Photo Credit: Roman Siromakha
A brief review I wrote a while back after returning from Florida with a pro win and a qualification to Olympia 2014.
“Arriving at Boca Raton, FL my expectations were slightly off-kilter, more-so than usual. I had a great prep for this show, same as any other this year. Some have been hits, some misses, then again, I never go into a show expecting to win. Few days prior to Prestige Crystal Cup Pro I made a post on my social media that I was going into the show to defeat my past self, my goal to beat was the package I brought to Toronto Pro. I felt that show along with New York Pro (few weeks prior to Toronto) were two of my best presentations, so the goal and determination was there even if expectations were absent.
I used to be the kind of person to get easily intimidated by others because I never thought I was good enough, over the years my confidence in myself grew along with the rest of me. Tried to avoid the competitor lists because as far as I was concerned, my only competition was myself, but with social media these days it was unavoidable. When I saw the lineup I actually got even more excited.
Checking in at the show, we all got to meet the promoters and judges, shake hands, receive our numbers and badges. Competitors had their food out, most of them were shoveling food in their mouths – picture synchronized eating.
Pre-judging went great, I did my routine as planned, presented my physique in a way I wanted, the one thing I would have changed is slowed it down a bit. Nerves took over and my posing’s tempo jumped up a bit, but I was still happy with the outcome. Group comparison round came and I was pretty confident with my progress, especially in the back pose. Last year I sustained a back injury and was training with two herniated disks in my lower back, took a while, but I eventually came back to training full bore and had to tailor a workout that wouldn’t aggravate my injury, yet bring me some consistent progress. My back was never a strong point, so I put extra effort into developing it this season. During callouts I had my predictions for the other guys after seeing them go through their posing on stage, but I couldn’t say where I, myself would end up. To my surprise, my number was called out, and I let my cheesy grin lead the way towards the line that faced the judges. After pre-judging, I was not only surprised, but extremely happy, here I was, the guy who set his expectations low, being shifted around in the first callout with two of the favorite athletes who were predicted to win the show. I avoided all the questions from friends, all the text messages and social media. I never know how to answer “How did you do?” questions after pre-judging – you don’t know, simply put, nobody does and besides, I don’t want to think about it since it is entirely out of my hands at this point.
Finals came, I tried to stay full and tight and cut my routine a bit shorter. The guys backstage were already congratulating me, meanwhile I didn’t want to hear any of that until my name is actually called and I’m holding my hand up as the winner. Before heading on stage I had figured I’ll be top three, but wasn’t sure how things will play out in the confirmation round and knew that if I did win, it would be very close. After our individual routines, the announcer started calling out top five. Fifth place called, Sheridan House – I clap, calm and collected. Fourth place called out, Jeff Seid – my theory on top three has been proven wrong, since Jeff at this show, or any other he enters is a favorite. Third place, Rueben Gordon – I nearly cheer, because I’ve spoken to this man backstage and not only he had a great look, but a very genuine presence about how he carries himself and interacts with others. At this point my palms start to sweat. Second place, Felipe Franco – I’m in a cocoon of hysteria. I palm my face with my sweaty hands and in seconds (which seemed like days) thank every living person on the planet who believed in me. Felipe has taken second place the week before, out in California, has good looks and a physique to match. As I stand there and the rest of the competitors are lined up awaiting to hear the winner’s name I retract back to every obstacle I had to face this year to get to this point. Was it all worth it? Absolutely. Over the microphone, you hear “And the winner is..” get interrupted by a few people from the audience screaming out my number before the announcer can confirm it. First place, Anton Antipov – I shake everybody’s hand in the lineup and take my place as the winner in the middle throwing my hands up and bowing to the judges. I could not stop grinning, first place and a qualification to Olympia ’14. It would be the second year in a row that I would qualify, in ’13 I qualified by winning Powerhouse Classic in Detroit. Cannot describe the feeling, as something like this can only be felt and not put in words, simply because there are no words to describe it and saying amazing would be short handing it of it’s true form. Only one point had separated me and Filipe Franco. We had a conversation using google translator backstage, I pulled it up on my phone and wished him a good luck which googled translated into Portuguese, he took the phone and wished the same to me.
The only way to live is to progress, which is what I intend on doing in every single aspect. My plans are to continue to build and create a better me, I love the challenge. My next events will be Tampa Pro in August, Olympia in September, and then a week right after Olympia I’m running Bronx 10 mile race in New York. I run races and events for charity to raise money for TMK (Team For Kids), who help the youth by providing fitness activities and all sort of events to keep the young generation healthy. Winning this show, for me at least, continues to solidify the fact that if you really put your heart and soul into something, life has no choice but to give it to you. I do everything on my own and don’t work with any coaches or trainers, not that I’m against it or not open to it, but so far I’ve just been learning a lot through my own trial and error.
I’d like to thank Jim Manion for making all this possible, Men’s Physique division opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people, including myself. My sponsor Nutrex for seeing the potential in me and their continued support. My fiancé Anna Starodubtseva, who is the only other person besides me who has seen the highs and lows of my lifestyle, my constant rock in life and one of my biggest inspirations. My family, my friends, my fans and everyone who has taken the time to read this. Chase your dreams long enough and ultimately you end up living them. Never give up.
Peace and love.”