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Troy Alves Wins His First Pro Show at 41

The inaugural IFBB Europa Show of Champions may have opened the door for that certain category of bodybuilders who are good enough to go up against the best in the world but have yet to get over the hump. One of those men that fit that description is Troy Alves, who has never placed higher than third in 25 professional shows since 2003.

In fact, Alves’ victory in Orlando in April came as a surprise when you factor in his 11th place finish just a few short months ago at the Iron Man Pro. With that so fresh in the judge’s minds, the former member of the United States Air Force needed to make quick and vast improvements, which he most certainly did.

After the prejudging was completed, it was apparent that Alves would have more than a fighter’s chance to actually win the show. Veteran Darrem Charles and Hidetada Yamagishi were the other two names being mentioned as possible winners. When it was all said and done, Alves was not only $10,000 richer but also took with him back to Arizona an automatic invitation to the Mr. Olympia contest.

This will not be the first time that Alves has been in the mix for bodybuilding’s highest honor. In 2003, his initial attempt for the Sandow resulted in a top ten finish (eighth), not easy to do against the best in the world. Alves then finished 15th in both the 2004 and 2006 Olympias.

Known for his large arms, Alves’ have measured over 22 inches on one of the most sought after body parts not only in bodybuilding, but life in general. When he first began using weights, a teenage Alves would not deviate from curling and bench press. Taking up the sport in his sophomore year in high school, he was in a no-lose situation, having no choice but to improve on a 4’11’, 99-pound frame.

Over the years, he built his physique up nicely and even became a personal trainer. When he entered the Arizona All-Natural Muscle Classic, Alves even surprised himself by winning the novice overall and was the runner-up at the middleweight level.

This set up the part of Alves’ career that prepared him for future frustrations. That elusive pro card took a while for him to obtain with three consecutive national-level second-place finishes, but by 2002 Alves had earned his way.

He won the heavyweight division at the USA and didn’t ignore his favorite body part once he entered the professional ranks.

“My goal is to make my biceps as freaky as possible,” Alves said in a 2005 article in Flex magazine. “I’m still looking for balance, but I’m not holding back in training them really hard. Sometimes I do triceps twice a week, but I do biceps once for sure.

“At this point, for me personally, I’m trying to be the perfect specimen as far as everything being balanced and flowing, and I still feel like I have some work to do for the triceps to match up with the biceps.”

He made his pro debut at the 2003 Iron Man Pro and finished in a very respectful fourth place. Next up was the Arnold Classic, which is viewed as the second most prestigious contest after the Mr. Olympia, and Alves squeaked into the top 10. What makes his placing even more impressive is when you look back at the loaded line-up in Ohio that year, which included winner Jay Cutler (who also won the Iron Man in 2003), Chris Cormier, Markus Ruhl, Dexter Jackson, Kevin Levrone and others.

Reports from Columbus that year stated that Alves had a “nicely-shaped physique with big arms and good legs” but also that he needed to up his body weight approximately 20 pounds from the 220 he was that night.

Perhaps Alves staying in that weight range has prevented him from moving up in the ranks since his rookie year. Going up against the likes of Cutler and Ronnie Coleman, he does get lost in the shuffle being 5’8’ and not exactly large in comparison to the majority of the competition.

That had been the case up until now. By winning the Europa, Alves put his name back on the map. What seemed to be an uphill battle was his age – he is a grandfather and that says a lot. Reports coming out of Florida said that Alves’ legs finally caught up to his upper body and even a casual observer could see that right away. His thighs looked tremendous and it was not a stretch when Alves was described as looking like a “new athlete.”

Now the questions will begin if he cannot only duplicate the shape that he was in but also come in to the Olympia even better than he did at the Europa. Alves will see a much deeper and larger set of bodies standing to his left and right on the stage at the Orleans Hotel in five months. If he has any chance of breaking into the top 10, he will have to add that 20 pounds he has been either unable or unwilling to do so far.

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