By Strength Oldschool
With the 2022 Mr Olympia having just finished, it's always interesting to hear and read peoples opinions on the winner and event placings. It seems that every Mr Olympia year brings controversy, and understandably so.
I don't believe there's disputes this year over who won the "Open" or "Classic Physique" Division at the Mr Olympia, but strong opinions have surfaced recently; declaring that the old physiques are so much better than today's crop! I wrote an article a while back explaining my "Disgust with Modern Bodybuilding" - Check it out!
On social media, bodybuilding legend Berry de Mey added two posts to his Instagram account where he compared the following bodybuilders...
Akim Williams (Present) vs Berry de Mey (1988)
Dorian Yates (1992) vs Hadi Choopan (2022)
De Mey stated the following...
"The most striking, and to me incomprehensible phenomenon is lower back condition of Olympians from the 1980's and the 2022 Olympians". ~ Berry de Mey
I believe what de Mey was referring to is that bodybuilders today lack condition and are clearly easily beaten by bodybuilders of the past, from over 30 years ago! De Mey stated that he doesn't understand why this is happening.
From the photos above, you can clearly see that de Mey and Yates's back condition were superior compared to the present day bodybuilders. Both de May and Yates displayed muscle fibers and Christmas Trees; a night and day difference compared to the 2022 Mr Olympia champion, Hadi Choopan.
On "Dragon Slayer Media" Youtube channel, John Romano and Rich Gaspari discussed this very topic. Here's the video...
His comment above..."At least then we might see a shredded bodybuilder!" lead on to discuss the back comparison between Dorian Yates and current champion, Hadi Choopan. It was noted that Choopan's condition from the front was great but for some reason, his back condition was poor. Thoughts as to why this was the case...drugs, lack of dieting and taking diuretics! Gaspari raised an important question...In the last 20 years or so, why has bodybuilding not progressed, why have the quality of the physiques got so much worse?
Romano is of the belief that having striated glutes and a lower back Christmas Tree is important. Personally speaking, Christmas Tree condition, yes, but I couldn't care less about "striated glutes"! In my opinion, I would like to see bodybuilders go back to wearing posing briefs similar to what Bill Pearl and Arnold wore back in the day.
Here's a photo of Dorian Yates wishing his fans a Merry Christmas! This is the condition that you don't see nowadays.
Arnold Schwarzenegger recently talked about this years Mr Olympia contest during an Interview with Nick's Strength and Power.
Arnold made quite a few powerful remarks regarding his views on "Classic Physique!". Let me paraphrase what Arnold said...
"It's CRAZY to have a Classic Physique category...simply because that SHOULD be Mr Olympia...what is it that we're celebrating - That in the classic days we look for proportion and now we don't give a shit!?...I think it's odd that they had to literally create a Classic Physique competition to give to the person that has the BEST quality body, a trophy because they couldn't compete with the MONSTERS!...That's wrong - BIGGER is not always better! " ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
This was certainly the case when Arnold competed against a much bigger Lou Ferrigno at the 1975 Mr Olympia contest. Arnold's genetics coupled with being in supreme condition easily overpowered the larger hulking frame of Big Lou!
Arnold did mention his lack of understanding for photo comparisons made by fans who creatively show Arnold's physique against modern bodybuilders. He thought this was fun and entertaining but felt that due to different lighting, equipment, medication (drugs), food intake, nutrition, training methods etc, that it wasn't fair to compare.
To be honest I disagree. I strongly feel comparing old physiques with modern bodybuilders helps current and new fans to the sport, identify what's wrong with "Modern Bodybuilding".
What the sport needs to do is identify a past winner that highlights what a true Mr Olympia physique should look like and use this as a basis for judging criteria. For example... small waist, V-Taper, big arms, muscular but athletic looking legs, proportion, symmetry etc. Arnold would be a prime example of this, in my opinion.
Even three times Mr Olympia winner Frank Zane comes to mind. However, lets face it, MASS is extremely important in this day and age. The problem however, is bodybuilders are becoming MASSIVE without the nice, flowing, graceful lines that Arnold and Sergio Oliva possessed! There's plenty of "unattractive" MASS but no top bodybuilders that carry MASS with CLASS! Brandon Curry is possibly the only "Open" bodybuilder who still has athletic lines amongst the giants.
So for me, Arnold would be the logical choice that best represents a true prime Mr Olympia Physique. He was HUGE and MUSCULAR but also had the aesthetics to look ATHLETIC. This type of physique looks 100 times better and more healthier to represent the sport at the top level.
People criticize Arnold for having small legs in his top bodybuilding days, which I simply don't understand. Arnold's legs back in the 70's are ten times better than today's top Olympia champions!
If the legs are too big and chunky, it detracts from the overall physique which can give the impression of a blocky looking body. Blocky is not appealing. This was one of the reasons why Tom Platz never won the Olympia, although he did deserve the title in '81.
Look at classic bodybuilders such as Freddy Ortiz (pictured below).
His upper body was tremendous (freaky looking, especially for the 1960's) and in my opinion, his legs were perfectly sized - not too big but muscular and athletic looking to compliment the upper body.
I personally love the look of a more freaky upper body in contrast to a lesser developed lower half. This type of physique has a much more aesthetic quality compared to the mass monsters today whose thighs are beyond huge and oddly shaped.
"Open" Bodybuilding competitors today look too boxy, their waists are too big, bellies bloated and it's obvious from looking at some of the top physiques that 'Synthol' is being used to enhance body parts! That should be an instant BAN from the sport in my opinion.
During the interview with Nick's Strength and Power, Arnold went on to state that the most popular bodybuilder currently was Chris Bumstead (Photo below).
Photographer: Pro Fitness Photos
The fact that Bumstead has 13.7 MILLION Followers on Instagram proves that, especially compared to Choopan's 3.7 Million! (which is still impressive). Arnold believe's that Bumstead's physique is the type of body fans wish to see at the Mr Olympia and not so much of the MASS MONSTERS!
This leads me to suggest something for next year's Mr Olympia contest.
Continue to have two separate categories - "Classic Physique" and "Open". Crown the winner of both but...have the Classic Physique winner pose down next to the Open winner to fight out for the OVERALL Mr Olympia title.
From what I recall, this used to happen back in the 1970's during Arnold's era. At the Mr Olympia contests, Franco Columbu would win the under 200 lbs class and Arnold won the over 200 lbs class. Both Franco and Arnold would then pose down against one another to see who would be crowned the overall winner for that years Mr Olympia, which obviously Arnold won.
I think by changing things up and having "Classic Physique" take on "Open" for the overall title would help make the Olympia contest much more exciting to watch.
By also bringing in the fans to vote on their overall winner, this would help prove which type of physique was the best, most popular, most desired and best representation of a true winning Olympia Physique.
And just imagine if the "Classic Physique" winner beat the "Open" winner for the overall title and how this would affect Open Bodybuilding. Competitors in the "Open" division would seriously need to consider downsizing which could be great for the sport and help bring back those muscular, athletic physiques of the past!
If the sport of bodybuilding is to become better, the giants of the sport need to dramatically change their physiques and start looking back in history at the likes of Arnold and this man, "The Myth", Sergio Oliva!
So strip away that belly and oddly shaped leg gains and bring back the athletic MASS physiques of the past!
Thanks for reading and feel free to express your own opinions below.
Keep training hard folks! All the best!