Mr. Olympia

Last updated
Mr. Olympia
EM DSC 2234 (2893784217).jpg
The Mr. Olympia stage in 2008
Location United States

Mr. Olympia is the title awarded to the winner of the professional men's bodybuilding contest at Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend—an international bodybuilding competition that is held annually by the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB). [1] Joe Weider created the contest to enable the Mr. Universe winners to continue competing and to earn money. The first Mr. Olympia was held on September 18, 1965, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, with Larry Scott winning his first of two straight titles. [2]

Contents

The record number of wins is eight each by Lee Haney (1984–1991) and Ronnie Coleman (1998–2005). [3] Big Ramy currently holds the title.

The film Pumping Iron (1977) featured the buildup to the 1975 Mr. Olympia in Pretoria, South Africa, and helped launch the acting careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and Franco Columbu [4]

There is also a female bodybuilder crowned, Ms. Olympia, as well as winners of Fitness Olympia and Figure Olympia for fitness and figure competitors. All four contests occur during the same weekend. From 1994 to 2003, and again in 2012, a Masters Olympia was also crowned. [5] Globally, [6] a version with amateur competitors is also presented, the Mr. Olympia Amateur. [7]

History

1960s

The 1965 and 1966 Mr. Olympia were won by Larry Scott, a famous bodybuilder of the time. Scott subsequently retired after his 1966 victory, and to date is the only Mr. Olympia champion to have never lost a Mr. Olympia competition. [8]

Harold Poole holds two Mr. Olympia distinctions : one is that he is the youngest ever competitor to have participated in the Olympia—in 1965 he competed in the first Mr. Olympia at the age of 21; [9] the other is that he was the only man to compete in all three of the initial Mr. Olympia contests. [10]

Arnold Schwarzenegger Arnold Schwarzenegger 1974.jpg
Arnold Schwarzenegger

The 1967 Mr. Olympia, won by Sergio Oliva, heralded a new era in bodybuilding competition. At 5 ft 10 ins and 240 lbs [11] Oliva, nicknamed "The Myth", [8] displayed an unforeseen level of muscle mass and definition, including a "V" shape of a large and a well-formed upper-body that tapered down to a narrow waist. [12]

Oliva would go on to win the Mr. Olympia competition in 1967, 1968 (uncontested), [8] and 1969—where he would defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger four to three, [8] marking Schwarzenegger's only loss in a Mr. Olympia competition. [13]

1970s

Schwarzenegger defeated Oliva at the 1970 Mr. Olympia after finishing second the year before, and also won in 1971 (being the only competitor). He defeated Oliva again in 1972, and went on to win the next three Mr. Olympia competitions, including the 1975 edition, which was highlighted in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron and featured other notable bodybuilders such as Lou Ferrigno, Serge Nubret, and Franco Columbu, who would go on to win the 1976 and 1981 competitions. [4]

From 1974 until 1979, a dual weight division system was used, splitting competitors into two categories: "Heavyweights" (over 200lbs) and "Lightweights" (under 200lbs). The winners of each division would then compete against each other to decide an overall champion.

After winning the 1975 competition, Schwarzenegger announced his retirement from competitive bodybuilding; this was also depicted in Pumping Iron. [14]

Frank Zane won the 1977, 1978, and 1979 competitions. [8] 1976 was the first year the Sandow trophy was awarded. [8]

1980s

In 1980, Schwarzenegger came out of retirement to win the Olympia yet again, after a five-year hiatus. Schwarzenegger (who was supposedly training for his "Conan" movie) had been a late entry into the competition, and his competitors did not know of his intentions to compete. This seventh victory was especially controversial, as most fellow competitors and observers felt that he lacked both muscle mass and conditioning, and shouldn't have won over Chris Dickerson or Mike Mentzer. Several athletes vowed to boycott the contest the following year, and Mentzer retired for good. [15]

The following year, Franco Columbu was victorious for the second time. Chris Dickerson won his only title in 1982, making him the first openly gay Mr. Olympia, [2] and Samir Bannout won his only title in 1983. [16] Then in 1984 Lee Haney won the first of 8 straight Mr. Olympia titles. [17]

1990s

Haney retired from competitive bodybuilding after his last Mr. Olympia victory in 1991. [18] Having placed second to Haney the previous year, Dorian Yates won the competition six straight times from 1992 until 1997. Dorian is given credit for revolutionizing the sport during his reign as Mr. Olympia by combining larger mass than seen before with what was dubbed "granite hardness". [19]

In the 1990s, the use of growth hormones by bodybuilders was reported, and they started to appear in competitions with an increasing physical size. Writing for Men's Health in 2016, journalist Lou Schuler questioned whether Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman competed "naturally" or used hormones. [20]

Yates retired from competitive bodybuilding after his 1997 victory, having accumulated several injuries. Ronnie Coleman, who placed 9th in 1997, surprised everyone with a much improved physique in 1998, winning the first of 8 consecutive titles. [8]

In 1994, a separate Masters Olympia competition for professional bodybuilders was created, to compete at the highest levels in their later years. [21]

2000s

Ronnie Coleman Ronnie Coleman 8 x Mr Olympia - 2009 - 5.png
Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia competition eight consecutive times, [8] tying the record set by Lee Haney. Coleman, nicknamed "The King", is widely regarded as the greatest bodybuilder in Olympia history and began the mass monster era. Coleman returned in 2006 to try to beat the record for Olympia wins but was unable even to defend his title, instead placed second to Jay Cutler, who won his first title after four consecutive years of finishing second to Coleman. Cutler successfully defended his title in 2007. Coleman came in fourth place and announced his retirement from competition, [22] ending one of the biggest rivalries in the competition's history.

In 2008, Dexter Jackson defeated Jay Cutler and became Mr. Olympia. [8] In 2009, Jay Cutler returned and regained the title. [23]

2010s

In 2010, Cutler returned to claim his fourth Mr. Olympia title, becoming the fifth competitor in Olympia history to win the title more than three times. In 2011, Phil Heath defeated Cutler for the title, beginning a winning streak that lasted until 2018. [8] From 2012 to 2014, the Olympia was dominated by the rivalry between Kai Greene and Heath, with Heath winning all three and Greene placing second.

Starting in 2016, a new division called Classic Physique was introduced. Danny Hester was the inaugural champion in Classic Physique division. [24]

Heath won his seventh-consecutive Mr. Olympia in 2017, [8] with Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay taking second. With his 2017 win, Heath tied Arnold Schwarzenegger for second most Olympia victories, behind Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman who won eight. [8]

Shawn Rhoden defeated Phil Heath in 2018, snapping Heath's streak of seven victories. [8] The 2019 Mr. Olympia was won by Brandon Curry. [8]

Starting in 2018, a new division called Wheelchair Olympia was added. [25]

2020s

In 2020 Phil Heath returned to try to win a record-tying eighth title, [26] but Big Ramy won the Olympia for his first title. [27] Big Ramy won for the second time in 2021. [28]

Qualifying

The IFBB selects Olympia contestants from among the highest-placed competitors at various qualifying competitions, collectively referred to as the Olympia Qualifying Season. The qualifying season for each Olympia runs for a year, and ends a few months before the competition. Under updated qualifying rules announced by the IFBB in 2019, to qualify for most divisions at the Olympia an IFBB athlete must meet one of the following criteria: [29]

For certain divisions with more than 25 qualifying competitions, slightly different rules are used: The previous Olympia winner is automatically qualified, plus the winner of each qualifying competition and the top five in total points.

The IFBB Professional League also has the discretion to extend special invitations to other competitors.

Winners

Chronologically

#YearWinner(s) [lower-alpha 1] Award [30] Venue
1 1965 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Scott [31] $1,000 Flag of the United States.svg New York, United States
2 1966
3 1967 Flag of Cuba.svg Sergio Oliva [32]
4 1968
5 1969
6 1970 Flag of Austria.svg Arnold Schwarzenegger [32]
7 1971 Flag of France.svg Paris, France
8 1972 Flag of Germany.svg Essen, West Germany
9 1973 Flag of the United States.svg New York, United States
10 1974
 
Flag of Austria.svg Arnold Schwarzenegger [32]
(Heavyweight & Overall)
Flag of Italy.svg Franco Columbu
(Lightweight)
11 1975
 
$2,500 Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg Pretoria, South Africa
12 1976
 
Flag of Italy.svg Franco Columbu [32]
(Lightweight & Overall)
Flag of the United States.svg Ken Waller
(Heavyweight)
$5,000 Flag of the United States.svg Columbus, United States
13 1977
 
Flag of the United States.svg Frank Zane [32]
(Lightweight & Overall)
Flag of the United States.svg Robby Robinson
(Heavyweight)
14 1978
 
$15,000
15 1979
 
Flag of the United States.svg Mike Mentzer
(Heavyweight)
$25,000
16 1980 Flag of Austria.svg Arnold Schwarzenegger [32] Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sydney, Australia
17 1981 Flag of Italy.svg Franco Columbu [32] Flag of the United States.svg Columbus, United States
18 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Dickerson [32] Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, United Kingdom
19 1983 Flag of Lebanon.svg Samir Bannout [32] Flag of Germany.svg Munich, West Germany
20 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Lee Haney [32] $50,000 Flag of the United States.svg New York, United States
21 1985 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Brussels, Belgium
22 1986 $55,000 Flag of the United States.svg Columbus, United States
23 1987 Flag of Sweden.svg Gothenburg, Sweden
24 1988 Unknown Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles, United States
25 1989 Flag of Italy.svg Rimini, Italy
26 1990 $100,000 Flag of the United States.svg Chicago, United States
27 1991 Flag of the United States.svg Orlando, United States
28 1992 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Dorian Yates [32] Flag of Finland.svg Helsinki, Finland
29 1993 Flag of the United States.svg Atlanta, United States
30 1994
31 1995 $110,000
32 1996 Flag of the United States.svg Chicago, United States
33 1997 Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles, United States
34 1998 Flag of the United States.svg Ronnie Coleman [32] Flag of the United States.svg New York, United States
35 1999 Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas, United States
36 2000
37 2001
38 2002
39 2003
40 2004 $120,000
41 2005 $150,000
42 2006 Flag of the United States.svg Jay Cutler [32] $155,000
43 2007
44 2008 Flag of the United States.svg Dexter Jackson [32]
45 2009 Flag of the United States.svg Jay Cutler [32] $200,000
46 2010
47 2011 Flag of the United States.svg Phil Heath [32]
48 2012 $250,000
49 2013
50 2014 $275,000
51 2015 $400,000
52 2016
53 2017
54 2018 Flag of the United States.svg Shawn Rhoden [33]
55 2019 Flag of the United States.svg Brandon Curry [34]
56 2020 Flag of Egypt.svg Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay [35] Flag of the United States.svg Orlando, United States
57 2021
  1. Competition was split into two weight classes from 1974 through 1979, with one division winner then named the Overall champion.

Number of overall wins

RankMr. Olympia championYear(s)Number of wins
OverallHeavyweightLightweight
1 Flag of the United States.svg Lee Haney 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991800
Flag of the United States.svg Ronnie Coleman 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005800
2 Flag of Austria.svg Arnold Schwarzenegger 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 (overall & heavyweight), 1975 (overall & heavyweight), and 1980720
Flag of the United States.svg Phil Heath 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017700
3 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Dorian Yates 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997600
4 Flag of the United States.svg Jay Cutler 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010400
5 Flag of the United States.svg Frank Zane 1977 (overall & lightweight), 1978 (overall & lightweight), 1979 (overall & lightweight)303
Flag of Cuba.svg Sergio Oliva 1967, 1968, and 1969300
6 Flag of Italy.svg Franco Columbu 1974 (lightweight), 1975 (lightweight), 1976 (overall & lightweight), and 1981203
Flag of Egypt.svg Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay 2020 and 2021200
Flag of the United States.svg Larry Scott 1965 and 1966200
7 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Dickerson 1982100
Flag of Lebanon.svg Samir Bannout 1983100
Flag of the United States.svg Dexter Jackson 2008100
Flag of the United States.svg Shawn Rhoden 2018100
Flag of the United States.svg Brandon Curry 2019100
8 Flag of the United States.svg Robby Robinson 1977 (heavyweight) and 1978 (heavyweight)020
Flag of the United States.svg Kenny Waller 1976 (heavyweight)010
Flag of the United States.svg Mike Mentzer 1979 (heavyweight)010

Number of consecutive wins

RankMr. Olympia championYearsNumber of consecutive wins
OverallHeavyweightLightweight
1 Flag of the United States.svg Lee Haney 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991800
Flag of the United States.svg Ronnie Coleman 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005800
2 Flag of the United States.svg Phil Heath 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017700
3 Flag of Austria.svg Arnold Schwarzenegger 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975620
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Dorian Yates 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997600
4 Flag of the United States.svg Frank Zane 1977, 1978 and 1979303
Flag of Cuba.svg Sergio Oliva 1967, 1968 and 1969300
5 Flag of the United States.svg Jay Cutler 2006 and 2007, 2009 and 20102 (twice)00
6 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Scott 1965 and 1966200
Flag of Egypt.svg Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay 2020 and 2021200

Classic Physique

#YearWinnerVenue
12017 Flag of the United States.svg Breon Ansley [36] [37] Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas, United States [38]
22018
32019 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Chris Bumstead [39] [40]
42020 Flag of the United States.svg Orlando, United States [38]
52021

Men's 212 division

#YearWinnerVenue
12012 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Flex Lewis Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas, United States [38]
22013
32014
42015
52016
62017
72018
82019 Flag of Libya.svg Kamal Elgargni
92020 Flag of the United States.svg Shaun Clarida Flag of the United States.svg Orlando, United States [38]
102021 Flag of the United States.svg Derek Lunsford

Men's Physique

#YearWinnerVenue
12013 Flag of the United States.svg Mark Anthony Wingson Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas, United States [41]
22014 Flag of the United States.svg Jeremy Buendia [41]
32015
42016
52017
62018 Flag of the United States.svg Brandon Hendrickson [41]
72019 Flag of the United States.svg Raymont Edmonds [41]
82020 Flag of the United States.svg Brandon Hendrickson Flag of the United States.svg Orlando, United States [41]
92021

Mr. Olympia Amateur

Mr. Olympia Amateur is a competition that globally awards the best amateur competitors with an IFBB Pro Card, [42] bringing them closer to competing in the main Mr. Olympia. [7] According to the official website as of March 2022, the event is presented in regions with a specific organization around the world: Pakistan, Eastern Europe, Beijing (China), Spain, Portugal, Brazil, South Korea, Italy, Japan, South America, India, Las Vegas (USA). [6]

See also

Further reading

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