IFBB judge Steve Weinberger shared his breakdown of the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
This past Saturday, the 2022 Mr. Olympia took place Dec. 16-17 at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. More than 400 athletes from across the globe made their way to Vegas for the most prestigious fitness showcase in the world. The event features 11 divisions, out of which the Men’s Open division serves as the main attraction.
Two-time Mr. Olympia champion Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay entered the contest as the favorite to defend the title and get a third trophy under his belt. There was a lot of anticipation going into one of the most competitive seasons of the show. From proven veterans Hadi Choopan, former Olympia winner Brandon Curry, and Nick Walker, to surging prospects Andrew Jacked and Michal Krizo, the Open class was stacked to the brim with talent.
Former 212 champion Derek Lunsford chose not to defend the title and accepted a special invite to compete with some of the freakiest mass monsters in the Open category. His addition to the lineup added even more excitement to the competition.
Ultimately, ‘The Persian Wolf’ reigned supreme and dethroned Big Ramy to win the 2022 Mr. Olympia. With his signature conditioning, Choopan took home his first Sandow trophy and also became the first Iranian to win the award. Lunsford made a statement in his Open debut as he managed to beat everyone else and take home the runner-up finish. Nick Walker presented a vastly improved package from last year with a slimmer waistline and enhanced muscle detail to get the third spot. He also won the People’s Champion award for the first time in his career.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Ramy appeared off at the show and fell out of the top three. He dropped down four places and finished fifth.
Steve Weinberger shares analysis of 2022 Mr. Olympia – Big Ramy dethroned
In a special video interview, IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger gave his take on the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest. He started by talking about Big Ramy’s appearance and suggested something might be off with the Egyptian native.
“It was very disappointing. His legs were not what they should have been. His back wasn’t what it should have been. His condition was off. His body parts were off. Honestly, it did not look like the Ramy of 2020, more of the Ramy from 2021 just in even worse condition. He came down even worse.”
“I think the 2020 was the best Ramy and the New York Pro was the second best Ramy but those two were a lot closer to 2021 and 2022. 2021 and 2022 were not the real Ramy that we know. I don’t know whether he has a back injury or a shoulder injury but there’s some problems somewhere with him. I don’t know what it is, but something is not right.”
On the other hand, Weinberger was thoroughly impressed by Hadi Choopan.
“He [Hadi Choopan] came in a little bit bigger as hard as a rock — really, he looked amazing. There was no weakness in his physique — none. When they all came out and we were looking, I always tick off the top six guys and he was the first one I ticked off on my sheet like, ‘oh my God, this guy is ready today,’ and he was. At first glance, I thought, ‘wow, this is the guy to look at,’” said Weinberger.
Weinberger says Derek Lunsford lacked muscle maturity
During the final callout of the prejudging, it was evident the competition was between Lunsford and Choopan. Weinberger detailed how close the battle was and explained why Choopan edged out Lunsford at the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
“That was a one-point decision [between Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan throughout prejudging]. When Derek came out, he looked big and full but because Derek does not have the muscle maturity of Hadi, he couldn’t withstand all the posing and started to flatten out. Where in my opinion, Hadi stayed the same, like I said, he didn’t change from the prejudging to the night show. He maintained his condition and that’s where I thought Hadi was better. Derek was unbelievable, amazing, but he was still lacking a little bit of muscle maturity,” says Weinberger.
Weinberger sees potential in Nick Walker
Walker did not win the Olympia this year but Weinberger is confident ‘The Mutant’ will fulfill his potential if he keeps putting in the hard work.
“He has to do what he did this year [to be 2023 Mr. Olympia]. He put on enough muscle, and he did not mess with his waist at all. He still had a small waist, he had huge muscles, thick abdominals. He lost nothing and gained size. If he does that next year, he’ll be right in the mix [for the title]. It’s amazing to see what he did last year to this year,” says Steve Weinberger. (transcription credit: FitnessVolt)
Watch the full video below:
Steve Weinberger concluded his analysis by predicting that the top three finishers (Choopan, Lunsford, and Walker) will likely fight for the win again at the 2023 Olympia.