Disappointing mr. Elssbiay wanted a stellar comeback after the Olympia result.
Mamdouh “Big Rami” Elsbia entered the 2022 Mr. Olympia with aspirations of becoming the eighth athlete to win it on three consecutive occasions. He had hype behind him, endorsements from living legends, and appeared “special” to access the elite bodybuilding lore. Then came the Las Vegas, NV, competition, with Hadi Choupan successfully toppling the Egyptian dynamo for the victory and Elsbiay coming up short with a fifth-place finish that surprised many bodybuilding fans.
Now, after earnestly reflecting on what lies ahead in early January 2023 and with a fresh bodybuilding season, Elsbia seems to be aiming for a massive comeback before trying to win Olympia again.
On January 20, 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival announced that Elssbiay will take the stage at the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) on March 2-5, 2023..
“Making his first appearance on stage in Columbus in 2020, ‘Rami’ looks to reassert his position as the most powerful competitor in the world of bodybuilding!”
The Columbus, OH, pageant has been the previous two-time Mr. Olympia marks a significant milestone to add to his resume for the second time at AC. In 2020, Elssbiay placed third in her first and only appearance on the show.
For some, Elssbiay’s AC revelation may come as a surprise. The superstar has spent his recent years training and preparing exclusively for his Olympia performances in the approximate calendar year, sometimes only appearing in other competitions. It’s a calculated approach that many elite bodybuilders, especially in the men’s open division, choose in the interest of maximizing their performance at the biggest competition in the sport.
For Elssbiay, seeing as he’s no longer the reigning Mr. Olympia, he may now be looking for a boost of momentum before diving full throttle into Olympia prep. At the same time, a new lucrative cash prize may motivate the athlete to finally compete in AC. In mid-January 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival announced that the first-place prize for winning the Men’s Open at the 2023 AC would be $300,000. That’s a $100,000 increase from the 2022 iteration of the competition. Notably, in January 2023, former AC Champion (2021) Nick Walker received this high financial incentive as part of his own decision to return to AC.
Elssbiay will join other established stars at the 2023 AC as he tries to beat past winners such as Walker and William Bonack (2018, 2020), and two-time 212 Olympia champion (2020, 2022) Shawn Clarida. Other confirmed names include Samson Dauda, Kamal Elgargni, Justin Rodriguez and Akeem Williams. Elssbiay may be new to the competition, but given her Olympia precedent, the field will be ready for whatever she brings to the stage in Columbus.
2023 is shaping up to be a barnburner for AC bodybuilding competition. If high-profile competitors like Elssbiay and Walker choose to participate before tackling any lofty Olympia plans, it could be an incredibly fascinating show to watch in early March.
Featured Image: @arnoldsports / Instagram