2019 Olympia Weekend Message

For 55 years, bodybuilders and bodybuilding fans from all over the globe have set their sites on bodybuilding’s main event – the “Super Bowl of Bodybuilding” – the Olympia. Any bodybuilder who’s ever cinched up a lifting belt has dreamed of the coveted title Arnold Schwarzenegger made famous in the 1975 documentary, Pumping Iron. Ever since then, the Olympia has grown and grown to not only include women’s events, but also various other men’s tittles, attracting a veritable who’s who of fitness stars and a small fortune in prize money.


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Set in Las Vegas. Nevada, the world’s most prestigious physique titles are on the line, with competitors vying for more than $1.4 million in prize money, eclipsing the previous year, making this year’s event the most lucrative bodybuilding and fitness championship of all time. In addition to the $400,000 first prize for the Mr. Olympia title, the event has increased prize money in several other divisions, including all four Olympia women’s competitions.


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When American Media (AMI) took over the Olympia from the Weider organization many felt the main stream company, without Joe Weider at the helm, would lose sponsorships, expo attractions, prize money and stage production. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. When AMI took over in 2004, the Olympia lineup totaled 63 competitors. This year’s event will include 176 pro competitors. In addition to the $1.4 Million in prizes, each competitor also receives their flights, hotels, a meal allowance, not to mention the chance to compete in the world’s reigning fitness event at the Orleans arena Friday and Saturday nights.


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In addition, more than 65,000 fitness enthusiasts will attend the Olympia Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center over the weekend, where many of the fitness industry’s most innovative brands will be featured, along with product giveaways and celebrity appearances.

To say this event has grown under the auspice of AMI is as gigantic an understatement as some of the competitors. The main events not withstanding, this year we will see a slew of new events, including the OG Pole Fitness Championship, Wheelchair Olympia, a celebration of female bodybuilding presented by Wings of Strength, a Fit Fashion show, Spartan Race, Performix Pro Skateboarding Showdown, along with the return of several martial arts, strength and endurance events taking place throughout the two-day expo.


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On behalf of all of us at Gaspari Nutrition, I want to personally thank AMI and it’s CEO, David Pecker, for building on Joe Weider’s dream and continuing to make this event the biggest and the best in the world. And, of course, as a three-time runner up to the Mr. Olympia title, my message couldn’t possibly be complete without my predictions:
Rich’s predictions:

This year has dealt us few wildcards that could really shake things up. The biggest shakeup is the recent visa obtained by Iranian Hadi Choopan, that allows him into the US to compete. This guy is one of the most impressive bodybuilders I’ve ever seen in my entire career. Just incredible – hard, dense, proportional, there isn’t a weak part on him, and he’s massive. The question is, in what class will he compete, the 212 or the open? If he makes weight, he will destroy the 212 class. No question, with Derek Lunsford and Hide Yamagichi rounding out the top three.


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The open class presents its own unique hand. The title is open without current Mr. Olympia, Shawn Rhoden, competing. The rumor mill has been hard at work online and there is great conjecture that former Mr. Olympia Phil Heath might pull a 1980 Arnold and jump in at the last minute. So far, he’s supposedly not competing, but, with a lifetime qualification, he’s free to jump in and no one will stop him. Brandon Curry could give him a hard time, as could Roelly Winklaar. Winklaar is unpredictable though. If he comes in on the mark it could be a very very tough and exciting battle between Roelly, Brandon and Phil for the top three. Then we have William Bonac, Luke Sandoe and of course, former Mr. Olympia, Dexter Jackson. And, if Hadi Choopan doesn’t make the 212 cut off, they’re going to have him to contend with and I believe he will definitely make the top five, possibly pushing Dexter out of the group. Of course I haven’t seen any of these guys yet in contest shape, so it’s anyone’s guess, but, without Phil and Hadi, my top five is Brando Curry, Roelly Winklaar, William Bonac, Luke Sandoe and Dexter Jackson. With Phil in the contest, I’d put him first, followed by Brandon, Roelly, Bonac and Sandoe. With Phil and Hadi it’s probably going to be Phil, Brandon, Roelly, Bonac and Hadi.

Whatever the case, this going to be one of the most exciting Olympia’s in history! Good luck guys, I’ll be there rooting for all of you!

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