Olympia owner Jake Wood recently recently spoke about 2022 Olympia and shared his thoughts on open pro division competitors. The prestigious bodybuilding competition is set to return to its home in Las Vegas for the first time after 2019. Covid-19 imposed restrictions had forced the competition to be held elsewhere in 2020 and 2021. Jake Wood recently visited The Menace Podcast hosted by Dennis James, who will work as a commentator at the 2022 Olympia and spoke about the preparations and prospects of different competitors.
Olympia has had three different owners since its inception 56 years ago. The event was created by Joe Weider in 1965. Wayne DeMilia ran the show from 1984 to 2013. He is largely credited for making it a more entertaining and big show. In 2014, David Pecker of AMI purchased Olympia from DeMilia. Following in Wayne DeMilia’s footsteps, he continued to make it an even bigger affair until Jake Wood bought it in early 2020.
Dennis James will join the commentary team at 2022 Olympia
While speaking about the plan for 2022 Olympia, Jake Wood stated that he is fortunate to not sweat over the details as the team of capable professionals has already set the wheels in motion. While speaking about the PPV webcast, Wood said:
“The plan is same as last year. We want to make it better.”
Dennis James will make his debut as the Olympia commentator in 2022. Jake Wood admired James and stated that he will make a ‘great commentator’. He elaborated further on the responsibilities of a commentator and said:
“It’s kind of nice. I mean, bodybuilding is a big sport. Not everybody knows everything about each division. You really have to be astute. You have to know everything there is, you know about men’s bodybuilding and bikini… Where do these girls compete, how do they qualify. There’s a lot of work…”
Olympia is in negotiations for September to November time slots with Las Vegas venues
Continuing further on return to Las Vegas and holding the event in December, Jake Wood admitted that it was not a month of their choice. Instead, it was a matter of venue available.
“It’s matter of the venue available. Like I said, we have a week-long show. We occupy the hotel from Monday to Sunday. It is hard to find those spaces,” Jake Wood said.
Olympia promoters are currently in negotiations for choosing venue for 2023. While September or October is the preferred time for the competition, Jake Wood stated that majority of hotels in Vegas are fully booked in those months.
“All these hotels particularly in Vegas, they have vacant Decembers. December, there is nothing going on there. They’re looking and asking, ‘well you have your show in December right now. Why don’t…’ They’re trying to push us in December again because they want to fill their December. They know they can fill their November. They know they can fill their September, October but they have a hard time filling their Decembers. They’re using us for that at this point,” Jake Wood said.
He further stated that accepting the December date was a necessity in the past. However, it is working against Olympia at the moment. A viable solution on the situation is still in the works.
Jake Wood gives his picks for 2022 Mr. Olympia
While speaking about the prospects of different competitors in the Open division at the 2022 Olympia, Jake Wood seemed confident in defending champion Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s ability to defend the spot. However, he opined that Big Ramy will have to ‘beat himself’ – take huge leaps forward in terms of improvements to retain his top spot.
“Ends open obviously. Right now, Big Ramy (Mamdouh Elssbiay) will have to beat himself. What I mean by that is the obvious if he doesn’t come in shape, if he decides to do something different, you know, that doesn’t work… Then of course…”
Continuing further, Jake Wood stated that 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry and 2021 Olympia podium finisher Hadi Choopan have the potential to give Big Ramy a run for the money when they step on the stage this December. Jake Wood said:
“Then Brandon’s right there and I love Brandon to death. I think he’s a great champion. I would love to see Brandon win too.”
“Then of course Hadi (Choopan) is coming like he is right there. He’ll bring it,” Jake Wood said.
Jake Wood’s thoughts on up-and-coming talent in the open pro division
The IFBB Open Pro division is in a transitioning phase where a lot of young up-and-comers are challenging the established names of the division. Nick Walker, Patrick Moore, Iain Valliere and Regan Grimes are some young upstarts that have performed really well in the pro circuit in recent times. While speaking about their prospects at Mr. Olympia in near future, Jake Wood stated:
“Can (Nick Walker) stand with Brandon (Curry), can he stand with Big Ramy and Hadi (Choopan)? Maybe we’re gonna see… Hunter Labrada, I think he has great physique. I like what he does. Patrick Moore… If he can get himself where he needs to be… He needs to have that size. Everybody knows what Patrick brings. But he’s got that great symmetry and looks fantastic on stage.”
“You go down the line. William Bonac is always there, you know. Great if he can win. There’s potential, there’s a lot of guys. Iain Valliere? Nice. They’re all right there, you know. Regan Grimes has changed the body and I hope to see him do well too. So…”
2022 Mr. Olympia will take place from December 16th to 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stay tuned with Fitness Volt for regular updates.