Talks surrounding the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition’s results continue to swirl following Derek Lunsford’s legacy-defining victory. In a recent IFBB AMA YouTube video published on November 12, Milos Sarcev, who had a front-row seat of the bodybuilding action at Olympia in Orlando, Florida, recapped the action and discussed why there should be zero controversy since the show’s wrap-up.
After Hadi Choopan raised gold at last year’s Olympia show, discussions stirred online as to whether he had the potential to extend his reign. Heading into this year’s annual event, Lunsford upset Choopan to win his maiden Mr. Olympia title. In the process, Lunsford, who was a former 212 Olympia, made history and became the sport’s first-ever two-division Mr. Olympia champion.
Receiving death threats since his Olympia triumph, Lunsford’s victory lap has been anything but harmonious. Despite the mishaps, Lunsford’s devotion to representing the sport is what makes him such a beloved champion. He recently guest-posed the 2023 NPC Eastern USA Championships, continuing to serve as an extremely visible bodybuilding ambassador.
While his athletes Samson Dauda, Behrooz Tabani, and Marcello De Angelis all participated overseas at bodybuilding shows, Sarcev took a pitstop to break down the epic battle that shocked the world on the 2023 Olympia stage.
Milos Sarcev Confused by 2023 Olympia Controversy, Says The ‘Decision Was Super Super Tight’
“I don’t know what exactly what this controversy is for, people are happy, people are not happy but this is exactly what happened. Judges gave multiple chances. Now think about this: for the top three guys, they had four comparisons in prejudging.First, it was the top six and then they isolated just the top three and they gave every guy a chance to be right in the middle. How detailed can you be? They repeated the same thing at the finals. When you think about it, professional Olympia judges had eight times the chance to observe everything, compare, and make that decision,” explained Sarcev.
And that decision was super super tight. After the prejudging, I don’t know if you checked the scoresheet, two high and low scores are not being counted so the mid-five are being calculated. Derek was winning, Hadi was second, and Samson was third and Samson basically had 13 points which would translate that 4 out of 9 judges gave him second place. So if you think about it, some guys are considering that he was still in running. This is how close this was,” said Milos Sarcev.
As for the controversy surrounding Choopan’s actions on/off the Olympia stage, Sarcev believes that was overblown by fans and stated that he held himself with dignity on stage.
“Today I was on a live Instagram with an Iranian guy pleading with my Iranian brothers of Iron to understand that we do this for a living. We spend our lives in the gym all trying to be better than the other and it’s half the competition, if you don’t win, turn away, congratulate, and come back stronger next year.”
“If it’s super super super close and it’s really you could flip a coin but you still have to make a decision you still have to put someone in first, someone in second, someone in third, you might be inclined, like here, Hadi beat him in this [most muscular] he beat him in the ab shots for sure, but then there’s that back double biceps,” said Sarcev.
Given that Lunsford narrowly took runner-up to Choopan last year, Sarcev believes Choopan and his fans should graciously accept the defeat.
“Look I don’t want to spoil his victory, especially now that he’s somebody is even threatening him. It’s ridiculous guys, Derek and Hadi are teammates, training partners, and friends, Hadi beat him last year, and Derek shook his hand congratulated him. This year it’s the opposite. They are making a big deal about Hadi leaving the stage, Hadi was very gracious in defeat. He congratulated him. Derek accepted it. I was there!”
Before calling it a day, Sarcev disclosed a private conversation he had with Jim Manion about what is expected of Dauda:
“Jim Manion clearly said we’re looking for everything. The size, aesthetics, muscularity, and conditioning and from conditioning, it’s dryness, fullness, hardness, muscle density. You and I and most of the people love yeah shape is number one.”“How much percentage do you want to put on shape? That should be the highest percentage. I don’t want to make new rules, and say shape should account for 60% or something right? But it’s bodybuilding… you want to have beautiful – you don’t just want muscle-building. When we say shape we like superman – a superhero character. This kind of stuff, small waist, and everything. Derek has it but Hadi really doesn’t have it. We label him a little stockier and you know,” shared Sarcev.
Sarcev wasn’t the only high-profile name in bodybuilding looking to assess the Hadi Choopan drama. Bodybuilding veteran Branch Warren broke down the action and thought former 212 champ Derek Lunsford won the Mr. Olympia title by ‘the skin of his teeth.’
This Men’s Open division has never been more exciting and the 2024 season promises to be a big one. With names such as Dauda, Lunsford, Choopan, and Walker hopefully in the mix after his hamstring year, the next Olympia will be massive.