Australian bodybuilder Lee Priest is celebrated for his longevity with over two decades of competitive experience. In a RxMuscle YouTube video, Priest called for changes to the eligibility criteria for the 2023 Masters Olympia by changing the age cap to 50 and over.
The Masters Olympia competition was started by former Olympia president Joe Weider in 1994. He created the event to provide a platform for older bodybuilders past their prime who still love to compete. Dexter ‘The Blade’ Jackson was the last man to win the Masters Olympia title when the show returned in 2012.
Jake Wood confirmed the contest would make a comeback this season after an 11-year break. The weekend of August 25 was announced as the official date for the three-day event scheduled to be hosted in Cluj Napoca, Romania. It is set to feature 10 divisions from the IFBB Pro League.
Some had mixed feelings about the event’s return. Renowned bodybuilding guru Milos Sarcev expressed his concerns about athletes’ risking their health by overusing steroids at an older age in preparation for the competition.
Bodybuilding veteran Lee Priest indicated his desire to compete at the show but ruled out his participation due to chest atrophy earlier this year. He speculated about the potential contenders and favored the chances of Victor Martinez to take the title if Dexter Jackson and four-time Mr. Ollympia Jay Cutler did not compete.
Two months ago, Martinez opened up about his ambitions to compete at the Masters Olympia. However, made it clear he wasn’t interested in the risks unless the prize money stood at $250,000. In the end, the organizers declared the overall prize money for the show at $229,000 days later.
Former 212 Olympia champ Kamal Elgargni was considering making his way to Romania for the event if the prize money was fit for his needs. And sure enough, the Masters Olympia roster was released and Kamal Elgargni will fight for the Open title in August.
Japanese bodybuilder Hidetada Yamagishi will come out of retirement to contend for the title at the age of 50 in the 212 division. Last week, he made headlines for a ripped physique update where he showed off his insane conditioning levels 18 weeks out.
Lee Priest calls for Masters Olympia to be over 50 & talks about top contenders
In a recent YouTube video, Lee Priest shared his thoughts on the upcoming 2023 Masters Olympia with Dave Palumbo. He called on the organizers to raise the age ceiling to 50.
“I’m still upset though it’s 40 and over,” said Priest. “To me, Masters should be 50 above and you haven’t competed for at least 2 or 3 years. Seeing that $229,000, $9,000 goes to the Masters.”
Priest and Palumbo gave their takes on the competitors and highlighted some missing names.
“A lot of these guys I don’t even know who they are,” said Palumbo. “I see Fred Biggie Smalls is on the list, he’s making a comeback. You’ll probably see some guy who we don’t even expect to do well probably win it. Someone who won the Masters Nationals at 40 years old, never competed their whole life, fresh-looking muscle.”
“Victor Martinez could do it and still do very well,” said Priest.
Palumbo responded, “I don’t know why he isn’t competing. He should. It’s actually a pretty weak lineup when you consider it’s only 40 and over. There are guys actively competing who are 40.
“I’d love to see Phil Heath do the show or Kai Greene.”
They believe Elgargni is the frontrunner to win the event.
“Kamal, who’s probably the highest rated guy in the lineup,” said Palumbo.
“I think Kamal is going to be very hard to beat just because he hasn’t been out of the sport. He’s been competing consistently. It’s going to be hard for guys that haven’t competed in a bunch of years to come back and look that great, especially at that age.”
On April 25, Cutler and IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger announced the full lineups for each division of the 2023 Masters Olympia with Elgargni, Maxx Charles, and Phillip Clahar entering as favorites in the Men’s Open division.
The show will offer fans an opportunity to see some of their favorite bodybuilders of the past take to the stage once again.