2018 Mr. Olympia Preview: Will Phil Heath Be Dethroned?
Phil Heath has been holding the Sandow and title of Mr. Olympia for the last seven years running; is this his year to have it stolen?
What is Mr. Olympia?
The Mr. Olympia is a bodybuilding contest… Correction: It is THE bodybuilding contest. It is the stage that bodybuilders dream of before their first event, and long before they go pro. It’s more than the big check, which just hit $400,000 in 2017, it’s about achieving a transformation so radical that it gets the respect of the Mr. Olympia judges, who are extremely detail-oriented. All of the greatest bodybuilders in history have walked the stage of the Mr. Olympia, cementing them in fitness history.
History of Mr. Olympia
The Mr. Olympia stage is the end-all, be-all of bodybuilding, but it wasn’t always so. This main stage event had very humble beginnings in New York, starting as a small show – only three guys competed – at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965. It wasn’t long before the Mr. Olympia contest became the most respected and sought-after event in bodybuilding where muscle mass hopefuls competed to have a Sandow – the official Mr. Olympia trophy – on their mantel at home.
Notable Winners of Mr. Olympia
There have been plenty of competitors at the Mr. Olympia show, but only a handful of notable champions over the last 30 years as the winners tended to win over and over again, each one holding the Sandow for several years. A few notable champions that have achieved mass celebrity through their victories, movies, or other events include Sergio Oliva, Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and of course the current champion, Phil Heath.
Phil Heath’s Winning Streak
To bring you up to speed: Phil “The Gift” Heath is the current champion and he’s had the title of Mr. Olympia for seven years running, tying him with Arnold’s record of seven wins. Heath broke on to the Mr. Olympia scene in 2008, earning third place, but it wasn’t until 2011 when he began his winning streak.
Mr. Olympia Drama: Phil Health vs. Kai Greene
In the last several years of Mr. Olympia history, no other rivalry has received as much attention as the one between Phil Health and Kai “The Predator” Green. These two mass monsters had a battle of the egos for years, and some argue that this war reached a peak in 2013 when the famous push, shove, and smile video from the Mr. Olympia pose showdown went viral.
2014 was the last year that Kai Green competed at the Mr. Olympia as 2015 saw him on the official list but missing during the competition. There was a lot of speculation and rumors behind his absence, fueled by Kai’s self-made video that left more questions than answers. Despite a personal invitation to compete in 2017, Kai turned it down. If there is one true rival of Phil Heath, it’s Kai Green, but since he isn’t competing in 2018, the question becomes…
Who Can Take the Sandow in 2018?
Recently taking the top spot at the Arnold Classic in 2017, Cedric McMillan has a serious shot at taking the Sandow out of Heath’s hands. McMillan has a notable aesthetics-based physique that reminds you the days of Frank Zane. Some experts agree that the days of the mass monsters has peaked and we will see a return to the “Golden Age of Bodybuilding.” If that’s true, McMillan might be the next champion.
“Big Ramy” Mamdouh Elssbiay
This giant from Egypt was awarded second place in the 2017 Mr. Olympia with many bodybuilding enthusiasts claiming that he deserved the top spot. One of the younger competitors for the 2018 Mr. Olympia, Big Ramy has a physique that combines insane size with a more aesthetic appeal. All in all, Big Ramy is a force to be reckoned with.
If you kept up with the Mr. Olympia last year, you might be wondering how Brandon Curry stands a chance against Heath when he came in 8th place – you read right – in 2017. Armed with quads that liken the leg famous champion, Jay Cutler, Curry has been training like a madman, releasing videos of his training sessions and progress online. With youth on his side, we’re confident that you’ll see Curry take a higher spot this year.
To Dexter “The Blade” Jackson, age is just a number at age 48. The Mr. Olympia stage is no mystery to him either as he took home the Sandow in 2008. Let’s not forget that Jackson was in the top three spots at the Mr. Olympia during 2015 and 2016. What’s more, the guy has more bodybuilding titles than any other bodybuilder in the business right now. Like Curry, you can see video updates of Jackson as he goes through his training program, and in short, he’s looking serious and ready. If Jackson takes the Sandow from the 10-years younger Heath, it would be one of the biggest shockers in Mr. Olympia history.
If there’s one bodybuilder on the list that has been consistent in victory and just shy of the Sandow, it’s Shawn Rhoden. He’s been in the top three spots for four years, competing against Heath. Like McMillan, he has a characteristic aesthetic appeal, and an incredible transformation history. A quick Google search will bring up Rhoden’s pictures of his pre-bodybuilding days when he was overweight to now, and it’s a jaw-dropper. As Rhoden continues to lurk in the top three, it could be just a matter of time before he finally knocks the king down.
Who Do You Think Will Win the 2018 Mr. Olympia?
Wil Phil Health keep wearing his crown? Will the impressively aesthetic Cedric McMillan get the attention he deserves? Will Dexter Jackson cause one of the biggest upsets in the history of Mr. Olympia, proving that age is just a number? Let us know what you think in the comments below!