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The Olympia, from A to Z

There is so much information to bring you about the 2022 Olympia on these pages. However, we can fill you in as much as possible and in the shortest possible way, so we chose this format – the ABC of the 2022 Joe Weider Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, presented by Wings of Strength and Trifecta.

2022 Olympia Weekend full schedule

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A is for Arnold
Arnold Schwarzenegger won six consecutive Mr. Olympias from 1970-75. Then he came out of retirement to win his seventh in 1980. He is the most famous champion in history.

B for Bench Press
The bench press is the go-to for 1976 O winner Franco Columbu, who is also a famous powerlifter: “If I don’t have another exercise for the chest, I always do the bench press. There is nothing better than chest thickness.”

C is for Controversy
Controversies and the judgment of a subjective game, especially the climax of this event, can be a fertile ground for controversial decisions. And Olympia was the most fertile of such fertile lands. Some of the big head-scratchers over the years are:

  • 1980 MR. OLYMPIA. After five years of retirement, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sudden, unannounced appearance at the Sydney Opera house—carrying less muscularity and definition than usual—surprised many. Amidst thunderous boos after he was announced the winner, Chris Dickerson jumped on stage yelling, “I can’t believe it!”; Frank Zane threw his trophy against the backstage wall; and Mike Mentzer, the only Mr. Universe so far who scored a perfect 300, walked away and never competed again.
  • 1991 MS. OLYMPIA: Filmed live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Bev Francis leads Lenda Murray into the finals of the night. A large scoreboard displays the current standings for all to see. Somehow, at the end of the night, a rather diminutive and obscure Lenda Murray was announced as the winner. The ensuing outburst from the audience was led by Bev’s husband, Steve Weinberger, who rose to his feet and shouted at the judges. Weinberger would later become the IFBB’s top judge. Other less dramatic, but less controversial decisions include:
  • 2002 MR. O: Ronnie won his fourth straight Olympia over a remarkable—some say career best—Jay Cutler.
  • 2007: It was Cutler’s turn, this time as the reigning O’s champion, to be the man who couldn’t beat a better-conditioned Victor Martinez. 2014: It would have been Kai Greene’s turn to finally make the four-time Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath who is his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t see it that way.

D is for Dimensions
While Arnold and Sergio Oliva are great men, they are the exception, not the rule. When Dorian Yates crossed the 250-pound line, the mass race continued. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler eventually carried more mass, competing in the 270- to 290-pound range. Then came Big Ramy, all 300-plus pounds of him. This year, he’s even bigger! Women also bring more and greater size to the game of not only bodybuilding, but also the figure and women’s body. Even the bikini girls have more muscle now than when the division started. Everyone is growing up!

E for Expo
The Olympia Expo features vendors and activities for all genders, ages, and fitness levels. The expo is also where prejudging happens.

F is for First Callout
Initial series comparison of prejudging. It almost always consists of the presumptive top finishers. The first callout is important, but you want to make sure you’re on the last callout.

G is for Grainy
This is when the skin looks very dry and you can almost see the individual muscle fibers underneath. If a bodybuilder is grainy, then expect him to have a very high placement. Examples of grainy legends are the six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates and 2009 Mr. Olympia runner-up Branch Warren.

H is for Hollywood
In this case, we mean Planet Hollywood. In previous years, the Olympia was held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, but the 2022 edition will only be on the famous Vegas strip at Planet Hollywood. The biggest stars in bodybuilding will be on display on one of Sin City’s biggest stages.

I am for IFBB Pro League
The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness is the governing body that sanctions all Olympia competitions. Amateurs compete with the NPC (National Physique Committee) to earn an IFBB Pro League pro card. From there, it’s about competing in Olympia qualifying events in hopes of reaching the biggest stage in the industry: Olympia Weekend.

J is for Joe Weider
Olympia Weekend’s namesake, the late, great Joe Weider is affectionately known as the Father of Bodybuilding. Weider was a publisher, entrepreneur, bodybuilder, and strength and fitness enthusiast before his death at age 93.

K is for Kinesiology
Body conditioning may be part of posing, but movement and transition from pose to pose is essential to show off all aspects of a competitor’s body. Strength athletes also perform challenging routines that are sure to be crowd-pleasing. It’s not just about muscle, it’s also about movement.

L for Legends
Like the legendary competitors throughout the Olympia Weekend, including Mr. Or winners Arnold Schwarzenegger Ronnie Coleman, who has eight Sandow trophies; 10 times Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle; and eight-time Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia. There will be many more to walk the aisles and watch the current champions from the audience.

M is for Mr. and Ms. Olympia.
The first competition of Mr. Olympia took place in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965. Ms. Olympia makes its triumphant return in 2020 after a hiatus in 2014.

N is for Nicknames
Some of the best nicknames for Mr. Or includes: Arnold “The Oak” Schwarzenegger, Dorian “the Shadow” Yates, Phil “The Gift” Heath, Frank “The Chemist” Zane, Ronnie “The King” Coleman.

Or for One Man Show
The 1968 and 1971 Mr. Olympia featured only one contestant—Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively. Uh, they won.

P is for Pose down
This is the time when top competitors pose with each other in an unmarked, free-for-all format.

Q is for ElIgIblE
To qualify to compete in the Olympia. IFBB professionals must travel on one of these routes:

  • Finishing in the top four at the previous Olympia, top three at the Arnold Classic/International that year or top two at the New York Pro.
  • Win an IFBB pro contest after the last Olympia.
  • Accumulate enough points by placing high in IFBB pro contests. The top-5 highest points scored each season will qualify for the O

R is for Routines
Because what’s the point of having all those muscles if you can’t show them off? The posing routine becomes the signature with which each competitor signs his presentation. No two are alike and some are better than others. While the stage has known some great posers over the years, there have been a few, such as six-time masters Mr. Olympia Vince Taylor, four-time Ms. Fitness Olympia Oksana Grishina, and the most powerful king of posing, Kai Greene, which is to show everyone to themselves.

S is for Symmetry
Carrying a symmetrical body—balance and proportion—has helped past Mr. O Frank Zane, Samir Bannout, and three-time Classic Physique O winner Chris Bumstead to stand among other legends on stage.

T is for peeling
Olympia competitors must make sure their tanning is right so they look their best under the lights and in front of the judges. That’s why you can see (and probably smell) a lot of tanning oil on athletes before they take the stage. This helps them look their best to show off the work they’ve spent weeks putting in.

U is for Upper Back
A common phrase in sport is that shows are won from behind. If the upper back is wide and thick with a lot of separation between the muscles, then this will show when the judges call for the back-double biceps pose. Confident competitors will hit this pose as soon as it is called for.

V is for Venetian
The official hotel of the 2022 Olympia is the Venetian Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, NV. The Expo will also be held there, and it is expected to be the biggest and best yet. Book your room, then grab some swag and samples.

W is for the Wellness Division
This new division started in Orlando in 2021, and it will be part of the main stages of the festival in 2022. Francielle Mattos is the defending champion going into this year’s competition.

X is for X-Frame
Whether you are male or female, competing for size or shape, there are broad shoulders and lats leading to a small waist, followed by thick and defined legs that make up the X-Frame. If the athlete’s body is described in this term, it is a good thing.

Y is for the YouTube
Subscribe to Olympia TV on YouTube so you can catch up on all the news and developments leading up to the big weekend in Las Vegas. You can keep up with what will happen after Olympia leading up to 2023.

Z is for Zappos Theater
The place where all the action will go down is the weekend of December 15-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the first time the Olympia has been in Vegas since 2019, and you won’t want to miss a second of the excitement this year. Go to for more information.

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