Updated: December 16
The 2022 Mr. Olympia (December 16-17) will have the largest lineup in Olympia history and by a wide margin. A whopping 30 men are expected to compete in the open Mr. Olympia. [Ultimately, 28 did.] The 212 Olympia has 36 qualified competitors, and the Classic Physique Olympia has 65! Oh, and the Men’s Physique Olympia has 72! Whew. That’s a lot of delts and abs. But let’s just stick to the big guys in the record-setting open Mr. Olympia. It’s not only the biggest lineup ever, but it also features the most international competitors and the most Olympia rookies. This year truly marks a changing of the guard.
MOST MR. OLYMPIA COMPETITORS
The old record for most Mr. Olympia competitors was 27, set in 1991, and only one other time (2002) in the contest’s 58-year history was there a field bigger than 24. What makes this year’s 32 announced competitors (reduced to 28) particularly remarkable is the fact that the last three Mr. Olympias each had 16, half the size of this year’s announced field. The fact that the 2021 Mr. Olympia was held on October 8-9, over 14 months before this year’s contest, added to the lineup size, because six qualified competitors won contests held last year after the Olympia, which won’t be true next year (this year’s Olympia is the final IFBB Pro League event of 2022).
Ultimately, this year broke the previous record of 27, but just barely with 28 Mr. Olympia competitors.
MOST INTERNATIONAL MR. OLYMPIA
In 2001, to pick a year, all but three of the 21 Mr. Olympia competitors lived in the USA, over half trained in Southern California, and the highest foreign finisher was 14th. This year nearly two-thirds (19) of the probable competitors live outside America, zero train in Southern California, and the two-time and defending champ, Big Ramy, lives in Egypt. In previous generations, it was a near necessity for the top pro bodybuilders to reside in America, ideally near Los Angeles, to maximize magazine publicity. That was then, this is now.
The Weider magazines of Southern California are long gone. As the world grew connected via the internet, the bodybuilding world expanded, too. With social media, bodybuilders can publicize themselves on their own accounts from anywhere around the globe, and the popularity of bodybuilding has exploded in the Middle East and beyond. This year, in the announced lineup, three competitors are from Egypt, three from Brazil, three from the UK, three from Canada, two from Iran, two from Italy, others from Slovakia, Jordan, Ukraine, Spain…in all 15 countries are represented. Most of this year’s open pro contests were held outside North America, and the competitor list reflects this. 2022 will be the most international Mr. Olympia lineup.
MOST MR. OLYMPIA ROOKIES
The other factor that distinguishes this year’s lineup is the influx of rookies. Fourteen of the 28 competitors have never competed in the open Mr. Olympia before. This too is a record. To have 14 fresh faces and bodies on stage, half the lineup, marks an important milestone. The next generation has arrived, but will some of these rookies truly arrive, by shaking up the top 10 and maybe even the top five?
MR. OLYMPIA QUALIFICATIONS
There are five ways to qualify for the Mr. Olympia:
1. Win a Mr. Olympia. All previous Mr. Olympia champs are qualified for life.
2. Finish in the top 5 of the Mr. Olympia the preceding year.
3. Win a men’s open pro show staged after the previous year’s Olympia.
4. Finish in the top three in points, which are rewarded, on a tiered system, for high placings in open pro contests.
5. Via special invitation from the promoter. This is rare, but was extended this year to Derek Lunsford, last year’s 212 Mr. Olympia, who is moving up into the open Mr. Olympia.
QUALIFIED BUT NOT COMPETING
As giant as this year’s lineup is it could’ve been even bigger. Four competitors who qualified have announced they won’t be competing. It’s possible there will be more. For example, Angel Calderon, like Shaun Clarida, is qualified for both the open and 212 Olympia.
Update 12/8: A fifth competitor, Hassan Mostafa (13th place last year) announced today he will not be competing. Also today, a sixth competitor, Behrooz Abarghani, was unable to acquire a visa.
Update 12/16: Angel Calderon competed in the 212 Olympia and finished second. Also, Leandro Peres did not compete in the Mr. Olympia.
Behrooz Tabani Abarghani / Romania Muscle Fest Pro winner / visa issues
Angel Calderon / 2021 Big Man Pro winner / competing in 212 Olympia
Shaun Clarida / 2021 Legion Sports Festival winner / competing in 212 Olympia
Nathan De Asha / 2021 Yamamoto Pro winner / out with a biceps injury
Regan Grimes / 2021 Egypt Pro winner
Steve Kuclo / 3rd most points
Hassan Mostafa / Orlando Pro winner / pulled out Dec. 8 for kidney health reasons
Leandro Peres / Musclecontest FitPira Pro winner
2022 MR. OLYMPIA PARTICIPANTS
LAST YEAR’S TOP 5: highest Mr. O placing / 2021 placing
Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay / 1st (2020-21) / 1st
Brandon Curry / 1st (2019) / 2nd
Hadi Choopan / 3rd (2019, ’21) / 3rd
Hunter Labrada / 4th (2021) / 4th
Nick Walker / 5th (2021) / 5th
MR. OLYMPIA VETERANS: qualification / highest Mr. O placing / 2021 placing
William Bonac / Boston Pro winner / 2nd (2019) / 6th
Iain Valliere / Vancouver Pro winner / 7th (2020-21) / 7th
Justin Rodriguez / 1st most points / 8th (2021) / 8th
Akim Williams / Tampa Pro winner / 6th (2020) / 9th
Mohamed Shaaban / Toronto Pro winner / 10th (2021) / 10th
James Hollingshead / Tsunami Nutrition Pro winner / 12th / 12th
Andrea Presti / Mr. Big Evolution Pro winner / 16th / 16th
Charles Griffen / Cal Pro winner / 13th (2018) / none
Antoine Vaillant / Chicago Pro winner / 14th (2020) / none
MR. OLYMPIA ROOKIES: qualification
Mohammad Alnsoor / Monsterzym Pro winner
Blessing Awodibu / Indy Pro winner
Vitor Boff / Brazil Pro winner
Rafael Brandao / Arnold Classic South America winner
Tonio Burton / Legion Sports Festival winner
Samson Dauda / 2021 Prague Pro winner
Chinedu “Andrew Jacked” Obiekea / Texas Pro & Arnold Classic UK winner
Patrick Johnson / Yamamoto France Pro winner
Michal Krizo / Prague Pro winner
Theo Leguerrier / Europa Pro winner
Derek Lunsford / special invite
Andrea Muzi / 2nd most points
Vladyslav Sukhoruchko / Yamamoto Pro winner
Joel Thomas / 2021 Toronto Pro winner