by Matt Weik
I'll be on the safe side here and say that 2020 will be the most exciting year for you if you're a bodybuilding fan. Over the years we have seen Kai Greene's disappearance, the death of bodybuilders, the dethronement of Phil, the surgical battles and rehab by Flex Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman, and the legal issues with Shawn Rhoden. I'm ready to move on, and if you make your way through the forest and see the light of the new beginning of 2020, this seems to be a damn good bodybuilding season.
Against this background, there is also a clear dark cloud in the industry. So let's get this out of the way and then move on to the good news. What is going on between the United States and Iran depends on whether third-placed Hadi Choopan can get a visa to compete in the United States this year. I'm sure there will be people trying to pull a few strings, but I'm not sure if it will, which is a shame.
Another athlete in the air is Shawn Rhoden. While I (as a bodybuilding fan) would love to see him on stage to mess things up and see what he can put on stage after he dropped out last year, I personally feel like he does all year long to focus on the process of fighting him. If he is found innocent in 2020, I will see him competing again at the end of the year – provided that all of this is resolved in the next few months and he can prepare properly.
Here is the good news and what bodybuilding fans should look forward to …
Arnold Classic Ohio
I wouldn't say the lineups weren't good last year, but did you see the stacked lineup for 2020? If you are a bodybuilding fan you should book flights and hotels NOW to make sure you are in Columbus this year. As we've all seen for many years, competitors who have already qualified for the Olympics tend to skip the year and ONLY prepare for Vegas.
This year we can expect to see guys like:
Sergio Oliva Jr.
Roelly Winklaar (unless the rumors are true that he won't compete)
There are names like Dexter, Roelly and Bonac in this line-up that I never expected. Who, as a bodybuilding fan, doesn't want the best of the best to compete against each other in more than one show a year? It was my biggest criticism over the years that we only see a few competitors in Vegas and that's it.
Two people who could be sleepers are Patrick Moore and Josh Lenartowicz. Also, don't count Cedric if he is in good shape he could be hard to beat (and he won Arnold in the past).
Arnold Classic Australia
The Arnold Classic Tour is always a good one, as some of the best travel from country to country to attend the Arnold Classic. But if you're a bodybuilding fan this year, you'll be happy. The following people are expected to be in Australia (at the time of this writing):
Sergio Oliva Jr.
As a bodybuilding fan, there are only a few interesting names on this list that I think we should mention. The first being is blessing – known as the boogie man. Blessing is probably one of the most entertaining bodybuilders in the industry and has a crazy sense of humor. One can say with certainty that we have all been waiting to see what Blessing can bring to an IFBB stage. And what will he look like when he's next to another monster like Big Ramy? Only time can tell.
Expect Josh Lenartowicz to take him to his garden. Not that he doesn't do another show, but expects him to be sure that all of his T-shirts are crossed and that I am punctured with his preparation.
And Dexter … this man brings it in 2020. Arnold Ohio, Arnold Australia, Olympia, maybe also the New York Pro and Athleticon? Dex shows no signs of slowing down and at the pace he is going to make it will not be difficult for anyone to break his record of all time victories.
I'm going to jump in here and say we will have a new Mr. Olympia champion in 2020. If you're a bodybuilding fan, you want to see the best of the best on the Olympic stage. but this year I don't think it will happen. Will Flex Lewis take the stage? Maybe not. I believe that both Phil Heath and Flex Lewis will skip the Olympics and prepare for Athleticon (which I'll talk about next).
Many will say that Brandon Curry didn't look like Mr. Olympia's previous winners – and they may be right. But for him he just had to be better than everyone else on stage this weekend. I think if Brandon doesn't improve his condition, he's prone to being hit. Who will rise Maybe Bonac? Roelly? Ramy? Hadi (if he can do it)? It's going to be an interesting weekend in Vegas.
People across the nation are wondering what The Rock will bring to Athleticon? And if I were a betting man, he would BRING EVERYTHING. I think this is the show where Phil Heath and Flex Lewis will make their comeback. I also know that many supplement brands are withdrawing from the Olympia and buying stand space from Athleticon – which could significantly reduce the size of the exhibition space at the Olympia.
This show will be the topic of conversation of the year. As a bodybuilding fan, I'm excited about the vision The Rock has for the show. Since he is a bodybuilding fan himself, do I expect him to make this a HUGE production and maybe even see the show on national television with his status? Doing bodybuilding in front of the mainstream media and / or in public could be a great game to strengthen health and fitness as well as the IFBB.
I firmly believe that 2020, after everything that happens this year, will be the most exciting year for bodybuilding fans and the industry. So, get your popcorn ready!
Which show are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.