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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 The New Olympia Qualifications Can Affect The 2023 Olympia
By Roger “Rock” Lockridge
Unless you are new to bodybuilding or you haven’t been paying attention, the IFBB Pro League announced the new qualification methods to earn a trip to the 2023 Olympia Weekend, which we can confirm will be held in Orlando, FL in early November 2023. The exact dates have yet to be announced.
Outside of champions having lifetime qualification within their division that they won their titles, the ways to qualify for the 2023 Olympia are below.
Top 5 finishers in Mr. Olympia (Men’s Open)
Top 3 finishers in all other divisions.
Winning a pro show between November 21st, 2022 and October 9th, 2023.
You may notice that there is something missing from that list – the Olympia Qualification System, the points system that rewarded those athletes that didn’t win a pro show but placed high in the shows they did compete in. That is no error. The points system is gone for at least the 2023 season. There is no word if the move is permanent. You can see the full announcement for yourself at the IFBB Pro League website.
How This Affects the Lineups
This move doesn’t appear like it would have much ramifications for the lineups this coming year. However, if you look at the totality and the impact of the athletes that have benefited from that sytem, it will make a difference.
The OQS rewarded the top three scoring athletes in each division that didn’t win a show in the season. That is only three spots in each division that will be eliminated. However, the 2022 Olympia featured a record 400-plus qualified athletes across the board. Three spots from each division being taken away is 33 total spots (including Wheelchair). That is almost 10 percent of the field if it had been applied to the 2022 lineup.
How This Affects the Contests
Now, let’s look at the athletes that were rewarded from being consistent without winning. It wasn’t as if these competitors got a token visit to the stage and were then marked out of the top 15. Some of them were all-star athletes with track records of success.
For example, the men’s open winner of the OQS was Justin Rodriguez, a competitor that placed as high as eighth at the Mr. Olympia just one year ago. He managed to make it to the Olympia stage and he finished in 15th place. He finished the year as one of the top 15 bodybuilders in the world without winning a show. Had Rodriguez not competed, that spot could’ve went to other high-caliber men such as James Hollingshead, Blessing Awodibu, or Canada’s own Antoine Vaillant. To be clear, Rodriguez proved that he was worthy of being in the top 15 on that stage, so it was certainly deserved. This was just an example.
Another example could be on the women’s side of the stage. Michelle Jin was second in the points and qualified for the Ms. Olympia. She finished 10th, and she beat athletes that qualified without points such as MayLa Ash (11th), Donna Salib (14th), and Leyvina Rodrigues Barros (15th). Mona Poursaleh, who was third in points, finished in 12th.
This development may not appear to be much, but as the 2023 season progresses, it could have a much bigger impact than we realize. It will certainly make the shows more meaningful as well because it not only will give competitors incentives to compete more, but it could lead those already qualified to compete more so they can keep fellow competitors out of the field. The fans are in for a big season of big shows in 2023.