There’s far too much info to deliver to you regarding the 2022 Olympia in these pages. However, we can fill you in as much as possible and in the easiest way possible, which is why we chose this format—the ABC’s of the 2022 Joe Weider Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, presented by Wings of Strength and Trifecta.
A is for Arnold
Arnold Schwarzenegger won six straight Mr. Olympias from 1970- 75. He then came out of retirement to win his seventh in 1980. He is arguably the most famous champion in history.
B is for Bench Press
The bench press was the go-to for 1976 O winner Franco Columbu, who was also a renowned powerlifter: “If I did no other exercise for chest, I would always do the bench press. Nothing is better for chest thickness.”
C is for Controversy
Controversies and the judging of a subjective sport, especially its zenith event, can be a fertile ground for controversial decisions. And the Olympia is the most fertile of such fertile grounds. A few of the big head-scratchers over the years have been:
- 1980 MR. OLYMPIA. After five years of retirement, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sudden, unannounced appearance at the Sydney Opera house—bringing much less muscularity and definition than usual—was a shock to many. Amid the thunderous boos after announcing him as the winner, Chris Dickerson jumped off the stage screaming, “I can’t believe it!”; Frank Zane threw his trophy against the wall backstage; and Mike Mentzer, the only Mr. Universe to this day to ever score a perfect 300, walked away and never competed again.
- 1991 MS. OLYMPIA: Filmed live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Bev Francis was leading Lenda Murray going into the evening finals. A big scoreboard showed the current placings for all to see. Somehow, by the end of the evening, a somewhat smaller and less-defined Lenda Murray was announced the winner. The ensuing eruption in the audience was led by Bev’s husband, Steve Weinberger, standing on his feet and screaming at the judges. Weinberger would later go on to become the IFBB’s top judge. Other less dramatic, however no less controversial decisions include:
- 2002 MR. O: Ronnie wins his fourth straight Olympia over a phenomenal—some say best of his career—Jay Cutler.
- 2007: It was Cutler’s turn, this time as reigning O champion, to be the guy who shouldn’t have won over a supremely conditioned Victor Martinez. 2014: This was supposed to be Kai Greene’s turn to finally make the then-four-time Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath his bridesmaid. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t see it that way.
D is for Dimensions
While Arnold and Sergio Oliva were definitely big guys, they were the exception, not the rule. Once Dorian Yates crossed the 250-pound line, the mass race was on. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler eventually brought even more mass, competing in the 270- to 290-pound range. Then came Big Ramy, all 300-plus pounds of him. This year, he’s even bigger! The women too have brought more and more size to the game in not only bodybuilding, but also figure and women’s physique. Even the bikini girls have more muscle now than when the division started. Everyone is growing!
E is for Expo
The Olympia Expo features vendors and activities for all genders, ages, and fitness levels. The expo is also where prejudging takes place.
F is for First Callout
Initial comparison series of prejudging. It almost always consists of the presumptive top finishers. The first callout is important, but you want to make sure you’re in the last callout as well.
G is for Grainy
This is when the skin looks very dry and you can almost see the individual muscle fibers underneath. If a bodybuilder is grainy, then expect him to have a very high placing. Examples of legends that were grainy were six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates and 2009 Mr. Olympia runner-up Branch Warren.
H is for Hollywood
In this case, we mean Planet Hollywood. In years’ past, the Olympia was held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, but the 2022 edition will be right on the famous Vegas strip at Planet Hollywood. The biggest stars in bodybuilding will be showcased on one of the biggest stages in Sin City.
I is for IFBB Pro League
The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness is the governing body that sanctions all the Olympia competitions. Amateurs compete in the NPC (National Physique Committee) to earn an IFBB Pro League pro card. From there, it’s about competing in Olympia qualifying events in hopes of reaching the biggest stage in the industry: Olympia Weekend.
J is for Joe Weider
The namesake of Olympia Weekend, the late, great Joe Weider is affectionally known as the Father of Bodybuilding. Weider was a publisher, entrepreneur, bodybuilder, and strength and fitness enthusiast before his passing at 93 years of age.
K is for Kinesiology
Bodybuilding may be about posing, but the movement and transition from pose to pose is critical to showcase all aspects of a competitor’s physique. Fitness athletes will also be performing very challenging routines that are sure to entertain the crowd. It isn’t just about muscle, it’s about movement as well.
L is for Legends
As in legendary competitors throughout Olympia Weekend, including Mr. O winners Arnold Schwarzenegger Ronnie Coleman, who has eight Sandow trophies; 10-time Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle; and eight-time Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia. There are several more who will be walking the aisles and watching the champions of today from the audience.
M is for Mr. and Ms. Olympia.
The first Mr. Olympia competition took place in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965. Ms. Olympia saw its triumphant return in 2020 after going on hiatus in 2014.
N is for Nicknames
Some of the best nicknames for Mr. O winners include: Arnold “The Oak” Schwarzenegger, Dorian “the Shadow” Yates, Phil “The Gift” Heath, Frank “The Chemist” Zane, Ronnie “The King” Coleman.
O is for One Man Show
The 1968 and 1971 Mr. Olympia competitions featured only one contestant—Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively. Uh, they won.
P is for Posedown
It’s the period when the top competitors pose with one another in an unscored, free-for-all format.
Q is for Qualify
To become eligible to compete in the Olympia. IFBB professionals must travel one of these routes:
- Finish in the top four of the previous Olympia, top three of that year’s Arnold Classic/International or top two of the New York Pro.
- Win an IFBB pro contest after the previous Olympia.
- Accumulate enough points by placing high in IFBB pro contests. The top-five highest point scores each season qualify for the O
R is for Routines
Because what’s the point of having all that muscle if you can’t show it off? The posing routine has become the signature by which each competitor signs his presentation. No two are alike and some are way better than others. While the stage has been privy to some excellent posers over the years, there are some, such as six-time masters Mr Olympia Vince Taylor, four-time Ms. Fitness Olympia Oksana Grishina, and the almighty king of posing, Kai Greene, that are a show all unto themselves.
S is for Symmetry
Bringing a symmetrical physique—balanced and proportionate—has helped past Mr. O winners Frank Zane, Samir Bannout, and three-time Classic Physique O winner Chris Bumstead stand out among other legends of the stage.
T is for Tanning
The Olympia competitors will all need to make sure their tanning is right so they look their best under the lights and in front of the judges. That’s why you will see (and likely smell) a lot of tanning oil on the athletes prior to them taking the stage. This helps them look their best to show off the work they spent weeks putting in.
U is for Upper Back
A common phrase in the sport is that shows are won from the back. If the upper back is wide and thick with a lot of separation between the muscles, then it will be seen when the judges call for the back-double biceps pose. The confident competitors will hit this pose quickly when it’s called.
V is for Venetian
The official hotel of the 2022 Olympia is the Venetian Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, NV. The Expo will be held there as well, and this one is expected to be the biggest and best yet. Book your room, then go grab some swag and samples.
W is for the Wellness Division
This new division debuted in Orlando in 2021, and it will be a part of the main stage festivities in 2022. Francielle Mattos is the defending champion going into this year’s competition.
X is for X-Frame
Whether you’re male or female, competing for size or shape, having wide shoulders and lats that lead down to a small waist, followed by thick and defined legs make up the X-Frame. If the athlete’s physique is described with this term, it’s a good thing.
Y is for YouTube
Go subscribe to Olympia TV on YouTube so you can catch up on all the news and developments leading up to the big weekend in Las Vegas. You will then be able to keep up with what happens after the Olympia leading into 2023.
Z is for Zappos Theater
The place where all the action will go down on the weekend of Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be the first time that the Olympia has been in Vegas since 2019, and you won’t want to miss a second of the excitement this year. Go to mrolympia.com for more information.