Mamdouh Elssbiay, Brandon Curry and Top Contestants Competing at 2022 Mr. Olympia

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured Columnist IDecember 17, 2022

Mamdouh Elssbiay, Brandon Curry and Top Contestants Competing at 2022 Mr. Olympia

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    Egyptian bodybuilder Mamdouh Elssbiay, aka Big Ramy, poses on stage during a competition at the Arnold Classic Brazil 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 30, 2015. The 3rd annual multi-disciplinary sports competition is named after Austrian-American actor, politician and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.   AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA        (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)
    Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

    The burning question when it's time to crown Mr. Olympia at Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend isn't if a top competitor can win, but how many times in a row he can claim the prestigious Sandow trophy.

    For Lee Haney and Ron Coleman, it was eight consecutive wins. For Phil Heath, it was seven straight. And for the sport's most famous bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was six in a row (seven total).

    If reigning champion Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay can outmuscle the field this year at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night, he'll have a three-peat.

    In addition to taking home some hefty hardware, the winner will claim an unspecified portion of the $1.6 million total prize purse.

    Last year, Elssbiay flexed his way to a $400,000 payday, so it's likely that will be the amount paid out for the 2022 winner as well.

    Pre-judging kicked off on Friday, with top contestants like Elssbiay, Brandon Curry and William Bonac revealing the bulked-up packages they are bringing to the Mr. O stage this time out.

    Curry, who didn't participate in 2021, could be Elssbiay's biggest threat considering that he won back in 2019 and was the runner-up in 2021.

    Hadi Choopan took third last year, so he might bring the kind of physique that could thwart Big Ramy, and then there's fan favorite Nick Walker, who won the Arnold Classic in 2021 and placed fifth at Mr. Olympia last year.

    Heath has become something of an ambassador for the sport, and he'll be on the scene for this year's event. So get those protein shakes ready bodybuilding fans, this one should be as good as getting that new personal best on the bench press.

    Here's how to watch and a closer look at the top contenders.

Mr. Olympia TV Schedule

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 02: Brandon Curry (1) and William Bonac (12) shake hands after Bonac was awarded second place, making Curry the champion of the Arnold Classic as part of the Arnold Sports Festival on March 2, 2019, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Saturday, December 17

    Mr. Olympia Finals (7 p.m. ET, Olympia TV)

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Mamdouh Elssbiay

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 07: Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay (9) competes in the Arnold Classic as part of the Arnold Sports Festival on March 7, 2020, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    To be the champ, you have to beat the champβ€”or, at least, that's how the saying goes. If any of the challengers are going to knock off Big Ramy, they're going to have to outshine one massive physique.

    Winning is a habit for Big Ramy, and if he wins this year, he'll become just the ninth bodybuilder to win three Mr. Olympia titles.

    Right now, he's the favorite, and it's easy to see why.

    He's massive and continues to put together a muscular, symmetrical, vascular and shredded package on display for the judges.

    Normally, the Egyptian bodybuilding champion likes to compete at 300 plus pounds, but this year, he's rumored to be looking at 295 pounds.

    The last champion to go on a run was Heath, who reigned supreme from 2011 to 2017.

    If Big Ramy is at the top of his game on Saturday night, it's going to be tough for anyone to beat him, and he can officially begin to chase the likes of Schwarzenegger, Heath, Coleman and Haney.

Brandon Curry

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 02: Arnold Schwarzenegger presents the championship trophy to Brandon Curry (1) after Curry won the Arnold Classic as part of the Arnold Sports Festival on March 2, 2019, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Three years ago, Brandon Curry swept the sport by winning Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic in the same season.

    He was knocked off his pedestal by Big Ramy in 2020, and he's been trying to reclaim it ever since.

    The former football player has come close, placing second two years in row (2020, 2021), so he's right in the mix.

    Known for his symmetry and size, Curry looks like he's back on track having won the 2022 Classic, so if he was able to harness that and use it as momentum for Saturday night, he could be the first bodybuilder to win the Mr. O, lose it and then come back to win it again since Jay Cutler did it in 2009.

    But to beat Big Ramy, Curry will need to add some bulk to his usual well-conditioned physique.

    For his part, the reigning champ predicted Curry will be among his biggest competition for the Sandow on the Nothin But A Podcast (h/t Sportskeeda), so this final should live up to the hype.

William Bonac

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    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:  William Bonac of the Netherlands poses during the Arnold Classic Pro Show during the Arnold Sports Festival Australia at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on March 17, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Big Ramy also suggested William Bonac is another threat to take his bodybuilding crown, as is Hadi Choopan.

    Bonac took sixth place at the Mr. O last year, so he's got some ground to cover to overtake Choopan, who came in third.

    Nicknamed "The Conqueror," Bonac has two Arnold Classic wins under his belt (2018, 2020) and has placed in the top five at Mr. Olympia from 2016 to 2020.

    A model of bodybuilding consistency, Bonac is out to add another component to his repertoire: size.

    "Size. Size is going to be different," Bonac said on his YouTube channel when asked about what was different about his Mr. Olympia prep this year. "The conditioning is not something that I have a problem with, it's more the size. So now, I will have the size to be comparable with those beasts on stage.

    "It was the only thing I was missing probably. So why can't I do that?"

    Fans will have to tune in Saturday night to see if he did and can conquer the stage.

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