Mr. Olympia 2020: Dates, Schedule, Prize Money, Top Bodybuilders and Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2020

2012 Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath, poses for a portrait Wednesday, September 18, 2013, in Los Angeles. Heath's quest for the Olympia title is the focal point of director, Vlad Yudin's bodybuilding documentary,
Nick Ut/Associated Press

The best bodybuilders in the world will converge on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, to compete for the coveted title of Mr. Olympia 2020. 

Last year, Brandon Curry became a first-time winner of the Sandow Trophy. However, he'll have to best several contenders that weren't in the field in 2019 to become a repeat champion. 

That includes the return of seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Phil Heath. The 40-year-old opted to sit out last year's competition but will go for a record-tying eighth title this year. 

Unfortunately, like most events this year, the contest has been affected by COVID-19. Roelly Winklaar was forced to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for the virus. Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay tested positive for the virus earlier in the year but has received a "special invitation" to join the field and has accepted, per Roger Lockridge of Barbend.com. 

Curry and Heath headline the class of competitors, but there are other top bodybuilders to consider. This is the biggest event on the bodybuilding calendar, and with $400,000 going to the winner of the men's open class, the competition will be fierce. 

The week-long event will see the finals for the 212 division begin at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, December 18. The finals for Mr. Olympia, Men's physique, Bikini and Classic Physique will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 19. 

Here are the top bodybuilders in the field and predictions for the final standings. 

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Brandon Curry

We'll start with the defending champion. Curry won the competition last year, but he has reason to be motivated to repeat as champion. It's fair to say the strength of last year's field was hurt by Phil Heath's absence.

2018 champion Shawn Rhoden was also out of the field as he continued to battle with legal issues stemming from a sexual assault allegation. Rhoden is still being held out of competition until those issues are resolved, per Derek Hall of FitnessVolt

While Rhoden won't return this year, Curry will still need to beat two former Mr. Olympia winners and some qualified contenders to defend his crown. Dexter Jackson won the award in 2008, and William Bonac is coming off a win at the Arnold Classic in March. 

Curry's win in 2019 was a bit of a come-from-nowhere story given his previous best finish at the event was fifth in 2018. Still, he's put on plenty of mass in the chest and shoulders in the lead up to the competition. 

He'll need to come into the show in the best shape of his life to win. 

Prediction: Third

    

Phil Heath

Coming back from a year off, Phil Heath is one of the top storylines of 2020's competition. He is in pursuit to join Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney as the only eight-time winners. 

However, Coleman, who knows a thing or two about winning this thing, doesn't love Heath's chances. He believes taking the time off is something that can and will affect his chances at capturing that eighth title. 

"I would have been more excited last year," Coleman said, per Hall. "This year it's kind of hard to predict, where he had that whole year off and had time to relax and not be a motivated and not be as focused. It's hard to get that back. I remember when I was doing it, and I stopped. I kept saying 'I'm going to go back next year, I'm going to go back next year,' and I never made it back because I never got that mindset back."

Heath has kept his physique fairly well hidden on social media. His Instagram has been relatively quiet in the lead up to the competition, and most pictures posted online haven't revealed too much. 

The fact remains that Heath is now 40 years old and hasn't won the Sandow since 2017. Coleman may have a point that Heath isn't equipped to take a year off and come back as good as ever. 

Prediction Fourth

      

William Bonac

Last year, Brandon Curry rode the momentum of a win at the Arnold Classic to a win at Mr. Olympia. This year, William Bonac has a chance to repeat that feat. 

Bonac placed second in the Arnold Classic in 2019 and followed it up with a runner-up finish at Mr. Olympia, getting beat out by Curry once again. This year he claimed victory in Columbus and could be ready to do the same in Orlando. 

The 5'6" Bonac brings a lot of mass for his frame into the competition. He has to be on-point every time he enters to have a chance to win, but this time, he has been more active than both Curry and Heath in the lead up to this event, so there's a better chance he is in better form than both of them. 

"The Conquerer" has a strong case to win the Sandow for the first time in his career. He doesn't appear as big as either Heath or Curry, but he has impressive symmetry and has the most upside if he shows up in great shape. 

Given his performance at the Arnold Classic, there's a good chance he does that. 

Prediction: First