by Matt Weik
Without actually being there, it’s hard to tell what happened at the Chicago Pro. Obviously the pictures can be found all over the internet, and mouths fell out again when Hunter Labrada took the stage. But the big shocker of the show is probably Roelly Winklaar. I mean what happened We’re talking about a top 5 bodybuilder at the Olympics who barely squeezes into the top 5 at the Chicago Pro!
The Olympics are fast approaching, and after Roelly couldn’t make the Olympics 2020 due to positive tests for COVID, could his chances for 2021 be slim? It may be too early to say with a few more Olympic qualifiers that it goes before the big dance, but the question needs to be asked.
Can Roelly even come to the 2021 Olympics?
First of all, I’m a huge Roelly fan. I think the guy is hilarious and every time you see him he jokes and makes people laugh. This is exactly what we need in sport. I think the guy has one of the craziest physiques we’ve seen in a long time and obviously the fans on stage love him. We didn’t see much of Roelly, though, and when he performs in Chicago one wonders if he’ll be able to make it to Orlando this year.
I’m not about to downplay the physique of the Chicago Pro. If you look at the guys who placed themselves in front of Roelly like Hunter, Brett Wilkin, Maxx Charles and Mohamad Shaaban, they brought it with them. But at the same time, not a single one of these competitors was anywhere near the top 5 at the Olympics. Hunter finished 8th at the 2020 Olympics, which was a fantastic achievement considering it was his first time on the Olympic stage. I predict that Hunter has great chances of placing himself even better at this year’s Olympics.
But what I’m getting at is the fact that Roelly couldn’t even beat the four men in front of him at the Chicago Pro. What happened? Could the whole break have thrown him back? At the 2020 Olympics we saw pictures of Roelly looking drastically scaled down, but his stamina was absolutely insane. Everyone thought it might be the year Roelly battles for the title – but unfortunately that never happened as he got stuck (due to positive testing) during his travels to the States.
If Roelly can’t beat guys who have never been well placed at the Olympics, how is he supposed to beat Big Ramy, Brandon Curry, Hadi Choopan, William Bonac, Phil Heath (when he returns to the Olympic stage)? Is the name of Hunter Labrada included now? Roelly has plenty of room to catch up if he plans to travel to the Orlando 2021 Olympics.
Roelly has his eyes set on the upcoming Tampa Pro, but even then, he’ll find himself back in the middle of a pretty good lineup, especially with another monster like Iain Valliere getting on the show.
Damn if you do … Damn if you don’t – Roelly’s dilemma
Roelly has always been an overly muscular bodybuilder. It didn’t matter who he was standing next to, he was a solid block of muscles. He dwarfed many of the men he was standing next to. But the only thing that always held him back was his conditioning.
Sure, he was leaps and bounds ahead of many competitors from a total mass standpoint, but that doesn’t mean anything if your conditioning is off. Sure, watching a freak run on stage is fun, but if his body is his business and he needs to be well placed to take home any kind of money, his conditioning needs to be on point.
A few years ago we saw a change in Roelly’s physique. He started working more on his midsection – a pain point for most of his professional career. Again, Roelly was a huge bodybuilder, but once he relaxed his core, you’d think his water was going to break any second. And it wasn’t just Roelly who was struggling with stretching, it was one of the main negative areas of focus that people looked at with his physique.
With more work he validated, Roelly’s midsection really improved. So much so that he was able to take a vacuum pose that most participants in the Men’s Open can only dream of. At this point, Roelly’s stamina was getting tighter, his 3D look got more pronounced, but even then he wasn’t well placed at the Olympics.
It’s like Roelly is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t when it comes to balancing his size and stamina. People say he’s too big and it costs him points if he doesn’t get on show conditioning and then he downsizes and gets in conditioning, but it’s still not enough. It must be frustrating for him.
At the Chicago Pro, however, Roelly just didn’t hit the mark. As the show went on, he lost his toughness, he looked flatter and softer with every pose, and by the end of the show it was clear that Roelly had faded … LOT.
Frustrated must be an understatement for what Roelly is feeling right now. Where does he go with his build from here? Obviously, he has to maintain his stamina at shows, which he did not achieve in Chicago. But what else does he have to do to convince the jury and oust the other bodybuilders on stage? Normally you’d say it’s time to get back to the drawing board, but with so many changes to Roelly’s physique over the years, what is really left to change?
It will be interesting to see how Roelly fares at the Tampa Pro and whether he can oust the other competitors and crack his ticket to the 2021 Olympics. What do you think? Will Roelly make it to this year’s Olympia?