by Matt Weik
It's hard to compare anything to Olympia, but the Arnold Classic 2020 in Columbus, Ohio could be the biggest show of the year (maybe even bigger than Athleticon). While there is still a lot of excitement around the Olympics (I know Dan Solomon will bring an amazing production), the potential cast could be poor this year as well.
While many competitors (like Brandon Curry) say goodbye to the competition at any show other than the Olympics, the door for the best of the best opens to jump on the Arnold Classic 2020 stage and take home a nice paycheck. The lineup for the Arnold Classic 2020 is stacked pretty well, which makes this show extremely interesting. Some of the competitors you can expect are:
Sergio Oliva Jr.
Frankly, that's an Olympic lineup right there. I'm not even sure how you can predict the top five – it's that great. Bonac is always a threat, Dexter is the timeless miracle, Lenartowicz looks great, Patrick Moore impresses many people, Cedric has won it before, Ramy and Roelly will fight for the game of size and who knows if anyone else can jump into the lineup , Overall, this list of names for the Arnold Classic 2020 should make people look forward to the trip to Columbus.
2020 Arnold Classic vs. Olympia vs. Athleticon
This year will be incredibly exciting for bodybuilding fans. Not only does female bodybuilding come back to many levels, we can also see people like Phil Heath and the revival of Flex Lewis in the open class.
Flex Lewis actually raises an interesting question: "Will Flex compete at the Arnold Classic 2020 to qualify for the Olympics?" Flex reminds me a lot of Hadi Choopan, and we all saw what he was capable of at the 2019 Olympics he took third place. If Flex qualified early in the year, he would have the rest of the year to prepare for the Olympics, where he could do damage.
And what happens when Hadi Choopan can get his visa and get back on the Olympic stage? That would be a nice sight! He could easily shoot down most of the guys in the 2020 Arnold Classic cast, making him a threat to any stage he adorns.
What about Phil Heath? I very much doubt that we will see Phil Heath as a competitor at the Arnold Classic 2020, and I actually think he can survive the Olympics well and help The Rock get back on stage with Athleticon. We've been waiting since the 2018 Olympics to see what's next for Phil. Would he come back? Would he retire? When he comes back, what will he look like and try to beat the record for Olympic victories? Although he doesn't get younger, he could easily come back and win more if he really wanted to (which I hope he does). He pointed to a return in 2020, the only question that is still open is WHEN?
And what about Kai? Kai has been asking for a hint of a return to the stage for years, but for the most part everyone has rejected the opportunity and moved on. However, Kai is a major threat. Kai is in shape all year round and always seems to be a few weeks away from entering a stage. Can you imagine what it would mean for the Arnold Classic 2020 if it suddenly appeared? I still wonder what Kai has in the tank. I know he would do a good show, but if he goes on a diet, what else can he do on stage? I would like to see it.
One competitor that I think we won't see him on any stage this year is Shawn Rhoden. His pro status is still in the air and at the time of writing this article I still don't think he paid his contributions to IFBB to maintain his pro card status. Even if he does, it may be too late for him to attend the Arnold Classic 2020. We still know he's not welcome to the Olympics, and who knows with his pending lawsuit if he can even prepare for a show this year (assuming he's got a good reputation at IFBB again)? Maybe Athleticon would be a good show for him to cause a stir again? A showdown between Phil and Shawn would cause a sensation in the industry and give us all something to talk about and excite.
What distinguishes the Arnold Classic from the rest?
I think this is a show with the biggest show of the year, alongside the rivals at Arnold Classic 2020. I haven't been to Olympia 2019, but what I've heard from multiple sources is that it's not nearly like that was as big as it used to be. Many supplement brands are leaving Olympia to use other marketing opportunities that will give them a better return on investment.
The Arnold Classic has always been known for its exhibition and this year it could be interesting. Will it continue to grow, or will brands also prevail for Athleticon and join the show to cause a sensation? I work with many brands and one common denominator is that they skip the Olympia for Athleticon – to build on the fact that it's a huge tie.
This year, too, you can expect exhibitors to hand out a number of giveaways to get the samples into the hands of consumers. I expect the usual suspects to have stands, but I see smaller companies registering for stand space at the show to make their companies known.
Are you planning to attend Arnold Classic, Olympia or Athleticon 2020? Which one do you participate in and why? Let us know in the comments.