by Matt Weik
I am not a fan of politics. However, I understand that military action takes place when there is a threat to the United States or our allies. The recent overseas airstrike that killed an Iranian leader could be the nail in the coffin for Hadi Choopan and his bodybuilding career.
Hadi Choopan started to make his mark
When it comes to bodybuilding, Hadi Choopan has the heart of a champion. He's training like a man on a mission to do serious damage to the industry, and has done everything to make it to the US and show us what he can do for a bodybuilding stage.
That being said, 2019 was maybe the last time we saw him on an Olympic stage. It got down to business last year and many thought it would be another missed opportunity because Hadi had a problem getting his visa to travel to the United States. Because of President Trump's travel restrictions, many visas have been denied and many foreigners have been banned from entering the United States.
We were lucky somehow and were impressed by his presence in Vegas. To be honest, I don't think there was a single person who wasn't happy to see him next to his colleagues and eventually finished third behind Olympic champion Brandon Curry and runner-up William Bonac.
Hungry like a wolf
Hadi Choopan was one of the best 212 competitors we have seen in a long time. He came almost out of nowhere and shocked us all with the physique that he brought on stage. Then we heard that Hadi (similar to Flex Lewis) would move up to the open class. Many thought he was crazy, but when I looked at the muscles on his tiny body, I knew that in every cast he appeared in, he would knock over many of the top guys.
While Hadi worked his magic with his "Pro Creator" coach Hany Rambod, one can say with certainty that he wanted to leave Vegas, Hadi was hungrier than ever to return to the Olympic stage. The fans loved him so much that they gave him the People’s Choice award that Roelly Winklaar won last year. Hadi was a hit in Vegas and if no one knew his name before the show, they absolutely left the show and knew exactly who Hadi Choopan is.
However, the excitement of seeing Hadi Choopan on the Olympic stage stopped screeching all last week when we found out that the United States was attacking an Iranian leader and killing him before their attack. This sent shock waves around the world and Iran vowed to take revenge for its death. President Trump asked the Americans in the region to leave immediately and return to the United States. The actions we witnessed could have sealed Hadi's bodybuilding fate. In fact, I am concerned that Hadi Choopan's career has just ended if he is unable to ever travel to the United States to compete there.
Did Hadi's career end as quickly as it started?
When you look at the successes that Hadi Choopan has achieved, it's hard to believe that he has a bright future in bodybuilding. He won the Mr. Olympia Amateur in 2017, which really boosted his career and triggered a snowball effect on his pro status. He then took second place at the Sheru Classic, second place at the Asia Grand Prix, second place at the San Marino Pro, second place at the Dubai Pro, first place at the Portugal Pro, second place at the Asia Grand Prix and Vancouver Pro-All before third place at the Olympia.
It is difficult to deny that Hadi Choopan has a bright future ahead of him. And while he can compete at any show outside the United States, there's nothing like the Mr. Olympia competition – the Super Bowl of bodybuilding. And the fact that he was so close to stealing the Sandow must have lit a fire in his stomach to come back better than ever in 2020 and have a chance to win it all. But this chance may never come – at least not in the near future.
I will give my opinion and maybe you agree (or not). Watching Hadi Choopan on the Olympic stage was like watching a child run around a candy store. He was clearly the happiest man on the stage. You could see it on his face. The man smiled from ear to ear, joked with the competition, gave them five, slapped them on the back and had fun. Hadi Choopan valued the opportunity to compete on this Olympic stage so much that it's really a shame if he doesn't make it in 2020.
I can't say I know how you got him across in 2019, but I hope you can do something to get him back to the US to compete there. Although I understand the reasons for certain travel bans, Hadi is not a threat on US soil (a bit of bodybuilding humor) – unless he is carrying his posing suitcases on a bodybuilding stage, every bodybuilder should be scared.
Personally, I'm giving Hadi and Hany my hat for the package they brought with them in 2019, and I hope they can find a way to get him back into a bodybuilding formation here in the US so that he can bring us back with his crazy figure can blow away. Even if some are against you, Hadi, I am 100% behind you and support you in your efforts to compete and become the best in the world.