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QUESTION: Is the Mr. Olympia rigged?
ANSWER: It’s not. We have a system in place to ensure fair judging. Here’s how it works: The Olympia is judged by a panel of 13 judges—11 judges and two alternates. As a rule, the three highest and lowest scores are dropped. So let’s say three judges score William Bonac in first, three others score him as fifth, and the rest give him second place. The first- and fifth-place rankings would get dropped, then the remaining scores are added. As for why Phil Heath keeps winning? He’s that good! Trust me, from a business standpoint, having different winners helps sell tickets. So there are no “politics” keeping him in first.
Why don’t people like Phil Heath?
If you don’t know Phil, he can come off as cocky and arrogant. But I’ve also noticed a trend where the fans turn on multiyear champs, like Ronnie [Coleman] and Jay [Cutler]. I think people get tired of seeing the same person win. From a fan’s perspective, I get it—it gets boring!
Rumor has it Kai Greene wasn’t allowed to compete in the 2015 Mr. Olympia. True or false?
False—and I’m shocked people still care. It’s very simple: Kai’s contract with Weider was up, and he threatened to not compete unless we renewed it. We didn’t. So he claimed in a video that he wasn’t allowed to compete or go to the O expo. None of that is true. Kai didn’t compete because Kai didn’t want to compete. It was his decision. By the way, the expo is a public event that anyone can attend, so that video was made to play on the emotions of his fans.
What was the most botched Olympia decision of all time?
When Franco Columbu won in 1981. I love Franco and have a great amount of respect for him, but he was a mess that year. One of his legs was smaller than the other due to a previous injury, and he had a massive gyno (man boobs)—he wasn’t the best bodybuilder onstage that night. Most people, myself included, thought Danny Padilla was the clear winner, but he ended up getting fifth.
What’s going on with the Amateur Olympia?
For many years, due to politics and corruption within the IFBB Amateur division, we were limited in where and how many Amateur Olympias we could hold each year. But since last year’s split between the IFBB Amateur and the IFBB Professional League, we’ve doubled the number of Amateur Olympias around the world, including Korea, Kuwait, Spain, and China, to name a few countries. Ultimately this expansion is great for the athletes and the fans.
Robin Chang is the producer of the Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend, the International Director of the IFBB Professional League, and the VP of events for AMI.