Qualifying for the Olympia simply turned a much bigger problem.
Whereas earlier Mr. Olympia winners, together with present titleholder Hadi Choopan and 2019 champion Brandon Curry don’t have to fret, different Olympia hopefuls all of the sudden face a steeper climb to safe a spot in probably the most prestigious bodybuilding present on this planet.
With the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest scheduled for Nov. 3-5, there’s now much more strain on the rivals’ sculpted shoulders to impress the judges with their physiques and posing routines. In a transfer that might have career-altering implications, the Olympia Qualifying System (OQS) will solely grant the highest three finishers within the Mr. Olympia an automated berth within the following 12 months’s contest.
On Oct. 23, 2023, Olympia proprietor Jake Wooden shared an Instagram publish detailing the rationale behind the groundbreaking resolution:
“In recent times, the highest 5 finishers within the Mr. Olympia division have obtained an automated qualification to the next 12 months’s Olympia, however after consulting with the IFBB Professional League we now have determined to make a change.
Beginning with this 12 months’s occasion, solely the highest 3 within the Mr. Olympia will robotically qualify for the next 12 months’s Olympia. We’re making this modification in an effort so as to add some further star energy to the varied regional occasions held worldwide. This variation is being made with the total assist of the IFBB Professional League as all of us share an curiosity in sustaining a system that strengthens occasions in any respect ranges.”
The brand new rule applies not solely to the Males’s Open division, but additionally to the opposite 10 divisions — 212, Males’s Physique, Basic Physique, Wheelchair, Ladies’s Bodybuilding, Ladies’s Physique, Determine, Health, Wellness, and Bikini.
Most significantly, the change will likely be efficient instantly, which ought to make the upcoming present in Orlando, FL that rather more aggressive. Ending among the many high 5 on the sport’s most recognizable contest has all the time been seen a severe achievement. Nonetheless, athletes on this 12 months’s lineup could also be that rather more hungry for the next inserting and extra prone to think about a consequence exterior of the highest three a big disappointment.
After all, that is simply the most recent shift within the Olympia qualification setup. In December 2022, the Worldwide Federation of Bodybuilding and Health (IFBB) determined to cast off the purpose system that gave rivals an opportunity to qualify for the Olympia. Beforehand, the athletes who completed with the three highest level totals over the course of the season robotically punched their ticket to the largest present of the 12 months.
However with the purpose system not in play, that has positioned much more emphasis on performing properly when it issues most. With the qualification interval operating from Nov. 21, 2022 till Oct. 9, 2023, right here’s the trail athletes from all divisions (besides Wheelchair Bodybuilding) confronted to earn a spot on this 12 months’s Mr. Olympia present:
- High 5 from the Males’s Open 2022 Mr. Olympia
- High three from different 2022 Olympia divisions
- Winner of every Open contest held in the course of the qualification interval
That benefitted somebody like Samson Dauda, who fell simply wanting a top-five end on the 2022 Olympia with a sixth place end in his Olympia debut. Nonetheless, by taking house the title on the 2023 Arnold Classic, “The Nigerian Lion” earned a $300,000 prize and a spot within the 2023 Mr. Olympia Males’s Open lineup.
Transferring ahead, it is going to be fascinating to see how the rule change impacts the aggressive panorama. Lowering the variety of automated bids from 5 to a few undoubtedly ramps up the significance of the opposite qualifying exhibits on the schedule.
With two fewer spots up for grabs on the Olympia, some athletes might must shift their priorities and assault their coaching extra aggressively to come back out on high in different key contests.
Dauda did precisely that by getting in prime form for the Arnold Basic and capturing high honors for his efforts. Ditto for Justin Shier, who made probably the most of his IFBB Professional present debut in July by successful the 2023 Chicago Pro and securing his personal spot within the Males’s Open lineup for the 2023 Olympia.
Most just lately, Charles Griffen achieved his objective of getting an opportunity to compete in opposition to the most effective of the most effective on the Orange County Conference Middle. Regardless of struggling a torn pec again in April, the decided bodybuilder accomplished his comeback in championship trend by successful the title on the 2023 Legion Sports Fest Pro on Oct. 8, 2023. Griffen might face an uphill battle to complete excessive amongst a crowded group of achieved rivals, however he definitely deserves credit score for grabbing the ultimate qualifying spot.
Finally, permitting solely the highest three finishers on the Olympia to qualify for the next 12 months’s contest could possibly be considered as each a constructive and a unfavourable. On one hand, it raises the stakes considerably when everybody steps on stage for probably the most anticipated present of the 12 months. Alternatively, it might depart just a few rivals on the skin wanting in in the event that they don’t emerge victorious at one of many qualifying contests on the calendar for 2024.
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