by Geoff Roberts
The 2019 Mr. Olympia is officially down and digested. Coming into the show there were two distinct camps. Those who felt the absence of a reigning champ and several other top guys would make the show more exciting, and those who felt these absences would put a serious damper on this years show. Now that the show has come and passed it’s obvious to me that the latter group was correct. When the man who wins bodybuilding’s greatest title is arguably the third best bodybuilder in the world, the level of excitement has a lower ceiling than usual. That said, there were some bright spots over the weekend, including overwhelming anticipation running into the 2020 Olympia.
The fact that nearly every competitor missed the mark this year compounded this lack of excitement severely. In fact, this was the first time in well over a decade that I did not stay up through all the entry fee divisions nobody is paying attention to in order to see the final result. Whether it was Brandon or Hadi, they were obviously not the best bodybuilder in the world. This is not to take anything away from those top guys, as they were certainly incredible, it simply was not a fully loaded Olympia caliber lineup. It isn’t Brandons or Williams fault that four out of the top six best and most popular bodybuilders alive were not in the show.
Mr. Olympia Finals 2019
Shawn Ray was absolutely horrendous on the commentary, which was about as much of a surprise as Cedric showing up out of shape at the O. He was also a serious downgrade from Dennis James at the press conference. Can we please do away with Shawn at these positions? Every other Olympia commentator i’ve ever heard was drastically better at it than Shawn. We are looking for a professional breakdown of each competitor, not their life story as Shawn sees it and what Shawn used to do twenty years ago. The year Dave Palumbo and Chad Nichols commentated was the greatest example of perfect bodybuilding commentary we have ever seen. Please bring that back. Please. The webcast was phenomenal with one exception. Why the awful camera angles? How is that possible? Why have we been forced to endure horrendously awful camera angles for fifteen years of webcasts? They could use one single camera that never moves and it would be many times better than the way it is. This blows my mind year after year.
On a more positive note: Patrick Moore. Patrick Moore was the pleasant surprise of the show. While he did not get the comparisons he deserved, as the judging was extremely rushed and comparisons were few, which is unfortunate, he still stood out like a sore thumb. Patrick is a true throwback to the 90’s. Great condition coupled with a very unique physique sporting melon delts, cartoon arms and a wasp waist. This guy could win the Olympia a few years down the road without ever touching his delts or arms in the gym. It also doesn’t hurt that Patrick seems to be a great down to earth guy who would make a stellar ambassador for bodybuilding.
Speaking of the 90’s, Hadi Choopan was also a throwback to those “golden days”. Mostly because of how unique he looks. For whatever reason, the physiques of the 90’s seemed to vary from one to another a lot more than they do now. These two guys are an exception to that. Hadi’s muscle looks like hardened plaster when he hits shots and he also possess condition which looks unique in a very good way. Based on how he looked at this years show, I believe he will have trouble with Shawn and Phil, due to the realization he isn’t exactly put together like Flex Wheeler. That said, if he brings slightly better conditioning to offset his less than perfect shape, he can win.
Next years Olympia has me excited already. Phil and Shawn, along with Big Ramy will all be back. Three Mr. Olympia champions very close to their prime on stage at the same time. That means 20% of all Mr. Olympias in history could be fighting for the throne next year. If you don’t think that will make for the most exciting and compelling Olympia in history, pass whatever you’re smoking.