Mr. Olympia

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Mr. Olympia is the title awarded to the winner of the professional men's bodybuilding contest at Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend—an international bodybuilding competition that is held annually by the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB).[1] Joe Weider created the contest to enable the Mr. Universe winners to continue competing and to earn money. The first Mr. Olympia was held on September 18, 1965, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, with Larry Scott winning his first of two straight titles.

The record number of wins is eight each by Lee Haney (1984–1991) and Ronnie Coleman (1998–2005). Brandon Curry currently holds the title.

The film Pumping Iron (1977) featured the buildup to the 1975 Mr. Olympia in Pretoria South Africa and helped launch the acting careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

There is also a female bodybuilder crowned, Ms. Olympia, as well as winners of Fitness Olympia and Figure Olympia for fitness and figure competitors. All four contests occur during the same weekend. From 1994 to 2003, and again in 2012, a Masters Olympia was also crowned.

Starting in 2016, a new division called Classic Physique was introduced. Danny Hester was the inaugural champion in Classic Physique division.

Starting in 2019, a new divison called Wheelchair Olympia.

History[edit]

1960s[edit]

The 1965 and 1966 Mr. Olympia were won by Larry Scott, a famous bodybuilder of the time. Scott subsequently retired after his 1966 victory, and to date is the only Mr. Olympia champion to have never lost a Mr. Olympia competition.

Harold Poole holds two Mr. Olympia distinctions : one is that he is the youngest ever competitor to have participated in the Olympia—in 1965 he competed in the first Mr. Olympia at the age of 21; the other is that he was the only man to compete in all three of the initial Mr. Olympia contests. He was runner-up in the 1965 and 1966 shows.

The 1967 Mr. Olympia, won by Sergio Oliva, heralded a new era in bodybuilding competition. At 5 ft 10 ins and 240 lbs[2] Oliva, nicknamed "The Myth", displayed an unforeseen level of muscle mass and definition, including a "V" shape of a large and a well-formed upper-body that tapered down to a narrow waist. Oliva would go on to win the Mr. Olympia competition in 1967, 1968 (uncontested), and 1969—where he would defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger four to three, marking Schwarzenegger's only loss in a Mr. Olympia competition.

1970s[edit]

Schwarzenegger defeated Oliva at the 1970 Mr. Olympia after finishing second the year before, and also won in 1971. He defeated Oliva again in 1972, and went on to win the next three Mr. Olympia competitions, including the 1975 edition, which was highlighted in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron and featured other notable bodybuilders such as Lou Ferrigno, Serge Nubret, and Franco Columbu, who would go on to win the 1976 and 1981 competitions.

From 1974 until 1979, a dual weight division system was used, splitting competitors into two categories: "Heavyweights" (over 200lbs) and "Lightweights" (under 200lbs). The winners of each division would then compete against each other to decide an overall champion.

After winning the 1975 competition, Schwarzenegger announced his retirement from competitive bodybuilding; this was also depicted in Pumping Iron.

Frank Zane won the 1977, 1978, and 1979 competitions. While not as physically massive as previous competitors such as Schwarzenegger, Oliva, or Ferrigno, Zane developed his physique to highlight symmetry aesthetics and definition. As such, Zane was able to defeat opponents who exceeded his own muscle-mass but lacked his level of muscular definition.

1977 was the first year the Sandow trophy was awarded.

1980s[edit]

In 1980, Schwarzenegger came out of retirement to win the Olympia yet again, after a five-year hiatus. Schwarzenegger (who was supposedly training for his "Conan" movie) had been a late entry into the competition, and his competitors did not know of his intentions to compete. This seventh victory was especially controversial, as most fellow competitors and observers felt that he lacked both muscle mass and conditioning, and shouldn't have won over Chris Dickerson or Mike Mentzer. Several athletes vowed to boycott the contest the following year, and Mentzer retired for good.[3]

The following year, Franco Columbu was victorious for the second time. Chris Dickerson won his only title in 1982, and Samir Bannout won his only title in 1983. Then in 1984 Lee Haney won the first of 8 straight Mr. Olympia titles.

1990s[edit]

Haney retired from competitive bodybuilding after his last Mr. Olympia victory in 1991.

Having placed second to Haney the previous year, Dorian Yates won the competition six straight times from 1992 until 1997. Dorian is given credit for revolutionizing the sport during his reign as Mr. Olympia by combining larger mass than seen before with what was dubbed "granite hardness". The 1990s were given[by whom?] the nickname "The Growth Hormone era". Subsequently, judging in professional bodybuilding competitions started placing greater emphasis on muscle mass, with many bodybuilding traditionalists commenting that muscle mass had now become the most important factor to winning, even greater than that of symmetry, aesthetics, and proportion.[citation needed]

Yates retired from competitive bodybuilding after his 1997 victory, having accumulated several injuries. Kenneth “Flex” Wheeler seemed to be the heir apparent, but Ronnie Coleman, who placed 9th in 1997, surprised everyone with a much improved physique in 1998, winning the first of 8 consecutive titles.

In 1994 Joe Weider decided to add a separate Masters Olympia competition for professional bodybuilders to continue to compete at the highest levels in their later years.[further explanation needed]

2000s[edit]

Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia competition eight consecutive times, tying the record set by Lee Haney. Coleman returned in 2006 to defend his title but instead placed second to Jay Cutler, who won his first title after four consecutive years of finishing second to Coleman. Cutler successfully defended his title in 2007. Coleman came in fourth place and announced his retirement from competition. In 2008, Dexter Jackson defeated Jay Cutler and became Mr. Olympia. In 2009, Jay Cutler became the third Mr. Olympia in history (the others being Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu) to reclaim the title, and the only Mr. Olympia in history to reclaim the title after having lost it, by returning on stage and defeating the reigning champion, Dexter Jackson, who placed third in 2009.

2010s[edit]

In 2010, Cutler returned to claim his fourth Mr. Olympia title, becoming the fifth competitor in Olympia history to win the title more than three times. In 2011, Phil Heath defeated Cutler for the title, beginning a winning streak that lasted until 2018. From 2012 to 2014, the Olympia was dominated by the rivalry between Kai Greene and Heath, with Heath winning all three and Greene placing second. In 2016, Heath won his sixth straight title, while Greene did not compete in either the 2015 or 2016 Olympia. The 2008 Mr. Olympia winner Dexter Jackson took second place in 2015 while Shawn Rhoden was runner up in 2016. Heath won his seventh-consecutive Mr. Olympia in 2017, with Mamdouh Elssbiay (better known as Big Ramy) taking second. With his 2017 win, Heath tied Arnold Schwarzenegger for second most Olympia victories, behind Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman who won eight. Shawn Rhoden defeated Phil Heath in 2018, snapping Heath's streak of seven victories. The 2019 Mr. Olympia was won by Brandon Curry, with both of the previous winners, Shawn Rhoden and Phil Heath, not competing.

Qualifying[edit]

In 2011, days after the conclusion of the 2011 Olympia Weekend, Chairman of the IFBB Professional League Jim Manion amended the qualifying rules as follows:

  • Top five in each division at the Olympia.
  • Top three in each division at the Arnold Classic/International.
  • Top two in each division at the New York Pro.
  • 1st place at all other competitions, even the Amateurs World Championship Competition.

The IFBB Professional League may offer special invites.

Winners[edit]

Chronologically[edit]

# Year Overall Heavyweight Lightweight Award Venue
1 1965 United States Larry Scott Heavyweight category not held. Lightweight category not held. United States New York, United States
2 1966 $1,000
3 1967 Cuba Sergio Oliva $1,000
4 1968
5 1969
6 1970 Austria Arnold Schwarzenegger
7 1971 France Paris, France
8 1972 West Germany Essen, West Germany
9 1973 United States New York, United States
10 1974 Austria Arnold Schwarzenegger Italy Franco Columbu
11 1975 $2,500 Union of South Africa Pretoria, South Africa
12 1976 Italy Franco Columbu United States Ken Waller $5,000 United States Columbus, United States
13 1977 United States Frank Zane United States Robby Robinson United States Frank Zane $5,000
14 1978 $15,000
15 1979 United States Mike Mentzer $25,000
16 1980 Austria Arnold Schwarzenegger Heavyweight category not held. Lightweight category not held. $25,000 Australia Sydney, Australia
17 1981 Italy Franco Columbu United States Columbus, United States
18 1982 United States Chris Dickerson United Kingdom London, United Kingdom
19 1983 Lebanon Samir Bannout West Germany Munich, West Germany
20 1984 United States Lee Haney $50,000 United States New York, United States
21 1985 Belgium Brussels, Belgium
22 1986 $55,000 United States Columbus, United States
23 1987 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden
24 1988 Unknown United States Los Angeles, United States
25 1989 Italy Rimini, Italy
26 1990 $100,000 United States Chicago, United States
27 1991 United States Orlando, United States
28 1992 United Kingdom Dorian Yates Finland Helsinki, Finland
29 1993 United States Atlanta, United States
30 1994
31 1995 $110,000
32 1996 United States Chicago, Illinois, United States
33 1997 United States Los Angeles, United States
34 1998 United States Ronnie Coleman United States New York, United States
35 1999 United States Las Vegas, United States
36 2000
37 2001
38 2002
39 2003
40 2004 $120,000
41 2005 $150,000
42 2006 United States Jay Cutler $155,000
43 2007
44 2008 United States Dexter Jackson
45 2009 United States Jay Cutler $200,000
46 2010
47 2011 United States Phil Heath
48 2012 $250,000[4]
49 2013
50 2014 $275,000[5]
51 2015 $400,000
52 2016
53 2017
54 2018 Jamaica Shawn Rhoden
55 2019 United States Brandon Curry

Number of Overall Wins[edit]

Rank Mr. Olympia champion Year(s) Number of wins
Overall Heavyweight Lightweight
1 United States Ronnie Coleman 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 8 0 0
United States Lee Haney 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 8 0 0
2 Austria Arnold Schwarzenegger 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 (overall & heavyweight) and 1980 7 2 0
United States Phil Heath 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 7 0 0
3 United Kingdom Dorian Yates 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 6 0 0
4 United States Jay Cutler 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010 4 0 0
5 United States Frank Zane 1977 (overall & lightweight), 1978 (overall & lightweight), 1979 (overall & lightweight) 3 0 3
Cuba Sergio Oliva 1967, 1968, and 1969 3 0 0
6 Italy Franco Columbu 1974 (lightweight), 1975 (lightweight), 1976 (overall & lightweight), and 1981 2 0 3
United States Larry Scott 1965 and 1966 2 0 0
7 United States Chris Dickerson 1982 1 0 0
Lebanon Samir Bannout 1983 1 0 0
United States Dexter Jackson 2008 1 0 0
Jamaica Shawn Rhoden 2018 1 0 0
United States Brandon Curry 2019 1 0 0
8 United States Robby Robinson 1977 (heavyweight) and 1978 (heavyweight) 0 2 0
United States Kenny Waller 1976 (heavyweight) 0 1 0
United States Mike Mentzer 1979 (heavyweight) 0 1 0

Number of Consecutive Wins[edit]

[6]

Rank Mr. Olympia champion Years Number of consecutive wins
Overall Heavyweight Lightweight
1 United States Lee Haney 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 8 0 0
United States Ronnie Coleman 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 8 0 0
2 United States Phil Heath 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 7 0 0
Austria Arnold Schwarzenegger 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980 (overall & heavyweight) 6 2 0
3 United Kingdom Dorian Yates 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 6 0 0
4 United States Frank Zane 1977 (overall & lightweight), 1978 (overall & lightweight), 1979 (overall & lightweight) 3 0 3
Cuba Sergio Oliva 1967, 1968, and 1969 3 0 0
5 United States Jay Cutler 2006 and 2007, 2009 and 2010 2 (twice)[7] 0 0
6 United States Larry Scott 1965 and 1966 2 0 0
7 Italy Franco Columbu 1974 (lightweight), 1975 (lightweight), 1976 (overall & lightweight) 1 0 3

Classic Physique[edit]

Year Winner Venue
2016 United States Danny Hester United States Las Vegas, United States
2017 United States Breon Ansley
2018 United States Breon Ansley
2019 Canada Chris Bumstead

Men's Physique[edit]

Year Winner Venue
2013 United States Mark Anthony Wingson United States Las Vegas, United States
2014 United States Jeremy Buendia United States Las Vegas, United States
2015 United States Jeremy Buendia United States Las Vegas, United States
2016 United States Jeremy Buendia United States Las Vegas, United States
2017 United States Jeremy Buendia United States Las Vegas, United States
2018 United States Brandon Hendrickson United States Las Vegas, United States
2019 United States Raymont Edmonds United States Las Vegas, United States

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IFBB.com - History of Mr. Olympia". Archived from the original on 2012-11-22. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  2. ^ "Mr Olympia: Through the Years". Protein Hunter. 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  3. ^ Hansen, John. "The 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy | Iron Man Magazine". www.ironmanmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  4. ^ "Mr. Olympia Prize Money Hits Record High $1mm". Muscle & Fitness. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  5. ^ Roling, Chris. "Mr. Olympia 2014 Results: Winner, Highlights, Prize Money and Twitter Reaction". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  6. ^ PLEASE NOTE: This is the list of CONSECUTIVE WINS, not total. Therefore changes like adding "1981" to Franco Columbu is INCORRECT for this table, as 1981 was not a year in which he won CONSECUTIVE titles.
  7. ^ Do NOT change this to 4. Cutler won two in a row twice, and thus this is why it is marked "2 (twice)".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]