Here’s What the Internet Is Saying About The 2022 Mr. Olympia
These three bodybuilders appear to be the guys social media is making the most noise about their potential in this year’s Olympia. That’s not to say no one else is being talked about. It’s just that these three appear to be getting more attention than the other guys in the line up. I think this is normal for the season. Leading up to the Olympia, everyone comes up with their own imaginary podium.
Regardless of the order in which you image them, one thing is pretty clear: Big Ramy, Hunter LaBrada and Nick Walker come up more than the 30 other guys qualified. For a lot of enthusiasts, these three names just jump off the page.
I’m sure there are arguments raging up and down about Brandon Curry being the 2019 Mr. Olympia; or William Bonac, whom I’ve said on numerous podcasts, is lethal at 100%; or Hassan Mostafa, who at age 51, took an extremely controversial second-place finish at the this year’s Tampa Pro, and has every tool in the box needed to bag a Sandow. Same goes for the guy who beat him, Akim Williams.
But, the Olympia gods have something up their sleeves, and this year is no different, because all of these men have their flaws. Which, is nothing new. But for some reason, this year some people are focusing, what I think is undo attention, on the oddities each of these men bring with them, particularly Big Ramy.
Are we picking nits here, or are we talking about issues that could potentially cost points? Certainly, there are other competitors who could win the show who may have fewer issues/ imperfections, but, as stated earlier, these three guys seem to be causing the greatest stir, with the talk seemingly less about who might win, but rather why someone might not.
Let’s start with the obvious: Big Ramy
The reigning Mr. O isn’t causing a commotion for who he is, but for his particular circumstances. It appears that Big Ramy has a golfball-size divot in the distal aspect of each of his outer quad sweeps, his right looking more severe than his left. Now, this is not new. He had them last year and the year before. They do, however, seem slightly more pronounced today than in the past. It could be for no other reason than he’s leaner now. Or perhaps it is something else?
It’s the “something else” that has has drawn so much attention, that those little dimples have been the subject of not only a staggering number of IG posts, but also entire podcasts! Whatever those things are, is testament to what makes social media so wicked.
The sequence is as wicked as it is miraculous. With not even a glint of firsthand knowledge, witness or evidence, suddenly the public discourse shifts its impression, and a meaningless blemish becomes empirical proof that drugs are ruining the sport (again).
According to the “experts,” Ramy’s quad divots are either scar tissue or a sign of nerve damage from constantly injecting his quads. With the emphasis being that his drug use is excessive, not because they actually know him and know firsthand what he takes, but because there are divots in his quads!
According to Big Ramy’s trainer, Dennis James, who was in Dubai with Big Ramy when he had an MRI of his quads, the results showed that there was no scar tissue, no necrosis. There was absolutely nothing to indicate injections had anything to do with it. There was also no evidence of a tear or a rupture. What Dennis explained sounded like a small area of the muscle belly, where a group of muscle fibers have stuck together caused an “adhesion,” which could restrict blood supply to the area, resulting in a divot.
Now, for the big question, does it matter? In order to answer that, I have to bring up the other two gentlemen in the title. Do the remnants of Hunter LaBrada’s pec tear matter? How about the squiggly veins in Nick Walker’s calves? Do either of these gentlemen stand to have their placings affected? No. That’s like saying my motorcycle’s value is affected because of the one square millimeter stone chip on the front fender. Would we prefer no stone chips? Of course, but everyone has a stone chip. So, the idea of perfection is ridiculous. Penalizing someone for an imperfection is worse.
There once was a time when this almost exact amalgam of champions clashed on the Olympia stage. In 1987, the top three bodybuilders in the world were Lee Haney, Rich Gaspari and Lee LaBrada. Haney, an incredibly imposing, unbeatable, mountain of a man, was just slightly more into his eight-year Olympia reign than Big Ramy is today.
I was not in Gothenburg, Sweden for the 87 Olympia. I did not see Haney, Gaspari and LaBrada on stage in person. But, from all I’ve seen of that lineup over the years, If this year gives us a podium of Big Ramy, Nick Walker and Hunter Labrada, it will be like seeing a ghost of 87. Could either LaBrada or Walker interrupt Big Ramy’s reign? I don’t think it’s probable, but it’s certainly not impossible. If it does happen, or if LaBrada beats Walker or vice versa, it won’t be because of an imperfection.
Am I predicting that when the curtain falls on Dec. 18, these three men will occupy the podium? I don’t have to. As the hours tick closer and closer to show time, social media will keep raising the temperature. I hope the discourse lends itself to more positive items than three year-old quad divots. Unfortunately, social media and human nature being what they are, I don’t hold out much hope. The show will have to do the talking.
The two-time reigning Mr. Olympia is getting ready to defend his title.