by Christian Duque
When news came that Mr. Olympia had been put up for sale and Jake Wood of Wings of Strength had bought it, the news spread like wildfire. In just five years, WOS has put bodybuilding for women back on the map with a constant number of top-class events that have teamed up with great promoters and brought in considerable fanfare to the division remaining for the dead.
The truth is that women's bodybuilding has always been popular, has always inspired countless, and has always changed lives. I was so happy to see it given the respect it always deserved. WOS saved the day !! These competitions took place when countless women secured their bets – either retiring or falling into the women's physique department. As a visionary, Wood fought against the current and invested a lot of time, effort and resources in realizing his vision.
When Dan Solomon founded Digital Muscle, he created a site like no other. He started building a bodybuilding hub and that's exactly what he did. DM didn't lend itself to all the quarrels on other websites. While others are arguing, Solomon recruited the industry's most talented people and released cutting-edge content. Over the course of a few years Dan was ready for a change, but didn't want to leave his baby. Whoever wanted to buy the empire had to have a vision like Dan's, so it made perfect sense that Jake would be that guy. In fact, Dan Wood had even given my name to Wood as someone to work on the side. I sent some emails over the course of a year and would have loved the opportunity. Who wouldn't?!?! In the end Shawn Ray got the gig and what a great choice it was. Between its WOS competitions, WOS media efforts, and the acquisition of Digital Muscle, the empire was virtually complete. At the Olympics, including a media portfolio with Muscle & Fitness, there is no telling how much Jake can expand the sport.
With all due respect to AMI and David Pecker, this was never a company that understood bodybuilding. Understanding something is not the same as loving it. Still, they did a good job, especially with the decision to put Dan at the top in 2019. Dan and Jake have been friends for more than 10 years. So there is no doubt that together they will achieve more.
Jake's influence was felt last year when it was announced that Ms. Olympia would return to the Super Bowl of Bodybuilding. Perhaps with Wood in the driver's seat at the Olympia, this could affect those who lead Arnold to think about bringing the International back. The strongest advocate of women's bodybuilding is now the most important bodybuilding competition – and it's not just the Olympics in Las Vegas, but all Olympic events worldwide. And that's it, having the words – bodybuilding and lawyer – in the same sentence has been a first for a long time. It will be great to have a real sports fan in the driver's seat of their most important event. Who knows … maybe FLEX Magazine will become independent again? Maybe we'll see a bodybuilder for women on the cover of the FLEX magazine at the kiosk – EVERYWHERE?!?! (Aren't they great ideas? I have MUCH more; Dan has my #).
I met so many people who told me how much better the 2019 Olympics were than in previous years – that's all, Dan and his team. And that was only a year! Imagine what this team, supported by Jake Wood, will do in 2020, 2021 and beyond? Maybe we have more exciting press conferences, more interactive events, and who knows, maybe the event will even move to a nicer host hotel. With new blood, new leadership and much more open communication channels between the leadership and fans, everything is possible – you know, the people who buy the tickets, dress and anticipate the event all year round on message boards and on social media and beyond out !! Making the fans happier is the recipe for success, and believe me, NOTE AND APPRECIATE every effort.
With new events like Athleticon on the horizon, the Olympia needs to keep them fresh and really keep up with the times. Although it's the top title in this sport, it doesn't mean that athletes will always make it their first stop. Just two days ago, I might have had some hypothetical situations in which the Olympics may have faced stiff competition from Arnold and / or the new event in Atlanta, but now there is no doubt in my mind that the future will be promising and prosperous for all parties.
Another key component for Wood, who owns the Olympia, is the fact that he really appreciates the role of the media. Media are very important. That being said, the media are usually treated like crap. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Dan Solomon and Shawn Ray over the years. It makes me very happy that these two guys are where they are, and I think that greater involvement of both the industry and mainstream media will undoubtedly increase production value, increase word of mouth and win more fans for the sport , That is the big picture. We all want to expand bodybuilding, don't we?
Unlike the previous owners, Jake bought this event, knew exactly what he was getting into and how to grow it. This event and its media portfolio are not just one of many different assets that he wanted to acquire. Who and why someone invests in an existing event makes the difference in the world. Obviously, all business people want to make a profit – after all, they don't run charities. However, there are also many different ways to make a profit. In principle, an event can be held in the same way year after year and still be profitable. Or an event can constantly reinvent itself, address new target groups and also be profitable in this way. They can be profitable in many different ways. I suspect that the Roaring 20s will fit very well for bodybuilding, which is largely thanks to Jake Wood.
The sky is currently the limit for bodybuilding. This is probably the best news any of us could ever hope for. I think we will all take our socks off at the 2020 Olympic weekend in September !! Be absolutely sure to be there!
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