2019 was a memorable year in the sport of bodybuilding. We saw new Olympia champions crowned in five of the eight professional divisions highlighted by Brandon Curry becoming the 15th man to earn the title of Mr. Olympia.
As great as this past season was, time looking back is time that would be better spent looking ahead and 2020 is sure to have a lot in store for fans of all the strength sports. The 2020 Pro League schedule was recently released and competitors across all divisions are already planning their next moves. While there are several shows taking place around the globe, here is a closer look at the bigger shows for the Open men’s division that you can mark on your calendars.
2020 Arnold Classic – March 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio
The Arnold Classic Ohio is considered the second biggest show and the winner of this show is normally considered a top contender for the Olympia. Curry started off last season by winning this contest and as previously referenced, he took the big one in Las Vegas last September. He will not be defending the Arnold title this year so we will be guaranteed a new champion.
2020 Arnold Australia – March 20-22 in Melbourne, Australia
There is a perceived “third tier” of shows that are not at the level of the Arnold Ohio but are still recognized as big contests. The Arnold Australia is on that level. Past winners of this show include Dexter Jackson, Roelly Winklaar, and William Bonac. It also serves athletes to win a show early in the year so they can devote more time to preparing for the Olympia in September so watch for some big stars to jump into this one.
2020 Arnold South America – April 24-26 in South America
Juan Morel won this show last year and that started a string of shows that he either won or placed highly in. Other athletes have used this contest to gain momentum like Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay and Steve Kuclo. The exact location of this event wasn’t included with the schedule as of this writing.
2020 New York Pro – May 16 in White Plains, New York
The New York Pro used to be known as the Night of Champions and is another in that third tier level of shows that everyone wants under their belt. Past winners here include Jackson, Kai Greene, Victor Martinez, and Morel. Part of the appeal of this contest is that it is normally in the New York City area and it’s promoted by Steve Weinberger and Bev Francis who have been involved with the sport for decades.
2020 California Pro – May 23 in Los Angeles, California
This is one of those sneaky shows that falls under the radar but stars emerge from. One example of this is last year’s winner, Patrick Moore. He won this show as an unknown and by September was considered one of the Top 10 bodybuilders on the planet thanks to his Top 10 placing at the Olympia.
2020 Toronto Pro – June 13 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto has been a big bodybuilding town for several years now and this show has its fair share of big names to hold its title. Last year winner was Jon Delarosa but other champs include Johnnie Jackson and Nathan DeAsha.
2020 Chicago Pro – July 3-4 in Chicago, Illinois
Outside of the fact that it’s one of the biggest cities in the US, Chicago has been the home of bodybuilding royalty in the form of former Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva. In recent years this has been the Michael Lockett show as he has won the last three in a row. Aside from him, past winners have included Roelly Winklaar and the late Dallas McCarver.
2020 Vancouver Pro – July 11-12 in Vancover, British Columbia, Canada
This show in 2019 was the launching pad of Iran’s Hadi Choopan who was a big name internationally but had yet to compete in North America before this show. Choopan won and went on to finish 3rd at the Olympia as well as be named “People’s Champion.” Past winners here include fellow Olympia competitors Lukas Osladil, Lockett, and Ben Pakulski.
2020 Tampa Pro – July 31-August 1 in Tampa, Florida
This one is always considered the “last chance” to win your way into Las Vegas so those big names who want to take long offseasons normally jump into this one hoping to earn their spot on the big stage. Dexter Jackson won his 29th pro show here last year. Other winners include Josh Lenartowicz and former Arnold Classic champion Victor Martinez.
2020 Olympia – September 11-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Of course this is what they all compete for. The best of the best show up hoping to be named the best. There is a lot of hope for this to be one of the biggest Olympias ever because seven-time champion Phil Heath is believed to be coming back to win the title back from Curry. If he does it, he will tie Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney for the most Olympia wins ever. Flex Lewis is also making the jump from 212 to Open and depending on if he qualifies, he will show up on the Open stage at the Olympia for the first time. Of course the reigning champion hopes to repeat and set his own legacy in place.
Athleticon – October 10-11 in Atlanta, Georgia
There is a lot of buzz in the industry about this one because Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his business partner, Dani Garcia are promoting it and there will be some big named sponsors working with them on this. Once the details are in place, watch for a lot of familiar names to be involved in this one.
Featured image: @mrolympiallc on Instagram, photo by @charleslowthian