Johnnie Jackson is on the verge of a bodybuilding comeback. In a recent Muscular Development interview, Jackson said he’s seriously considering an entry into the upcoming Masters Olympia contest, scheduled for August in Romania.
“I miss the stage so much. I miss the journey. I miss the posing. I miss the crowds. I miss feeling like I’m significant amongst my peers and fans,” Johnnie Jackson shared.
Jackson’s career spanned from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, at which time he maintained his status as one of the best bodybuilders in the world. Known for his detailed upper body and intense training methods, Jackson competed at over 80 pro shows during his tenure. While pushing himself in the IFBB Pro League, Jackson shared the stage with countless Mr. Olympias like Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, and Phil Heath.
In addition to the time he spent on stage, Jackson has established himself as a notable powerlifter. Some regard him as one of the strongest bodybuilders to ever compete. He’s taken part in various powerlifting meets and has routinely showcased impressive feats of strength.
Last December, the 2023 Masters Olympia competition received an official date and location following an 11-year absence. The event will be held from August 25-27, at the BT Arena in Cluj Napoca, Romania. Given the show’s impending return, Johnnie Jackson appears motivated to prove himself on stage once again.
52-yo Johnnie Jackson Says 2023 Masters Olympia Comeback Is ‘In The Works’
Talking with Ron Harris, Jackson revealed that he’s ‘mulling over’ the idea of competing at the next Masters Olympia contest.
“Nobody reached out to me, and I haven’t applied yet. I’m mulling it over. It’s still in the works. I’m totally thinking about it. I mean, I miss competing like you would miss your left hand if it wasn’t attached to your body anymore. I’m really honestly, I’m not one of those guys who is like, ‘yeah I’m happy in retirement.’
Which I am happy in retirement too,” said Jackson. “So yeah, it definitely when it first came about, just rumors, I was like, ‘whoa are you kidding me!’ I have to admit when it first came about, I was way more hyped about it then than I am now,” says Johnnie Jackson.
Last year, Jackson spoke with Dennis James about the Masters O and shared his trepidation due to having to take more steroids/PEDs. In this interview, he explained that he will know with 100% certainty if he’s returning by mid-February.
“It’s been a little while because it was kind of like yes, no, yes, no, then I got worn out by it. Then it was like, well I should move on. I’m dad now. So let me do my dad stuff. But I have to say, since they announced it, each day more and more I’m thinking about it. I figure by mid-February I will be in or out. By mid-February I have to say yes or no. More and more every day I’m leaning towards yes.”
Jackson Compares Branch Warren-Style Training Routines with Other Gurus
Despite working with some of the most well-respected coaches in the sport, Johnnie said he valued his time training with Branch Warren the most.
“Absolutely [I still train like Branch Warren]. 100% – all that shit that was said when I was younger… I’m not going to be able to move, I’m going to get hurt. Bob Cicherillo is one of the first names to come up in my head because he was on my ass, ‘what are you doing, you got to stop heavy squatting,’ yeah – I’m still heavy squatting. I don’t deadlift as heavy as much, but I never did honestly.”
“I worked with some of the best guys in the world. Chris Aceto, Charles Glass, Milos Sarcev, Dennis James — and yeah, still, those guys they can get you as close to perfect in the timing as you can but if you sit down and talk to them, they would tell you, it’s a hat trick, it’s still a hat trick [getting bodybuilders ready for shows].”
According to Johnnie, there are several ways to train at the gym, so it’s important to try different styles.
“I trained with Milos, you know Milos’ style of training, Dennis’ style of training, I’ve done those different styles of training, of course. I always mention there’s 50 million thousand ways to work out. You got to find out which one works for you and changes your body. And that [training with Branch Warren] I enjoyed, and it changed my body.”
With the Masters Olympia return on the horizon, other veterans of the sport have discussed their chances of a surprise entry. Fans thought Jay Cutler might attempt a comeback after his physique made the rounds online, however, the bodybuilding legend quickly dismissed the idea, mentioning that he’s transforming his body as part of a ‘fit for 50’ challenge.
Jackson’s close friend and training partner Branch Warren also talked about Masters Olympia. While he’s maintained size and fullness in retirement, Warren said he had no intention of returning to compete, echoing that he no longer wants to take bodybuilding drugs.
The last Masters Olympia contest took place in 2012 and was won by Dexter Jackson. Should Johnnie Jackson enter the show in August, it will be his first competition since winning the 2017 Toronto Pro.