Men’s Open and 212 Bodybuilding staple Hidetada Yamagishi is coming out of retirement for the upcoming Masters Olympia competition. Speaking with Rich Gaspari, “Hide” revealed he’s training to compete later this year and is eager to step back on stage.
“I love bodybuilding. I can still function. I can still be healthy. So, let’s do one more show,” Yamagishi said after coming out of retirement.
Yamagishi’s presence in the IFBB Pro League was impressionable from the start. His feathered quads and balanced upper body were crucial weapons in his arsenal. Competing during the 2000s often, Hidetada switched between two divisions and earned qualifications for the prestigious Mr. Olympia contest in 212 Bodybuilding and the Men’s Open.
His best Olympia finish came in 2015 in the 212, where Yamagishi placed third, behind decorated pros Jose Raymond and seven-time 212 Olympia kingpin Flex Lewis. While it appeared Yamagishi would enjoy his growing YouTube channel in retirement, the returning Masters Olympia event lured him back into bodybuilding.
Following an 11-year absence, the Masters Olympia competition announced its return, which is slated for August 25-27 at the BT Arena in Cluj Napoca, Romania. Shortly after Victor Martinez complained about incentives for the competition, the Masters Olympia organizers divulged the overall prize money for 10 divisions at $229,000.
Hidetada Yamagishi Reflects on Bodybuilding Career, Promises to Be in Shape at 50 for Masters Olympia This August
Despite running a supplement company, Yamagishi believes Masters Olympia is a win-win because it will provide him with more content for his YouTube channel.
“I’ll be 50 this June. The show is on August 25th, so I’ll be on stage at the age of 50.”
“This is my first announcement,” said Yamagishi. “I mean, they don’t pick anyone yet. They will pick athletes on April 25th, so it’s not really official. But I already submitted my application to them. So, we’ll see. I mean, I hope they pick me.”
“I’m praying for Masters 212 Over 40.”
“It’s more for a – I don’t want to say like because it sounds like some people take it offensive but business, one of the business avenues, I want to compete again. Of course, I want to be in shape; I want to be in great shape but I’m doing Bodi Cafe, YouTube — if I compete, everything goes good. It’s simple. If I compete, the more content, the more content for gym. It’s a great coincidence they put Masters Olympia back,” said Hidetada Yamagishi.
According to Yamagishi, he’s not coming back to compete for the money and says he’s already achieved the American Dream thanks to bodybuilding.
“Of course bodybuilding, okay, it’s not – I’m not making money from competing, I’m spending money but still bodybuilding has made me in this position, it made my American Dream come true. I’m still on my way but, this is where I come from. They always say don’t forget where you come from, this is where I come from.”
At Yamagishi’s last contest, he took 14th place at the 2020 Olympia contest in the 212 division.
“Last time I competed in 2020, I didn’t feel like I belonged to the Olympia stage. I was okay, on the Olympia stage, I was thinking, ‘Do I belong to this?’ To be honest, I wasn’t belonging there but I just competed because I qualified so that was the last time.”
Before retiring a few years ago, the 49-year-old was having problems building his arms, which he suspects was caused by a nerve issue.
“Looking back, I switched to 212 around 2014, 2013. And last time I competed as an Open, I think it was 2012. Before that, before that time, I was competing just you know, I diet, I didn’t really think about it or think about anything, I just competed and did it well. Then, everything clicked. Then, 2012 I started doubting myself because something wasn’t right.
When I was in prep, I wasn’t getting in shape as quickly as I used to be. I start seeing some body parts like missing, especially my biceps. Now, I think it’s a nerve issue or something,” Hidetada added.
Fans have been taking note of who might compete at the upcoming Masters Olympia event. Initially, there was hope Lee Priest might come out of retirement, but he later clarified that chest atrophy is keeping him away from the stage. In addition, the last Masters Olympia winner, 2012 champ Dexter Jackson, would be a definite favorite if he chose to enter.
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With approximately five months until Masters Olympia, the lineup for the show is still taking shape. Popular 212 talent Kamal Elgargni has expressed interest in the Masters Open but said his decision will depend on the prize money. Other high-profile names like Johnnie Jackson are weighing their options as well.
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