7-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger shed light on what could have gone wrong for former king Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. Big Ramy is an Egyptian bodybuilder that competes in the Men’s Open division of the IFBB Pro league. He became Mr. Olympia in 2020 and defended his top spot at the 2021 Mr. Olympia. He was a favourite heading into this year’s edition of the Sandows trophy. However, Ramy faced the most difficult line-up in recent memory at the show that took place from Dec. 15 to 18 in Las Vegas, NV.
All the competitors pushed Ramy right from the beginning of the pre-judging stage. While his conditioning seemed a little off, IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger’s decision to place him on the far corner at the final call-out did not do the reigning champ any favours. The title seemed to be slipping out of his hands at this point. Additionally, Hadi Choopan, 2021’s 212 Olympia champion Derek Lunsford and Nick Walker had a dominant showing in the finals. Hadi Choopan emerged victorious and became the 2022 Mr. Olympia. Lunsford and Walker occupied the second and third spot respectively while Brandon Curry took the fourth. Big Ramy completed the top five with the fifth place finish.
Former 212 division competitors like Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford dominated the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Mr. Olympia which is home to some of the biggest bodybuilders from the size perspective. Therefore it is natural for bodybuilding fans to wonder if the judging criteria for the Men’s Open division are undergoing a change.
Arnold Schwarzenegger analyses the possible reasons for Big Ramy’s 2022 Mr. Olympia loss
While doing the post-event analysis of the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to believe judging to be the reason for Ramy’s loss. He then discussed the reasons that could have led to the unexpected defeat. Arnie feels that bodybuilders are placing more emphasis on size than other attributes. As a competitive sport, bodybuilding aims to reward athletes that display an aesthetic physique which is a perfect blend of muscle mass, definition, symmetry, and proportions. Arnold feels that not paying attention to these attributes in totality hurt Big Ramy in 2022 Mr. Olympia. According to him:
“Big Ramy could have won again. I mean all he had to do was just stay the same way he was… Decrease his waist by one inch and increase his calves by one inch. That’s all he had to do all year long and he would have won again.”
Arnie opined that a lot of bodybuilders perceive bigger as better which is not always the case.
“Better is when you create more symmetry, when you create more definition, muscle separation.Then you have a body where one body part doesn’t steal something from the other body part,” He added.
Arnold shared his observation that Big Ramy looks excellent in the front as well as rear double biceps pose. However, his deltoids and upper pectoral muscles are so enormous that they overshadow his massive arms almost instantaneously.
“So there are the kind of things that are extremely important to create a body, to chisel away the body and mould the body to perfection and not to (only make it) bigger,” Arnold stated.
Arnold says the damage is not irreversible, feels Ramy can come back strong
The 7-time Mr. Olympia went down memory lane and shared a similar instance. Sergio Oliva defeated Arnold at the 1969 Mr. World with more definition and size. However, he came back the following year with an additional 10 lbs but lost to Arnold who now had better conditioning and definition.
Arnold feels that Ramy’s errors are not irreversible and he can still make a stronger comeback.
“If he just says I am gonna lose 10-15 lbs or 20, if he chisels down that waist size, get the calves and I am gonna perfect the posing and get rid of a few flaws that I have, it’s totally reversible!” Arnold said.
Could a pre-existing injury be a reason for Big Ramy’s less-than-ideal showing at the 2022 Mr. Olympia?
Professional athletes deal with a fair share of difficulties including injuries in the training room. However, seldom do they shed light on them and take a loss as a loss. Widespread rumors suggest that the bodybuilding lifestyle might have caught up with Big Ramy and that he could have suffered irreversible nerve damage as a result of it. Visual observation suggests that Ramy has lost significant muscle mass. His back, triceps, calves, and quads appear atrophied.
If the rumors are true and Ramy’s is indeed declining, we might already have seen the best of him. However, none of these things have confirmation by Big Ramy or his team. Unless we hear it from the horse’s mouth, the rumored injuries should only be considered rumored injuries and nothing more.
Although disappointed, the former champ is taking the loss in a positive spirit and has promised to come back stronger in a video message to his supporters. Can he rise to the top again? Only time will tell.
You can watch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s analysis here, courtesy of Nick’s Strength and Power YouTube channel: