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The history behind Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend

The history behind Joe Weiders Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend
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By

Suraj Iyer

Published: 6 Dec 2020 1:36 PM GMT

Bodybuilding in India has been restricted to pageants such as IBBF Mr. India and Mr. Universe titles. However, avid bodybuilding fans know that the world’s biggest bodybuilding competition is Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend, popularly known as Mr. Olympia.

Who was Joe Weider?

Born on November 29, 1919, Joe Weider was a Canadian bodybuilder who was known for many fitness publications such as Shape, Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and more. He first started out into fitness by using car wheels and axles as a set of barbells. He co-founded the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) with his brother Ben Weider and is also responsible for the creation of Mr. Olympia and Ms. Olympia bodybuilding contests.

Mr. Olympia

Throughout the history of the Mr. Olympia contests, there have been many household names and several records. Joe Weider’s intentions with the Mr. Olympia were to allow Mr. Universe contestants to keep competing and earning money. With its inception in 1965, Larry Scott of USA won the first two contests in 1965 and 1966. However, many bodybuilders went on to earn a name for themselves and still serve as inspirations. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane, Franco Colombu, Lee Haney, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler and Phil Heath are some very prominent names who have competed in the contest.

India and Mr. Olympia

Sadly, India is yet to produce a Mr. Olympia. However, there are many bodybuilders who are recipients of the IFBB pro card such as Suhas Khamkar, Junaid Kaliwala, Manoj Patil and more. In 2020, Bhuwan Chauhan will be competing in the Men’s Physique category. He will face competition from Raymont Edmonds, the winner of the Men’s Physique category in 2019 among several others.

Ms. Olympia

In 1980, Ms. Olympia was started as one of the highest-ranking, professional, female bodybuilding competitions. Many prominent names in women’s bodybuilding such as Rachel McLish, Iris Kyle, and Lenda Murray were known in the sport. However, this division saw much controversy to the point were the Ms. Olympia competition was shut down in 2014, until the revival this year where it will be included as part of Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend. According to an article on FitnessVolt, among the many reasons women’s bodybuilding did not flourish was due to the restrictions imposed on their looks. Women were not allowed to develop as much musculature as would be expected of a bodybuilder, and due to lack of finances and attention to women’s bodybuilding, it eventually closed. However, since the announcement in 2019, many fans look forward to the Ms. Olympia contest.

Categories

There are several contests that occur throughout the weekend.

Mr. and Ms. Olympia: These are open bodybuilding competitions without any weight class restrictions.

Classic Physique: Classic Physique is for men who wish to develop more muscles than those in physique, but not as much as open bodybuilding.

Men’s and Women’s Physique: Men and Women in this division are judged on the basis of an athletic and aesthetic physique than a muscular one.

Fitness: Fitness is a women’s category focusing on an athletic look and routine that showcases their level of strength, flexibility and aesthetics.

Bikini: In comparison to other categories, women competing in Bikini have slightly higher body fat. The routine consists of two poses.

Figure: Women competing in figure are leaner and muscular than their Bikini competitors. The routine consists of three quarter turn poses.

Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend 2020 will take place from December 16 to 20.

Also read: The different aspects of bodybuilding and how it is a recognised sport

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