As Olympia approaches, a lot of attention is given to Big Ramy, Hunter LaBrada and Nick Walker. And it should. The competition between these three – and probably a few more – will be just like it was then.
These three bodybuilders seem to be the guys making the most noise on social media about their potential at this year’s Olympia. That doesn’t mean we’re not talking about anyone else. It’s just that these three seem to get more attention than the other guys in the lineup. I think it’s normal for the season. Before the Olympia, everyone invents their own imaginary podium.
Whichever order you imagine them in, one thing is pretty clear: Big Ramy, Hunter LaBrada and Nick Walker are coming in more than the other 30 qualified guys. For many enthusiasts, these three names jump off the page.
I’m sure there are arguments raging up and down about Brandon Curry as the 2019 Mr. Olympia; or William Bonac, who I’ve talked about on many podcasts, is 100% lethal; or Hassan Mostafa, who at 51 took a hugely controversial second place finish at this year’s Tampa Pro, and has all the tools in the box needed to pack a rubber band. The same goes for the guy who beat him, Akim Williams.
And, let’s not forget one of the most improved bodybuilders, Derek Lunsford. However, as good as these guys are, at their best, they can’t slip up unless Nick or Hunter come loose slightly. But these are not the headliners. If these guys don’t even end up making the top 10, it’s too late. If their names are not announced in the first legend, the arena will burst. And not in a good way.
But, the gods of Olympia have something up their sleeves, and this year is no different, as all of these men have their flaws. Which is nothing new. But for some reason this year, some people are focusing, what I think is canceling the attention, on the quirks that each of these men brings with them, especially Big Ramy.
Are we picking nits here, or are we talking about issues that could potentially cost points? Granted, there are other contestants who could win the show who might have fewer issues/imperfections, but, as previously stated, these three guys seem to be making the most noise, with the discussions seeming less about who could win, but rather why someone maybe not.
Let’s start with the obvious: Big Ramy
The reigning Mr. O causes commotion not for who he is, but for his particular situation. It appears that Big Ramy has a golf ball-sized divot in the distal portion of each of his outer quads, with his right looking more severe than his left. Now, that’s nothing new. He had them last year and the year before. They do, however, seem a little more pronounced today than in the past. It couldn’t be for any other reason that he’s leaner now. Or maybe it’s something else?
It’s “something else” that’s gotten so much attention, that those little dimples have been the subject of not only an impressive number of IG posts, but entire podcasts! Whatever those things are, it speaks to what makes social media so wicked.
Because all you need is your typical anti-steroid crusader to lure his inexplicably high audience into believing drugs must be the cause, which triggers a tidal wave of false negativity. which is so profoundly stupid that it is painful to read. Peanut galleries of self-glorified pundits ranting, barely coherently, about how “drugs are ruining sport”. This despite the fact that they not only still watch, but we also gave them Physique and Classic Physique to try and assuage their yearning for a time when bodybuilders took less drugs – no drugs, just less, supposedly.
The sequence is as wicked as it is miraculous. Without even a shred of knowledge, testimony or first-hand evidence, the public discourse suddenly changes its impression, and an insignificant smudge becomes empirical evidence that drugs are (again) ruining sport.
Ramy’s quadrilaterals are either scar tissue or a sign of nerve damage from the constant injection of his quadriceps, according to the ‘experts’. The focus being that his drug use is excessive, not because they actually know him and know firsthand what he’s doing, but because there are divots in his quads!
Now, I’m not sure which is more alarming here: the sheer idiocy of such a thing, or the number of people who consumed it like an energy drink, and went up in flames in such a frenzy that they would blame Mr. Olympia for ruining the sport, just like his quads—ugh. This is what happens when you don’t limit your children’s online sessions at an early age.
According to Big Ramy’s trainer, Dennis James, who was in Dubai with Big Ramy when he had an MRI scan of his quadriceps, the results showed there was no scar tissue, no necrosis. There was absolutely nothing to indicate that the injections had anything to do with it. There was also no evidence of a tear or break. What Dennis explained looked like a small area of muscle belly, where a bunch of muscle fibers stuck together caused “sticking,” which could restrict blood supply to the area, resulting in a divot.
On another podcast, Big Ramy’s diet coach Chad Nichols further emphasized the fact that Ramy’s quads have always been an issue. The very first thing he employed when he started working with him was extensive deep tissue scraping work to break up adhesions and increase blood flow. So Big Ramy’s trainer and his diet coach both agree, based on hard evidence and first-hand knowledge, that drugs and injections have nothing to do with it; there are no tears or other damage, and the issue is noted as resolved.
Now for the big question, does it matter? To answer that, I have to bring up the other two gentlemen in the title. Are the remains of Hunter LaBrada’s pectoral tear important? And Nick Walker’s sinuous calf veins? Are either of these gentlemen at risk of having their ranking affected? No. That’s like saying the value of my bike is affected because of the one square millimeter stone chip on the front fender. Would we prefer no stone chips? Sure, but everyone has a stone shard. So the idea of perfection is ridiculous. Penalizing someone for an imperfection is worse.
With that argument crushed forever, I think I see a reason why social media is so consumed with these three guys. Beyond the normal love and hate raging with any interesting and heated rivalry, this year is almost like a time capsule opening up before our eyes.
There was a time when this almost exact amalgamation of champions competed on the Olympic stage. In 1987, the top three bodybuilders in the world were Lee Haney, Rich Gaspari and Lee LaBrada. Haney, an incredibly big and unbeatable man, was a bit more into his eight-year reign at Olympia than Big Ramy is today.
At the time, Gaspari was a relative newcomer and Olympia’s youngest competitor in history. He was a tough, dense block of striated muscle that belied his youth and literally shocked the world when he came out of nowhere two years before and clinched a third-place finish on his first attempt at Olympia, then second behind Haney. the next one. Look at Gaspari next to Haney in 86, 87 and 88, and Walker next to Ramy today, and the evolution is clear. Walker is the Gaspari of our time, and he poses as much of a threat to Big Ramy as Gaspari did to Haney. Maybe even more. Not only does Walker bring Gaspari-style conditioning, but he’s also downright MASSIVE.
That leaves us with the initiator and emulator – Lee LaBrada and his son, Hunter. This is the ultimate rarity in our world; it’s like the comet that passes every 12,000 years. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the main story of the whole weekend. Beyond his insane bulk and condition, that’s a big reason why people talk about Hunter. Out of nearly eight billion people on the planet, history has allowed only one man, a former Olympian, to see his son compete at the Olympia. The only other Olympia sire/son line is to junior and senior Sergio Oliva. Unfortunately, Senior never saw Junior compete. Lee is the only human on earth, so far, for whom the stars are so aligned. And he should be proud. His son is as much of a threat to the Sandow now as he was then.
I was not in Gothenburg, Sweden for the 87 Olympia. I haven’t seen Haney, Gaspari and LaBrada on stage in person. But, from everything I’ve seen of this lineup over the years, if this year gives us a podium finish of Big Ramy, Nick Walker and Hunter Labrada, it’ll be like seeing an ’87 ghost. LaBrada or Walker could interrupt Big Ramy’s reign? I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s certainly not impossible. If that happens, or if LaBrada beats Walker or vice versa, it won’t be because of an imperfection.
Am I predicting that when the curtain falls on December 18, these three men will take the podium? I don’t have to. As the hours get closer and closer to showtime, social media will continue to heat up. I hope the speech lends itself to something more positive than the three-year-old quadruple divots. Unfortunately, social media and human nature being what it is, I don’t have much hope. The show will have to speak.
#Heres #internet #Olympia