Central Florida in November should be a raucous party.
Every year, the best bodybuilders in the world prepare with one central goal: to win the legendary Mr. Olympic contest. Sure, there are other tentpole events like the annual (and now rather lucrative) Arnold Classic. Still, arguably nothing holds as much prestige for the world’s ripped fitness elite as competing during an iconic Olympia show. It is the biggest stage in bodybuilding for a good reason. With the 2023 professional competitive season already well off and rolling, the athletes can now prepare and train for potentially the most significant moment of their respective careers with a definite date and location in their sights.
The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League has revealed that the 2023 Olympia would officially take place on Nov. 3-5, 2023, in Orlando, FL. The schedule note was illuminated in a recent release of the 2023 contest calendar on the IFBB website. It is unclear precisely when the full schedule was disclosed. As has recently been the standard, the 11 primary divisions of bodybuilding will be featured during the contest. Mr. Olympia category serves as the event’s headline, and Iranian athlete Hadi Choopan is the reigning champion after capturing his first career Mr. Olympic title in 2022.
With the Olympia contest formally returning to Orlando, the competition will now have been in Central Florida for three of the last four years. The 2022 edition in Las Vegas, NV, served as the lone exception during that span. For decades, the contest had almost always been in “Sin City,” but the extreme, unprecedented circumstances of the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic led the IFBB to move the Olympia to Orlando in 2020 in accordance with safety regulations. Before he fell short of a three-peat with a disappointing fifth-place result in 2022, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay captured the first of his two career Olympia titles during that initial Florida competition. Elssbiay successfully defended his title in the Orlando-based 2021 Olympia contest.
In the interest of looking ahead and preparing athletes for a new reality, the IFBB announced changes to its qualification system for the 2023 Olympia in early January 2023. A points system that opened the door for athletes who hadn’t won a contest in that calendar year will no longer be viable. Any competitor who wishes to earn a spot on the Orlando, FL, stage this early November must either win a 2023 IFBB Pro League contest, have won any Olympia in the past, or have finished in the top five of their category during the 2022 Olympia contest.
Notable athletes to whom some of these distinctions apply in the Men’s Open division include Choopan, Elssbiay, 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Currythird-place 2022 Olympia competitor Nick Walker, and 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford.
The 2022 Olympia served up its fair share of unexpected surprises and success stories. Knowing how meticulous and dedicated to their craft all of these top athletes are, the 2023 edition should be no different.
Featured image: @hadi_choopan on Instagram