The 2023 Mr. Olympia provided not only entertainment from many talented athletes but also plenty of drama following the event. In a recent Old School Labs podcast, Samir Bannout gives his take on what went down during the 59th edition of the Olympia.
“Again, I’m happy. He made my prediction come true! As you know, I went Derek, Hadi, Samson, Andrew, and Brandon and Hunter Labrada for sixth. So I’m very close, I was like 99% accurate,” Bannout shared.
It was a mind-blowing 2023 Mr. Olympia competition, with some titleholders falling and others reigning supreme. In the Men’s Open headliner, former 212 Olympia Derek Lunsford shined in his sophomore year on the big stage. Having narrowly defeated his teammate Hadi Choopan, Lunsford walked away with the gold and left Orlando, Florida as the sport’s first-ever two-division Mr. Olympia champion.
Aside from the top two finishers, the towering Samson Dauda dominated the stage en route to finishing with bronze. His combination of shape, conditioning, and symmetry proved to be a challenging package to stand against.
Samir Bannout Breaks Down 2023 Mr. Olympia Drama Between Hadi Choopan And Derek Lunsford
While the contest is over, fans have argued the controversial outcome online, with many suggesting Choopan should have won. Despite the backlash, Derek Lunsford plans to represent the sport to the best of his ability. The latest to assess the leftovers from Mr. Olympia is former champion Samir Bannout, who joined John Hansen for a candid discussion on the Men’s Open class.
Firstly, Bannout congratulated Derek Lunsford on his incredible win, acknowledging that he believed Lunsford would claim the victory before he took to the stage.
“It’s good in a way. But regardless, in my opinion, first of all, let me just say congratulations to Derek. We both predicted Derek is going to win. He was really fantastic. Yeah this Mr. Olympia was really really really tough. It wasn’t a walk in the park for Lunsford. Let’s be honest here.”
“I always want to see the best man win without a doubt. You know there was some kind of major controversy here. You know I’m always going to tell you the truth with what I saw. I was kind of shocked that Hadi lost completely in the prejudging. This is something for me personally… it’s unacceptable okay? But maybe the judging criteria has changed.”
While he can understand why Lunsford narrowly won, Bannout backed Choopan as the rightful champion:
“From my own eyes, yeah, Derek won the back because Derek has a beautiful body. If you asked me what body would I want, I would have wanted Derek’s body. But based on the judging, based on what I saw here and you know me we always talk about the 24-carat look – the quality… Hadi’s quality was beyond unbelievable in the front.
However, his back was not as hard. But, I honestly gave the nod for Hadi. As much as I love Derek, Derek is my friend, you and I were in Tampa, and I told him no one was going to touch him,” said Bannout.
As for Hadi Choopan storming off stage, Bannout doesn’t agree with his actions. Despite rumors of a potential suspension, Bannout believes Choopan should only receive a warning.
“There’s no doubt about it, I totally agree with you, Hadi should not walk off the stage. Hadi should not but I put myself in his shoes. Being the frontrunner, being like, you know, you can get the call, so he congratules Derek, he was nice.”
“I don’t know, just put yourself in his shoes. I would personally, I’m against that, I’m against that 100% but I would give Hadi a warning, not a suspension from what I heard. I think Jim will probably give him a warning that this such thing should not happen again,” Bannout shared.
Lastly, Samir Bannout took a closer look at Samson Dauda’s potential. He believes with enough conditioning and “24-carat quality” Samson could one day win the Mr. Olympia.
“He looked good [at 2023 Olympia]. Again, I could improve his quality by 10% then he would have probably be winning,” added Samir Bannout.
“So, Milos’ arsenal is different than Chris Aceto’s arsenal is different than Hany’s arsenal. That’s important to know. I know I’m talking to the average Joes out there but I’m talking to you bodybuilders who know professional prep. If you resort your last minute to drying up and forcefully take some of that water out, sometimes it doesn’t work properly. It works against you at times. The skin thickness goes by certain things when you’re huge it’s kind of altered.”
Bannout added that if Dauda wants to dry up the proper way, he has to avoid taking “certain things simultaneously.”
“Until he does these things, get that 24-carat quality, that saran wrap skin, if he gets that, he’ll win. It’s not his size, I think he sacrificed some size to get to that condition. It’s nearly impossible when you take certain things simultaneously and try to dry up,” explained Samir Bannout.
“I guarantee you Hany isn’t doing that, Aceto isn’t doing that, but then again, it’s up to him and his coach.”