by Christian Duque
It’s safe to say that the only place where it matters to be your best is the Mr. Olympia stage. You can look like a million bucks at a photoshoot, posting progress shots, or appearing on any number of other multimedia projects, but if you can’t bring it all together for the big show, then you’re SOL. There’s countless guys who are never able to make that transition. They look phenomenal using goon lighting, photoshop, and any number of special effects, but that’s about it.
We all know the guys that are most guilty of this. There’s no need to be petty and start-naming them. Especially because they always seem to earn enough points (which no longer count) and/or manage to win a pro show by giving it their all, only to let everyone down – time in and time again – at stages on the level of the The Arnold and Mr. Olympia.
Brandon Curry should not – cannot – be put into this category. Not only has Brandon won the Arnold multiple years, but he’s also a past Mr. Olympia. Unlike so many of the big talkers on social media, Brandon delivers. When Abdullah leaks photos, you never have to ask yourself if they’re old or if they’ve been touched up. Usually Brandon will hit a few poses in a doorway using natural light. He’s not in front of a green screen, there aren’t lights all over him, and he’s not surrounded by an army of techs trying to manipulate different elements in order to cast him in the best light. It’s just The Prodigy hitting some poses getting taken on an iphone or maybe a DSLR. It’s not rocket science, he’s not oiled up, and he’s not trying to trick anyone. What you see, is what you get.
When Brandon is on, he gets noticed. The problem with Curry is that everyone knows he’s good and everyone recognizes he’s a force to be reckoned with, but bodybuilding is a sport consumed by drama. If you’re not a pot stirrer you don’t get the media fanfare.
When it comes to the YouTubers they can say all they want that what they look for is the best physiques, but we know better. They can talk ad nauseam about muscle bellies, striations, symmetry and flow. They can talk about artistic posers and guys who really work a stage with their routines. But keep in mind one very important element of their reporting – views.
Many of the biggest YouTubers don’t hold regular jobs like you or me. They don’t compete. They also don’t do personal training. Some have advertisers and others have sponsors. There is a difference and we can delve into that in another article, maybe even this month, as many of you want the business acumen to make it in this industry and it’s not something you can easily acquire. But let’s get back on topic. Whatever income streams YouTubers have and whatever remaining bodybuilding media companies that remain are, they need the views. And views don’t come just because you have a great physique. There needs to be something more. Sadly, that “something more” usually requires bodybuilders to create divisions among the ranks, chop others down, and whine like little children when they don’t get their way.
That said, even though Brandon won’t trash talk, he’s one of these elite guys who can still get coverage based just on how he looks. A big part of this is is the fact he’s a former Mr. Olympia. That distinction gets him automatic love. And now that Big Ramy is out of the picture his stock has jumped. Then again, with or without Ramy, Brandon was already destined to get more publicity than Ramy on account that he beat him last year and while The Egyptian Phenom seems to be losing his way, Curry seems to be regaining lost ground. This year’s Arnold Classic didn’t do the mass monster any favors either.
And let’s not forget Brandon was pretty much robbed in 2021. Therefore, when it comes to the pecking order for the 2023 Olympia, Brandon was already positioned to be a top contender and taking the respect of being a past Mr. O. And notice we haven’t even spoken about his physique and the dramatic improvements he’s made with his wheels. This is because Bodybuilding is becoming more and more a package deal. In order for this sport to grow there needs to be buzz and a great look just isn’t enough. You don’t have to be a trash-talker but you need to have the ability to have a story. Call it a schtick or an angle or whatever you want, but the media needs to know how to market you.
You can’t exactly call a past Mr. Olympia an underdog – or can you? When that Mr. O is Brandon Curry and he’s been systematically overlooked since the year he won, I think a case can be made for it. He’s been tested and he passed. Meaning that he’s taken a controversial placing or two, but he never goes off the reservation. He doesn’t mudsling and he’s a good sport. That’s important. He has demonstrated that he knows how to win and he knows how to lose. He also knows what it takes to grow the sport. These are all very important values that can really come in handy for a close-call Mr. O.
Curry is a creature of habit in many regards. Whether he’s Mr. O or not, he’s going to keep promoting his sponsors and the sport. He doesn’t skip a beat. If he wins another Arnold, great. If he lands another sponsor, great. If things don’t go his way, he keeps looking at the bigger picture. He’s got a great wife, a great family, and a wonderful life. He’s not the type of guy whose happiness depends on a trophy or a paycheck. At this point, he’s not chasing titles or paychecks, rather, he’s building a legacy. That’s not to say he doesn’t have fuel in the tank to win another Sandow, he’ just on a completely different wavelength than most other competitors. And this, too, makes him stand out. It also makes him very dangerous because he’s out to doing justice by his legacy. He will never half-ass it and he will never bring anything less than 100%. That pushes Hadi as the defending champ, it pushes Derek who is considered the top threat, and it pushes rising stars like Nick Walker and Samson Dauda. It also makes for a far more exciting contest.
If Abdullah and Brandon arrive in Orlando, FL, with Brandon’s 2021 Olympia look with even better wheels and hard as nails, he’s going to win the Olympia. I don’t care what Hadi brings, I don’t care how impressive Derek looks, Brandon will win. That’s no disrespect to those guys, but neither of them can beat Brandon at his best. That’s not something you’re going to see anywhere else, it isn’t something you’re likely to read anywhere else, either. And that’s not because it’s not the truth, it’s simply because of all the factors outlined in this article. Buzz, views, trash talk and shticks. Once you remove all the fluff and hot air, you’re left with the physiques, the posing, and the personalities of the bodybuilders. You’ll see what I’m talking about in just shy of three weeks.
At the rate we’re going and given the progress photos that have been released thus far, it’s going to be a big year for The Prodigy and the Oxygen Gym crew. I have a feeling the Sandow is headed back to Nashville!
What say you? Can Brandon win his second title? I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. And if you haven’t seen Brandon’s insane shots, go to his Instagram. Don’t just dismiss me as a fan boy or write this off as just another Olympia article. Look at The Prodigy and see what he’s accomplished. He’s not being shot by a photographer, there’s no goon lighting, and he’s certainly not airbrushing anything. It’s just Brandon hitting shots in a doorway. It doesn’t get more barebones than that. And he looks all kinds of insane!