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Icon World Classic (Athleticon) Invite Requirements Too Strict?

by Matt Weik

Ever since the Icon World Classic (Athleticon) was announced, many have been wondering how they can quality or enter the competition which will be held in Atlanta, GA in October 2020. Would it be open to anyone and everyone with an IFBB pro card? Or must you meet certain criteria in order to compete at the inaugural Icon World Classic? Well, we don’t need to wait any longer.

The IFBB has announced the guidelines for receiving an invitation and I must say, I’m quite shocked – and not exactly in a good way. As in… I’m confused.

Icon World Classic – Let the Games Begin!

If you’ve followed my content over the last few months, you’d know I have been doing a lot of talking about the Icon World Classic (what everyone is calling Athleticon). I’ve gone back and forth on my thoughts with the show and if it could be bigger than the Olympia (which I don’t think it will be), but also who would be showing up at the Icon World Classic to compete. More specifically, would Phil Heath make the Icon World Classic his “comeback” show?

On February 27, 2020, the IFBB Pro League released the details on their Instagram account. The release was from Robin Chang and said:

With the recent announcement of Athleticon, we’ve had overwhelming requests about the inaugural ICON World Classic.

This event is an invitational with each division being limited to 12 athletes.

To be considered to receive an invitation, an IFBB Pro will have to meet one of the following requirements:

– A current or past Olympia champion
– Win an IFBB Pro event between June 2019 to August 2020
– Placed in the top 5 at the 2019 Olympia
– Place in the top 3 at the 2020 Arnold USA

A Little Strict, Don’t Ya Think?

Who am I? A nobody. I have no affiliation with the IFBB, I’m simply a bodybuilding fan giving my thoughts and opinions. You may agree. You may disagree. Both are a-okay in my book. But here’s where my head is regarding the requirements for the Icon World Classic.

We already have one Olympia, why do we need to be so strict with the Icon World Classic? More competitors are stepping on the Olympia stage than there are the Icon World Classic (the 2019 Olympia had 16 men’s open bodybuilders). Why so limited? I don’t understand. In fact, let’s do our own digging into the notion that only 12 athletes can compete per division.

From the requirements above, look at the numbers of those who can compete… Phil Heath, Shawn Rhoden (assuming his legal matters are done by then), Dexter Jackson (if he decides not to retire following the Olympia and wants to give the Icon World Classic a shot), Brandon Curry, William Bonac, Hadi Choopan, and Roelly Winklaar.

Now, those people who I just mentioned are either previous Olympia winners or those who placed top five at the 2019 Olympia. A count of heads gives us seven. Figure Big Ramy will end up in the lineup makes eight. That leaves us with four competitors with the ability to make it to the Icon World Classic. If someone not mentioned already sneaks into the top three at the Arnold this year, that’s even less of a chance for others to get in. Not to mention that if you win or have won a show from June 2019 through August 2020 you “qualify.”

Are we not already tapped out on those who get an invitation and we still have six months’ worth of shows where competitors can qualify? Am I the only person confused here?

Cedric will probably win something this year, Patrick Moore will probably win something this year… so again, we’re tapped out on invites. And what if Kai jumps into a show just to qualify? Ok ok… Who am I kidding? We’ll never see Kai again. All he does it tease us with the hint of a comeback and then never shows up in his posing trunks.

It’s Still Going to Be an Incredible Show

I don’t want it to come off that I’m not excited about the Icon World Classic. I mean, the best of the best is going to be there and the fact that the top bodybuilders will all be on the same stage again this year is absolutely something to be excited for. In my opinion, the lineup is going to be like Olympia 2.0 – which most should be pumped about.

Add in the fact that it has an Arnold Sports Festival vibe going makes this show extremely opportunistic to brands who want to get out to the masses and not be so narrow in reach by only targeting the bodybuilding community with their supplement booth. This will make for a great experience for those who visit the expo and who want to try some great products and samples.

When it comes down to it, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again in this piece of content – the Icon World Classic (Athleticon) is going to be a huge success. With The Rock and Danny behind the show, it’s safe to say they’re going to make this big. And they better since their names are attached to it.

Are you planning on going to the Icon World Classic (Athleticon)? What’s your take on the requirements posted to get an invitation? Let us know down in the comment section.

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