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At the upcoming Mr. Olympia, fans in attendance will have the chance to vote and influence the results.
At the pre-judging on Friday, Sept. 14, and at the following day’s finals, those at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas will be given access, via their mobile devices, to enable them to vote on the outcome of the contest. Their votes will count toward the official decision. Collectively the fans will be included as an additional judge on the voting panel. If they choose a different winner than the other judges, that competitor will be awarded the honor of becoming the inaugural People’s Champion. (To get your tickets and become part of Olympia history, go to mrolympia.com.)
Throughout the years, certain competitors, for various reasons, have held the mantle of the People’s Champion long before it became an official title. Günter Schlierkamp is one of the outstanding competitors who has unofficially been given the People’s Champ accolade by the masses.
At the behest of Joe Weider, Günter Schlierkamp was given a special invite to the 1998, 2000, and 2001 Olympias, where he finished 15th, 12th, and 15th, respectively. He was given another special invite for the 2002 Olympia, and no one predicted an upturn in his fortunes. But that year the giant German finished fifth and received a standing ovation, almost unprecedented in Olympia history. Three weeks later at the GNC Show of Strength staged in New Orleans, the 290-pounder caused a sensation by beating five-time O champ Ronnie Coleman and became the People’s Champion. It still remains only the second time in the 53-year history of the Olympia that the incumbent of the throne has been beaten in a contest other than the Mr. Olympia. (The only other occasion was when Arnold Schwarzenegger beat reigning Mr. O Sergio Oliva at the 1970 Mr. World before wresting the Olympia crown from him two weeks later.)