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Roger “Rock” Lockridge
Roger "Rock" Lockridge is Muscle Insider's Senior Writer and has been involved in the fitness industry in multiple roles since 2002, including as a personal trainer and supplement sales associate for multiple locations. He is best-known as a freelance writer whose work has been featured by publications such as Muscle & Fitness, Men's Health, BarBend, Bodybuilding.com, and others. As of 2022, he's had over 2,100 articles published in print and digitally in ten languages on six continents. His personal transformation and story has been featured in a variety of outlets such as Men's Health, Muscle & Fitness, Huffington Post, Deseret News, Muscle & Strength, and Bodybuilding.com. Lockridge has contributed to Muscle Insider since 2021. He lives in West Virginia with his wife and son.
How Does Big Ramy Affect the 2023 Arnold Classic?
By Roger “Rock” Lockridge
Since we posted the lineups for the 2023 Arnold Classic, set for Mar. 3-4, 2023 in Columbus, OH, some extra moves had been made. Patrick Moore and Andrew Jacked are now both in the contest as well, but the biggest shake-up came on Jan. 20th when Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay entered himself in the 35th edition of the contest.
From a promotion and bodybuilding standpoint, the two-time Mr. Olympia’s entry into the contest added even more excitement and anticipation. It now increases the field to ten men, all of whom have elite caliber talent and placings. All ten men in this lineup have been considered top-ten bodybuilders in the world. The updated roster is below.
- William Bonac
- Shaun Clarida
- Samson Dauda
- Kamal Elgargni
- Memdouh Elssbiay
- Andrew Jacked
- Patrick Moore
- Justin Rodriguez
- Nick Walker
- Akim Williams
Elssbiay will be looking to rebound from a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Olympia. As a former Mr. Olympia, he still poses a great threat to the rest of the field, even those that beat him in Las Vegas one month ago. But the threat isn’t only to the Arnold Classic title or the $300,000 first-place prize that has been announced for the winner this year. The effects of an Elssbiay victory could alter the 2023 Olympia in November.
You may recall that the IFBB Pro League announced that aside from the top five of the 2022 Mr. Olympia, as well as past Mr. Olympia winners, only 2023 contest season winners will be qualified for the Olympia this year. So, either you win a show or you’re watching from the seats or home on pay-per-view.
That means there aren’t many opportunities to qualify for the contest. The only man outside of last year’s top five (Hadi Choopan, Derek Lunsford, Nick Walker, Brandon Curry, and Elssbiay) to qualify for the Olympia thus far is Brett Wilkin, who won the 2022 Bigman Weekend Pro to punch his ticket to Orlando, FL.
As of this writing, there are only 25 shows on the Men’s Open schedule this season. 25 chances to qualify for the Olympia hang in the balance. If Elssbiay wins the contest, he also takes away that qualification for another athlete who needs that victory such as two-time Arnold Classic winner William Bonac, Dauda, Jacked, Moore, Rodriguez, or Williams.
To be fair, Walker is also in that position because he is also qualified for the Olympia thanks to finishing third at last year’s contest. Speaking of “The Mutant,” this also offers a rematch between the two, who will be meeting for the third time ever. Each man has placed higher than the other once.
Should Elssbiay win the contest, he would be the fifth man to win the Arnold and Olympia in his career. The others are Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, and Curry. Fans that are interested in buying tickets or watching the pay-per-view of the Arnold Classic can go to www.arnoldsports.com to buy tickets or the pay-per-view.