it should be.
Bikini – Your eye shadow and makeup were not good.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t hold its stance properly.
Bikini – Your bent too far over when posing.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t stand square.
Bikini – You spread your legs too far apart when posing from the back.

Dog Show – The dog urinated on my foot.
Bikini – You crossed your legs and bent forward like you had to pee.

Dog Show – There’s no such thing as the perfect dog. Yours was the closest to it though.
Bikini – There’s no such thing as a perfect physique. You were the closest to it though.

Dog Show – The dog didn’t move it’s head like it was supposed to.
Bikini – You didn’t pop your booty out like you need to.

Dog Show – The dog looked dehydrated.
Bikini – You pulled too much water.

Dog Show – The dog wasn’t up to the standard for this breed.
Bikini – You’re too muscular, have you thought about doing Figure?

Dog Show – I had your dog in first but was overruled.
Bikini – I had you in first but was overruled.

See NBC… a bodybuilding/bikini show isn’t all the different from the National Dog show.

Just like in bodybuilding, at the dog show there can only be one “Best in Show”. Did everyone agree on the winner of the dog show? Likely not. They certainly didn’t at the Olympia. None-the-less congratulations to Nathan the Bloodhound, winner of the 2014 National Dog Show. You’re like…

The Phil Heath of Bodybuilding.
The Iris Kyle of Women’s Bodybuilding
The Nicole Wilkins of Figure.
The Ashley Kaltwasser of Bikini.
The Juliana Malacarne of Women’s Physique.
The Jeremy Buendia of Men’s Physique.

Since I’ve never been to a dog show I’m left to ponder…
• What do dogs eat backstage?
• Are dogs allowed water backstage?
• Do the dogs have to stay off their feet before heading out to judging?
• Are trainers and their dogs worried if there are enough mirrors backstage?
• Do dogs and their handler worry about what side of the stage they enter?
• Do dogs get treats and eat “bad food” after the show?
• Do the trainers get blamed if the dog doesn’t show well?
• Is the backstage at a dog show as chaotic and smelly as a bodybuilding show?
• Do trainers, significant other and fans at dog shows yell things like, “bullshit! She should be in the first comparison”? I’m guessing not.
• Do dog owners cry “politics” when their dog doesn’t win?
• Do dog fans think the show was a fixed because their favorite pooch didn’t win the “Best in show”? (Yes, I read some comments online saying just that.)
• If a dog is sponsored by a big brand do they get special treatment?
• Does a big social media following help a dog place better?
• Does it matter who the dog’s trainer is?
• Do dog handlers take all the credit for the win in their post show interviews?
• Do dogs get asked what show they are doing next?

If dogs can get two hours on tv, in a competition that few understand, is it too much to ask for Olympia competitors to get the same? After all they’re not that different.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.