Here is a breakdown and predictions for the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Olympia.
The Super Bowl of bodybuilding, 2022 Olympia, takes place this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Although there are 11 different divisions, one is the biggest and home of bodybuilding legends, such as Ronnie Coleman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This division is the Men’s Open, and the winner can claim the title of Mr. Olympia.
The Men’s Open is the main event at 2022 Olympia and will take two nights to cover, with the prejudging starting on Friday, December 16, 2022, followed by the finals on Saturday, December 17, 2022. This will be the 58th Mr. Olympia competition, and its turnout will be competitive.
Fortunately for the qualifying competitors, some competitive contenders won’t be competing. For example, Shaun Clarida qualified for the Men’s Open and 212 divisions. But the 2020 Men’s 212 champ has opted to try and regain the Men’s 212 titles. Moreover, Nathan De Asha is missing due to a biceps injury. Regan Grimes decided not to compete, and Steve Kuclo is out to focus on starting a family. Also, Hassan Mostafa pulled himself out for health reasons. Nevertheless, there’s still a plethora of standout competitors with a lot of hype following.
Of course, the stakes are significant, and athletes have engaged in trash talk and showcased their intense workouts. As the two-time defending champion, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is a heavy favorite going into the show. But we can’t count out the back-to-back runner-up and 2019 Mr. Olympia, Brandon Curry.
In addition, this year has one of the most extensive lists of qualifying competitors set to battle for the Mr. Olympia title. Below you’ll find the 31-man roster of bodybuilders competing (in alphabetical order), along with a breakdown and predictions of some of the top contenders.
2022 Mr. Olympia (Men’s Open) Competitors
- Behrooz Tabani Abarghani
- Mohammad Alnsoor
- Blessing Awodibu
- Vitor Boff
- William Bonac
- Rafael Brandao
- Tonio Burton
- Hadi Choopman
- Brandon Curry
- Samson Dauda
- Mamdouh Elssbiay (“Big Ramy”)
- Angel Calderon Frias
- Charles Griffen
- James Hollingshead
- Patrick Johnson
- Michal “Krizo” Krizanek
- Hunter Labrada
- Theo Leguerrier
- Derek Lunsford
- Adrea Muzi
- Chinedu Andrew Obiekea (“Andrew Jacked”)
- Leandro Peres
- Andrea Presti
- Justin Rodriguez
- Mohamed Shaaban
- Vladyslav Sukhoruchko
- Joel Thomas
- Antoine Valliant
- Iain Valliere
- Nick Walker
- Akim Williams
Competitors to Lookout For
Although any competitor from the list of athletes have a chance to be crowned Mr. Olympia, some athletes are favored over others.
Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
Mamdouh Elssbiay is the two-time defending champ. So, fans and experts put him at the top as one of the athletes with the highest chance of winning. He’s in a position to be one of nine to win three titles.
Of course, the former champ, Brandon Curry, is another top contender you can’t count out. Curry won in 2019 and has been the runner-up for the last two years. Furthermore, he’s coming off a high after winning the 2022 Arnold Classic. If he regains the title, he will go down as only the second man to do this after Jay Cutler’s comeback victory in 2009. In addition, Brandon Curry would also be the only bodybuilder to win the Arnold Classic and Olympia in the same year.
The 2021 third-place finisher Hadi Choopman is another prize competitor. He’s been in the works training with coach Hany Rambod, and Choopman has been selected for the People’s Choice award twice. If Hadi Choopman can bring in more mass, he’ll give “Big Ramy” and Brandon Curry a run for their money.
If you’ve seen some training footage of Hunter Labrada, it’s hard not to put him amongst the elite Mr. Olympia competitors. Labrada thinks he has what it takes to place in the top five and match up well against “Big Ramy.” Considering he placed fourth at the 2021 Olympia, there’s no reason why he can’t repeat history and possibly get a better placement. In addition, Labrada believes his conditioning has improved.
The 2021 Arnold Classic champ Nick Walker is another fan-favorite Mr. Olympia competitor. Last year was “The Mutant’s” debut, and he put his name on the board with a superb fifth-place finish. A bodybuilding coach who worked with Ronnie Coleman, known as “The Diet Doc,” Chad Nicholls, pegs Nick Walker as one of the two (and William Bonac) competitors that could bring down “Big Ramy” if they bring something different.
Ghanaian-Dutch IFBB Pro 8x Olympia contender and 2019 Mr. Olympia runner-up William Bonac is another athlete to look out for. He was the 2020 Arnold Classic champ and 2022 Arnold Classic runner-up behind Curry both times. Recently, Bonac shared a workout update and underwent a rigorous leg workout, showing a testimony to his commitment this year.
Dark Horse Mr. Olympia Competitors
All the athletes mentioned above have ample experience. But that doesn’t give them a handout to the top spot. They’ll need to be wary of some up-and-coming athletes if they want to win it all.
Michal “Krizo” Krizanek
Michal “Krizo” is a rising IFBB Pro star and is making his Olympia debut at the 2022 Olympia. He jumped from an NPC competitor to qualify for the Olympia in a matter of months, which is why he’s garnered much attention from bodybuilding fans on social media.
Chinedu Andrew Obiekea “Andrew Jacked”
“Andrew Jacked” is another up-and-coming IFBB Pro. He claims that he can take on “Big Ramy” by 2023.
The 2021 Men’s 212 champion Derek Lunsford, is entering the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Olympia after receiving a special invitation to compete. But, of course, moving from the Men’s 212 to the Men’s Open division is a different ballgame. But Lunsford is still an Olympia champ, so you can’t count him out.
Bodybuilding legend Dexter Jackson speaks highly of Samson Dauda. Samson Dauda is also making his Olympia debut. And at one point, he weighed 330 pounds and maintained a reasonably aesthetic appearance. So it’ll be interesting to see what’s under the hood after cutting.
There are a lot of talented Men’s Open bodybuilders competing this year. It comprises a mix of former champs, including the reigning two-time back-to-back winner “Big Ramy,” runner-ups, and up-and-comers, all with the potential to become 2022 Mr. Olympia. So who do you think will win?