By Christian Duque
This is the million dollar question as we head into December in the year of our Lord 2022. The world of bodybuilding thought it was done with multi-year champions after Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden toppled Phil Heath at the 2018 Mr. Olympia. This is not to say that the great Rhoden wouldn’t have been able to win again, but he was 43 at the time of his hard fought victory and while he was ultra-conditioned, there was always the chance of Kai returning, perhaps Ramy putting it all together, or some young talent rising the ranks to beat him here or there. Guys like Phil, Ronnie, Lee and even Dorian held the title down for huge spans of time. With that being said, there were years where they truly didn’t deserve the win. And I don’t even mean years where fans had an objective position to argue the subjective decisions from. I mean there were years where even the champions themselves didn’t believe they deserved the win (e.g. Dorian’s assessment of the 1997 Olympia relative to Nasser El Sonbaty) and even though he’d never admit it, Ronnie probably knew Jay bested him in 2001.
The fact is when Phil was finally toppled and especially when he couldn’t regain his title in 2020, many fans thought the days of another 5, 6, or 7x Mr. Olympia were in the past, but are they?
If Ramy were to win his third consecutive Olympia in just under a month, I’d say that puts him in the running to win a 4th, 5th, and beyond. And while there’s talk this might be his last Olympia, why on Earth would that be the case? He’s not injured, he’s not super old, and he basically makes his whole’s year’s nut in a week in Las Vegas. He’s not fishing, coal mining, or personal training. He literally trains all year (arguably) for one show and a few photoshoots. That’s not a bad gig at all.
That being said, I think Ramy has really put in some effort for the 2022 Olympia. I give credit when credit is due and the fact is he’s been rocking the death face for about six weeks now. That’s huge because after his blunder in 2021 it shows that he cares about the title and he cares about his legacy. Many, many fans and pundits throughout the fitness industry believed that 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry defeated Ramy in 2021 in Orlando, FL. The truth is Brandon had brought 20lbs of added muscle, with razor sharp condition, and balance. He had also brought up his legs and posed hard. After the prejudging I was convinced The Prodigy would reclaim his title. Even though Ramy did tighten up for the finals, I felt that he gave up way too much ground at prejudging. The champ was watery, bloated, and made no improvements. In fact Ramy’s 2020 physique crushed his 2021 offering. That said Ramy was still given the win. The keyword there being given. And that’s not something reserved for The Egyptian Phenom. It’s a benefit that multi-year champions get. Maybe he is what the sport needs from a marketing standpoint. Ironic as that is considering how little he does on social media. Then again, maybe a freaky-looking champ with little to say is what’s desired. I can’t ever imagine Ramy causing a stir; I’m just happy he’s awake, but I digress.
Not to sound like Donald Trump dissing Jeb Bush but Big Ramy is a pretty low intensity champion. I don’t mean with how he trains, but rather his demeanor. He not only doesn’t trash talk, but he doesn’t talk at all. He seems bored to me, but seeing him rocking the death face 2-3 months out and showing off his improvements on social media does make me feel very good about how he’ll do in 2022. It’s great his head’s in the game as there’s some really serious challengers in Brandon Curry, Nick Walker, and Michael Krizo.
Will Ramy win again? I’d put my money on it. Will he be the best? That’s hard to say but even if he brings his 2020 look or slightly better I suspect they’ll give him the win. 2021 was to Ramy what 1997 was to Dorian and what 2001 was to Ronnie. I feel like that was his one and only gift. And let’s not forget Ramy skipped Jim Manion’s Pittsburgh Pro and didn’t offer any sort of explanation until 10 days later. That would usually cook his goose, but given all the controversy the federation is in, I don’t think they’re in a position to dish up any payback. Still, I think Ramy got a pretty big wakeup call and will be giving his all for the 2022 Mr. Olympia so let’s see if Ramy repeats and wins his third Sandow. The stakes couldn’t be higher!!
Do you think Ramy will be crowned Mr. Olympia at the Zappos Theatre in just shy of three weeks’ time? I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments.