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Who Can Win the Mr. Olympia?

Roger Lockridge

Olympia Coverage Sponsored By BODYPRO Gym

Bodybuilding’s most prestigious title is on the line this coming weekend in Orlando, Florida. The Orange County Convention Center will be the focal point of every bodybuilding fan in attendance and watching at home on pay-per-view. The main event of the weekend is the 57th Mr. Olympia contest. One man looks to defend his title while another hopes to regain the championship he lost. There are also rising stars and seasoned veterans that hope to be the 17th man to call himself Mr. Olympia. The full list of qualified athletes that are scheduled to pose down onstage as of now is below.

  • William Bonac (Netherlands)
  • Hadi Choopan (Iran)
  • Brandon Curry (USA)
  • Nathan De Asha (UK)
  • Mamdouh Elssbiay (Egypt)
  • Regan Grimes (Canada)
  • Phil Heath (USA)
  • James Hollingshead (UK)
  • Hunter Labrada (USA)
  • Patrick Moore (USA)
  • Hassan Mostafa (Egypt)
  • Andrea Presti (Italy)
  • Justin Rodriguez (USA)
  • Mohamed Shaaban (Egypt)
  • Vladyslav Sukhoruchko (Ukraine)
  • Iain Valliere (Canada)
  • Nicholas Walker (USA)
  • Akim Williams (USA)
  • Roelly Winklaar (Curacao)

The Favorites

Every man that is on that list can legitimately call himself one of the best bodybuilders on the planet. However, only one can leave as champion. Out of all 19 men that will compete, these four are considered the favorites to take the win in Orlando.

Mamdouh Elssbiay

“Big Ramy” is the reigning Mr. Olympia, and as such, he must be considered the favorite to retain the title. This isn’t just because of who he is, either. Out of the previous 56 Mr. Olympia contests, the defending champion has only lost the title nine times. That statistic gives the Egyptian giant great odds. However, the title has been held by four different men over the last four years. Phil Heath won his seventh Olympia in 2017, Shawn Rhoden won in 2018, and Brandon Curry held the title in 2019 before Elssbiay beat him last year. So contenders can look at that stat as a recent trend in their favor.

As for Elssbiay himself, if he comes to Orlando as he did in 2020, then winter will stay. According to coaches Dennis James and Chad Nicholls, he will be even better. Only time will tell.

Brandon Curry

Curry is the 15th Mr. Olympia, and he actually showed up to defend his title better than he was when he won it. Unfortunately for him, Elssbiay was his best ever on that weekend. Now Curry finds himself in a difficult position. Jay Cutler is the only man to have regained the title after losing it. Curry now has to do the same, and he faces a lineup of extremely talented bodybuilders. His main weakness has been his legs, and he feels confident that they have improved enough that he can regain his title. Elssbiay being off can certainly help him, but the man from Tennessee shouldn’t be written off as an afterthought. He can be a two-time champion this year.

Nick Walker

This 27 year old Florida man by way of New Jersey has made a lot of noise this year. In his first full year as a pro, he won both the New York Pro and Arnold Classic on his first try. He now has his sights set on doing the same in his Olympia debut. As he showed at the Arnold Classic, conditioning is no problem for him. Also, like Elssbiay, he can hold poses for extended periods of time. That poise and endurance plays in his favor. Here is his challenge - outside of Larry Scott winning the first Mr. Olympia in 1965, no man had won the title in his first attempt. If Walker is going to make this kind of history, he must defeat two champions in their primes. Nonetheless, he and coach Matt Jansen are confident in their abilities to do it.

Hadi Choopan

“The Persian Wolf” is a former People’s Champion and has placed in the top five at the Olympia twice. Fans have been buzzing about how he will look ever since he arrived in the U.S. in the late summer. With travel being no issue this year, and ten months to prepare, we may see the best version of Choopan ever. The question is how he will look against Walker, who he had never faced before, an improved Curry, and a bigger Elssbiay. The good news for the Iranian superstar is that the other men in the lineup are asking themselves the same question.

Canada’s Chances

Iain Valliere

Valliere won both the Tampa Pro and Texas Pro this season, and he finished as the runner-up to Walker in the Arnold Classic. He placed seventh last year, but make no mistake. This is a bigger and better Valliere than the version we saw in 2020. He needs to be tighter in Orlando than he was in Columbus, and he may need the favorites to be off in order for him to move up the placings. If that turns out to happen, Valliere will bump people out of the top five and maybe the top three.

Regan Grimes

Bodybuilding fans haven’t seen Grimes in contest shape in almost a year. That’s because he earned his 2021 qualification for the Olympia in late 2020. That means he has had a lot of time to improve, grow, and prepare. Many experts aren’t talking about him as a contender for the top six, and that may be a gift for Grimes. His shape, symmetry, and time committed to a productive offseason could very well carry him to a high placing in this contest. Can he win the title? That would be a long shot, but he can certainly put himself in a position to contend for the title in the future, which is a long one for this Canadian competitor.

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