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Muscle Sport Magazine

Mr. Olympia People’s Champion – What It Entails

Brian Landis

For all the folks who complain that their voices are not heard when it comes to bodybuilding and who deserves the sport’s most prestigious title, people in high places were listening and have addressed the situation… somewhat, at least. In the current issue of “Muscle and Fitness” (more specifically, the “FLEX” insert portion), Robin Chang – he of the multiple positions at the IFBB and AMI, publishers of M&F and owners of the Olympia name – delves into this in his “Ask the Olympia Insider” column.

Chang credits both Jim Manion (IFBB) and David Pecker (AMI) for implementing the following for the 2018 Mr. Olympia, which will be held on September 14 and 15 in Las Vegas:

*Fans in attendance at The Orleans Arena will have access to a judge’s scorecard on a mobile device via a special code given thereat and have the ability to judge each and every competitor on stage at both Friday’s prejudging round and Saturday’s finals. 

*If the fans choose someone different than the judges, then that competitor will be deemed the People’s Champion, which is more akin to a Most Muscular or Best Poser award. It is a consolation prize, per sim rather than crowning the king. 

Surely, there will be more details to follow that will clarify the many questions that have arisen with this announcement, such as:

*How will the promoters control the access code being shared elsewhere so people who are not in attendance have the ability to vote, as well?

*What are the tie breakers for the fan’s vote?

*Will the fan’s tally be posted after Friday’s tally? Part of this announcement included that the judges’ points will be publicized at The Orleans Arena on Saturday before the finals begin. 

It’s apparent that at least part of the strategy here is to sell more seats at the arena, which is a smart business decision. But in today’s day and age of instant contact technology, it is next to impossible not to have ‘leaks’ to keep it in house, if you will.

AMI

This does seem like a good and intriguing idea and an article posted on Flex’s website used the term ‘inaugural 2018 Mr. Olympia People’s Champion,’ so it appears that this is is not a demo nor pilot project, but rather something that will continue year-after-year.

Lastly, bodybuilding is a sport where objectivity is frequently questioned with accusations of judges having biases for or against certain competitors for a litany of reasons. When fans complain on social media that the judges were wrong in their ‘humble’ opinion, it is one thing. But now there will be black and white proof that may fuel their argument – Phil Heath won again when he received nothing but boos and Big Ramy brought the house down with applause (and votes).

Right or wrong, the criticism of the judges will be even stronger once Heath  – a deserving winner of seven consecutive Sandows, but a champion that has never endeared himself to the base – beats the fan favorite.

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