Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s trainer, Chad Nicholls, is finally recapping what went wrong at last year’s Mr. Olympia competition. In a Prime Time Muscle interview, Nicholls cited several factors that affected Ramy’s performance including injuries.
Last year, the 2022 Mr. Olympia Weekend featured a record number of over 400 competitors. In the end, 11 divisions crowned champions, one of which was Hadi Choopan, who claimed his first Olympia title in the Men’s Open division. In a surprising turn of events, the former two-time winner Elssbiay failed to defend his title and dropped to fifth.
After losing his status as champion, the bodybuilding community was quick to assess Ramy’s performance. Former two-time Arnold Classic champion Kevin Levrone thought Ramy ‘gave the judges an excuse to get rid of him,’ whereas IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger suspected Ramy was suffering from injuries.
While in the middle of Ramy’s latest prep, Nicholls shared new details about his client’s performance at 2022 Olympia. He specified that Ramy arrived in Las Vegas late with digestive problems, injuries, and posing issues.
Chad Nicholls on Big Ramy at 2022 Olympia: ‘Everything You Could Possibly Think of Went Wrong That Weekend’
Chad Nicholls pointed at several factors that affected Ramy’s Olympia prep and said they were playing catch up the week before the contest.
“So, basically in a nutshell for the Olympia – everything that possibly could have went wrong – and I mean everything, went wrong. I mean, we had a disaster with his posing, we changed that around. That was a disaster. He was late kind of coming in where I wanted him, so we’re playing catch up the whole week. So, basically, everything that you could possibly think of went wrong that weekend.”
In preparation for the 2023 Arnold Classic, Nicholls explained that they had to ‘regroup and change things around.’ He added that Ramy was dealing with some undisclosed injuries.
“When we were thinking about the Arnold, I was talking with him and we were kind of going back and forth, and we were like, ‘listen, we weren’t able to get done what we needed to at the Olympia,’ he said ‘What do you think about the Arnold, I said, ‘you listen, I think that it would be good for you to get back up on stage,” Chad Nicholls explained.
“We went back, we kind of scrapped everything that we have done before. Because honestly, even some of the things that worked in past years, 2020 and 2021 – didn’t work this year because the body has changed. We were dealing with some injuries, some issues. So, the things that we were doing before, didn’t work coming into this Olympia. We had to regroup and change things around,” shared Nicholls.
According to Nicholls, Ramy’s preparations were “all over the place.” Eventually, he became stressed out which only made their problems worse.
“So, here’s kind of one of the things: Chris will know, I like people to be there a week early. When I was working with Chris and stuff, they were there Saturday or Sunday before the show. Mainly because you get there, you still have to run around and get your food and get settled in, all this kind of stuff. You’re out of your element so you’re trying to get it in sync and all laid out.
They didn’t get there until Tuesday evening. We’re trying to get run around and get everything done. He’s training at one 1’clock in the morning. He’s trying to rest but now we’re getting ready to go into the week. So, we have the athletes meeting and all this kind of stuff – we’re still training late. We were all over the place. What ends up happening, one of the worst kind of problems, was – and Chris will testify to this, when Ramy starts getting stressed out, he kind of just goes off,” said Nicholls.
Nicholls revealed that Ramy was having digestive issues before pre-judging.
“What ended up happening was, he hadn’t went to the bathroom since Monday before the show. So, now, we start fighting this. We keep thinking like, ‘okay, everything is going to go,’ we are taking things to make sure that he can go to the bathroom. We’re banking on the fact that he’s going to go to the bathroom. And he doesn’t end up going to the bathroom until two hours before pre-judging, which ended up becoming a disaster for us.”
“At this point, we’re backing off food because we don’t want to run into a situation where everything is backed up in the stomach. And we’re starting to be able to tell a little bloating in the stomach. So, now I have to start backing off food a little bit and we still had to figure out how to get rid of water.”
Looking back, Nicholls described the ordeal as quite stressful.
“He was having trouble controlling everything. Again, it was just a disaster going into the show. Dude, it was stressful as shit. I kept thinking, ‘did you go to the bathroom, did you go to the bathroom,'” shared Nicholls.
Ramy will have the opportunity to redeem his fifth-place Olympia showing at the upcoming Arnold Classic. The only Olympian to place ahead of him is Nick Walker, who many consider the heavy favorite. In addition, Ramy will likely face another intense battle from mass monster Samson Dauda, who finished sixth at 2022 Olympia.
The last time Ramy appeared at the Arnold Classic, he took third place but won his first Olympia title that same year. Should he claim the victory in Ohio, he’ll prove the naysayers wrong like Nick Walker, who says his time on top is done.