Athletes rep Bob Cicherillo is back to discuss the guest posing lineup in Pittsburgh last weekend. In a recent Voice of Bodybuilding podcast, Cicherillo took a closer look at Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s chances of a successful comeback to the 2023 Mr. Olympia stage. In addition, he examined some of the sport’s top Open competitors who also guest posed at the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro.
Since Phil Heath‘s seven-year reign as Mr. Olympia, Open class athletes have struggled to hold on to the sport’s most coveted title. After the late 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden took the honor, the Sandow changed hands again. In 2019, Brandon Curry claimed gold but would surrender it to Elssbiay in 2020.
As Ramy proceeded to win a pair of titles, confidence about his future grew. Ronnie Coleman, who is tied for most Mr. Olympia wins ever with Lee Haney, assumed Ramy would comfortably defend for years to come. However, he was outmatched on the 2022 Mr. Olympia stage and fell to fifth. Ramy later vowed to come back better than ever. His coach, Chad Nicholls, shared his grim take on Ramy’s prep last year, and said just about ‘everything went wrong.’
Elssbiay entered the 2023 Arnold Classic and took fourth place. Cicherillo, who also serves as the announcer for the Arnold and Mr. Olympia shows, suggested that Ramy’s best days were behind him.
Unlike last year, Ramy appeared in Pittsburgh for a star-studded guest posing appearance. He was joined by last year’s Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford, Nick Walker, Samson Dauda, Hunter Labrada, and Shaun Clarida. In his latest endeavor, Cicherillo gave his thoughts on the lineup and opened up on Big Ramy’s potential for redemption.
Bob Cicherillo Breaks Down 2023 Pittsburgh Pro Guest Posing: ‘Derek Lunsford & Nick Walker Did Not Disappoint’
Overall, Bob Cicherillo was impressed with the lineup. He thought Derek Lunsford set a precedent last year in Pittsburgh, which nudged other competitors to stay conditioned in the off-season this time around.
“These guys were in pretty good shape, I got to give it to everybody. I got to credit that to Derek Lunsford because he did show up in shape last year and he showed up in shape this year too. Still the best-conditioned guy at this point, we’re six months out… but I think it inspired the other guys to be a little bit closer to in-shape if you will again, for the off-season, nobody is expecting somebody to be ripped to the bone of course. If you’re ripped to the bone six months out, you got bigger problems. Everybody was in pretty good shape. It’s funny, you could almost put them in order from their guest posing appearance.”
Derek Lunsford, Nick Walker did not disappoint, again, in great condition, great shape for being off-season, he’s [Nick] put on a lot of, we’ll call it off-season weight. Not fat, none of these guys were. Samson Dauda did not disappoint either. He’s over 300 pounds or reported close to 300 pounds now, he’s a little bit taller than Big Ramy who did show up everybody.”
As for Big Ramy, Cicherillo thought he looked wide but failed to show any improvements since his last two contests.
“That’s right, Big Ramy made it in. So, all of the conspiracy theorists have to find something else to point your finger to. Big Ramy was there and he was big, now the question is… was he better? The answer is… no. I thought he looked good, I thought some of the same problems are still evident. Whether that gets fixed throughout the year, whether he decides to compete, we’re only going to see, time will tell.
The arms do look a little bit down in size, the back I didn’t think looked much different. He’s big as a house folks, there’s a reason they call him Big Ramy. He is the widest guy in bodybuilding bar none. For any height, I don’t care, Andrew Jacked‘s taller, he’s a big boy too, but nobody’s got Big Ramy width. I don’t know if that helps him at this point. I don’t know if it’s the shoulders that are so big that make his arms look smaller if there’s some issues going on with that, but he was in good shape,” Bob Cicherillo explained.
In addition to those mentioned, Cicherillo praised Hunter Labrada, who is currently in prep to compete at the upcoming Tampa Pro and Texas Pro.
“He didn’t disappoint. The fans love him and he’s as gracious as it gets. So Hunter Labrada was there. Hat and all, you know it’s a show when Hunter is there and the cap is on that head of his. Hunter is a good sport. I give him a lot of credit for that. Hunter looked good. Hunter is in shape and Hunter needs to qualify.”
In addition to Bob’s critiques of the Open class, Olympia TV came under fire recently after judge Terrick El Guindy labeled a few athletes as ‘busts’ and ‘failures’ in a social media post. In response to fan backlash, Cicherillo chimed in and said it wasn’t done intentionally, but stressed that the ‘clickbait stuff needs to end.’
Elssbiay reassured his fans of his future in a Muscle and Fitness interview recently, where he appeared fired up to win back his title at the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest on Nov. 2-5, in Orlando, Florida. Time will tell if Big Ramy can reclaim the throne and become a three-time champion.
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