Olympia 2021 Men's Finals
Can detail beat size? The comparisons are close, but we might just have a new Olympia champion!
Reigning Mr. Olympia Mamdouh Elssbiay, aka Big Ramy, was, as expected, the biggest fella in the 16-man line-up. Brandon Curry, who won the show two years ago had, as expected, the best shape in the contest. Hadi Choopan, who was the “People's Choice” winner in 2019 on the way to a fourth-place finish was, as expected, the most conditioned.
And it would be to no one's surprise if any one of the trio took home the Sandow trophy, the $400,000 first-place prize money, and the title of 2021 Mr. Olympia.
Big Ramy challengers got their hopes up when the 33-year-old tipped the scale at 303 pounds at Thursday's press conference. OK, he was wearing a suit, so let’s subtract 5 pounds. Still, at near 300 pounds, would he be too heavy to match the conditioning of last season when he swiped the crown from Curry? Would it be enough to give Curry, Choopan, or any other competitor a shot at winning?
True, Big Ramy was not in the shape at Friday night's prejudging that he was a year ago. He was holding water, for sure. But so was everybody else—except Choopan and Nick Walker.
Because Choopan was in such top condition, many people felt the 5-foot-6, 225-pounder from Iran would finally make his way to the top of the class. But the prejudging callouts clearly showed he was in third place at the break.
Big Ramy held a one-point lead over Curry after prejudging but was able to extend the margin to seven points after presenting a tighter package at the finals. As the saying goes, you must knock out the champion to take away his title. Even a larger Curry, who looked terrific, could not provide enough of a punch against his taller, heavier opponent to succeed. Still, it was another $150,000 second-place payday for Curry to take away some of the pain.
In addition to the $100,000 prize money, Choopan got some consolation after placing third. For the second time in three years, he was voted as the winner of the “People's Choice” award. No money for that award, but the support of fans around the world who would have given him the title if they had an official vote was touching.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Hunter Labrada, after finishing eighth last season, moving all the way up into the fourth slot, one place ahead of Nick Walker, the New Jersey muscle freak who won the Arnold Classic two weeks earlier.
It was the first of probably many battles to come between the 29-year-old Labrada and the 27-year-old Walker, who gave the sport two younger standouts with bright futures.
Mr. Olympia Top Five
- Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay
- Brandon Curry
- Hadi Choopan
- Hunter Labrada
- Nick Walker
Men's 212 Finals
The buzz after Friday morning’s prejudging had Derek Lunsford moving past last year’s champion, Shawn Clarida, to capture the first-place trophy—not to mention the $50,000 prize money that comes with it.
The division at first was all about Clarida, Lunsford, and the ageless Kamal Elgarngi—but the callouts at the Friday night Finals took the 48-year-old Elgarngi out of the picture in the fight for first. He still looked great but had to battle Clarida who was just as sublime as last year when he won the crown, not to mention an all-time best Lunsford. Still, not too shabby for a guy 20 years older than Lunsford, and a decade older than Clarida.
A Clarida/Lunsford battle was anticipated by many in the media, and they got their wish. It would be the much smaller—but more detailed—Clarida and the larger, wider Lunsford who faced off in the final showdown. Sporting the best quads and hamstrings in the division, Lunsford's notorious vacuum shot cleaned up the competition. Clarida sported his tiny waist, familiar shredded thighs, detailed chest, and peaked biceps.
It was an apples and oranges comparison, not unlike Brandon Curry against Big Ramy in the main event. At 5-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Clarida had to give away at least four inches and 25 pounds to his main advisory. And when Lunsford showed up tighter than in past defeats, it resulted in a close, but unanimous victory for the former USA champion.
Elgargni finished in third, as expected, with Angel Frias landing in fourth, and Nathan Epler rounding out the top five.
Men's 212 Top Five
- Derek Lunsford
- Shaun Clarida
- Kamal Elgargni
- Angel Frias
- Nathan Epler
No surprise here. The unbeaten Harold "King Kong" Kelley (USA) made it four Wheelchair Olympia wins in a row. Adding to the joy of victory, two former IFBB record holders, Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney (eight consecutive Mr. O titles), were on hand to present Kelley with his gold medal. The always engaging Coleman even took on Kelley's front double biceps challenge with a hearty laugh.
Contest organizer Nick Scott read off the bios of the eight competitors and listed the type of injury each one suffered before they took to the stage to do their routine.
Men's Wheelchair Top Five
- Harold Kelley
- Gabriele Andriulli
- Antoni Khadraoul
- Adelfo Cerame Jr.
- Tyler Brey
Chris Bumstead has what some experts call the "perfect body" for Classic Physique. After all, the two-time Olympia Classic Physique star has height (6-foot-1), muscle (215-220 pounds), a small waist, deep vacuum, nice lines, and good looks to boot.
And the 26-year-old Canadian used those assets to score his third consecutive Olympia victory on Saturday with another unanimous win. Now the question is: can anybody beat him?
Florida's Terrence Ruffin, who bested the Arnold Classic field two weeks earlier, was at his all-time best but could only score second place votes across the board. Las Vegas' Breon Ansley, who won the division twice before losing the crown to Bumstead in 2019, looked as good as ever, if not better, and could not improve on his third-place finish of last season.
Two youngsters with loads of potential, Urs Kalecinski of Germany, and Brazil's Ramon Rocha Queiroz, rounded out the top five with fourth and fifth place honors, respectively.
Bumstead, who earned $50,000 for his triumph, admitted after the contest he was thinking about quitting four weeks ago, citing the pressures of competing, but was able to pull it together by show time. After this weekend's resounding victory, it's unlikely Bumstead will quit anytime soon.
Classic Physique Top Five
- Chris Bumstead
- Terrence Ruffin
- Breon Ansley
- Urs Kalecinski
- Ramon Rocha Querioz
Brandon Hendrickson's physique has been described as flawless by some, and it certainly must have looked that way to the judges this weekend. The 5-foot-8, 185-pounder posed his way to a third consecutive victory, collecting straight ones across the board and $50,000 for his efforts.
The class did supply the biggest surprise of the contest, however, when Erin Banks, a Fresno, California, resident who trains under the watchful eye of former Fresno resident Flex Wheeler, toppled one competitor after another en route to a solid second place finish in his first ever visit to the Olympia stage. A rookie on the pro scene, Banks' debut promises great things to come with his surprising showing. Then again, he did score a victory at the New York Pro, so perhaps his finish should have been expected.
Brazil's Diego Montenegro looked terrific finishing third; Kyron Holden of San Diego was extremely impressive, but dropped one slot from his third-place finish of a year ago. That's how exceptional these athletes are. In another example of the tremendous quality of the field, Raymont Edmonds—who has a first place Olympia trophy on his mantle at home—could only manage a fifth-place finish.
- Brandon Hendrickson
- Erin Banks
- Diego Montenegro
- Kyron Holden
- Raymont Edmonds