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Watering Down the Olympia
- Updated: August 22, 2016
The Mr. Olympia is called the ‘Super Bowl of bodybuilding’ and has been the sport’s most prestigious contest since the inaugural show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965. The champion is crowned and he is considered the best in the world, regardless if that is the only show he competes in throughout the 12 months.
So to add another show with the ‘Olympia’ moniker would seem out of place, but that is exactly what the IFBB has done with the Mr. Olympia Europe taking place in Germany five weeks after the gala event in Las Vegas.
The Arnold Classic in Ohio has been considered the second most show on the IFBB calendar and still is. But therein lies a similar quandary with the growth of it every year to now include a total of six shows on six different continents. Will the Olympia go the way of the Arnold and multiply?
Going after an international audience is all well and good, but there are other ways to do so besides cheapening the Olympia name. The first option would be to move the Olympia around every year like it used to be. Las Vegas is a great town, but there are plenty of others that would put on just as good if not a better show.
Another possibility would be to bring back the Grand Prix Series or its equivalent. A series of shows close together throughout a particular area so that the top names can stay in shape and compete more than once.
Either would reach out to the fans, promoters and competitors around the world and still keep the Olympia high on its pedestal. As long as the shows are run well with good prize money, the IFBB pros will make the trip. And that will ensure that the line-ups will be deep and plenty of tickets sold.
Photo by Andrzej Jaworski/AJ JAWA Photo