Visas have been a topic of contention with more and more athletes having to forgo their walk on bodybuilding’s biggest stage because they’ve been turned away at the border. Unfortunately, another three Pros were forced to announce on Instagram that they were out of the esteemed competition.
Each year, bodybuilders from across the globe face the hellacious task of obtaining the proper documentation required for crossing international borders. This year, Mr. Olympia has had numerous pull-outs due to visas to the extent that the IFBB Pro League released a statement regarding their ability to provide support on this matter.
Already we have seen big competitors such as Men’s Open’s Nathan De Asha denied his right to compete. Following his recent wins at the 2023 Flex Weekend Pro and the 2023 Sheru Classic in France, fans were looking forward to seeing him rematch Regan Grimes. However, upon entering the U.S., De Asha was denied his visa and turned away. He also called out the Mr. Olympia brand for not helping the athletes more.
Bodybuilders Continue To Pull Out From 2023 Mr. Olympia Due To Being Denied Their Visas
After Mr. Olympia’s statement, athletes continued to drop like flies with Salim AlRahbi and Hassan Alibrahim being the latest victims affected.
And today, the first to share their removal from the show is Women’s Physique champion Karina Goncalves who just won at the 2023 Europa Pro in her respective division.
The next athlete to announce their leave was Brazilian bodybuilder Alexsandra Santos who earned gold at the 2023 Rio Pro in Bikini. She released a heartfelt message to her fans after receiving the news.
“This year God has blessed me big time, out of the hood and I can fly… Those who watched the beginning saw my struggles and victories, I was able to share some of my story and without doubt, it was an extraordinary year” Santos wrote.
“I met amazing people, made many friendships, been to wonderful places and realized how dear I was in the lives of many people, who will be in my heart.”
“My American Visa was denied and Unfortunately I will be out of @mrolympiallc, 2023.”
Then Halanna Jully, who was the 2023 MuscleContest Excalibur Pro champion in Bikini, released her emotional statement that she too would not be at the 2023 Mr. Olympia because she was denied entrance.
“🇺🇸 ‼️ ANNOUNCEMENT ‼️
I OFFICIALLY INFORM THROUGH THIS VIDEO THAT I WILL NOT BE COMPETING IN @mrolympiallc 2023 ⭕️
I EXPLAINED EVERYTHING IN THE VIDEO 👆🏾
Thank you very much.”
Aside from those mentioned, Behrooz Tabani is currently struggling to get his visa squared away. Initially, it looked like he was granted passage to the U.S. but Milos Sarcev confirmed he’s yet to receive an official visa.
He recently broke down the situation in a pessimistic Instagram stories post. According to the Open Pro, he’s been to the embassy a total of three times now with no luck.
“All my enthusiasm to be able to make the hearts of the Iranian nation and my friends and family happy. I know that because of me, you also suffered a lot and waited and waited until the last moment.
Today, I went to the embassy for the third time and my case went to FBI check again and it is not clear when they will answer again I hope they will get a positive result in the next 65 days. Pray for me, my friends, I kiss each and every one of your hands, the big ones, the little ones, all of you; Behrouz Tabani.”
It is unfortunate that many talented individuals are unable to compete at the Mr. Olympia stage after putting in so much hard work. The ‘Super Bowl’ of bodybuilding is almost here and fans look forward to seeing the biggest names across 11 divisions battle on November 2-5 in Orlando, Florida.