Here’s How the 2022 Mr. Olympia Qualification System Works

Athletes can win pro shows or rack up points to make it to the big stage.

Every year, the IFBB Pro League releases the Olympia Qualification System (OSQ) rules, which serve as the process to determine how the bodybuilding and physique competitors can qualify or earn a position to compete at the Olympia Weekend every year. The rules for 2022 were released on NPC News Online and the IFBB Pro League website on Oct. 20, 2021, and the qualification process appears to be much simpler than in years past.

How to Qualify for the 2022 Mr. O

Here’s a quick synopsis on how competitors can qualify for the 2022 contest and a more in-depth breakdown below. 

  • Any Olympia winner earns an automatic lifetime qualification for the division they won the title in. (If an athlete wants to compete in a new division, they have to qualify.)
  • The top five in the Men’s Open division at the Olympia qualify for the 2022 Mr. O. 
  • The top three in the other 10 divisions qualify for the 2022 Mr. O.
  • Any winner of a pro show between Sept. 13, 2021, and Nov. 20, 2022, qualify for their specific division.
  • The top three point-holders in each division will qualify for the 2022 Olympia. 
  • Athletes can also receive a special invite from the Olympia team. 

Champions Always Qualify

The one standard that is always consistent is that Olympia champions are qualified for life within the champion’s division. One example is Phil Heath. The seven-time Mr. Olympia opted not to compete in the 2021 contest, but he can enter the 2022 contest if he wishes without having to qualify thanks to the seven Sandow trophies on his mantle.


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However, if champions from one division compete in another, they must go through the same qualification process as the other athletes without Olympia titles. One example of this is Erin Stern, a former Olympia Figure Champion who competed in the Bikini Olympia in 2021. As the champion of 2010 and 2012, Stern can enter the Figure Olympia contest any year she sees fit. However, she still had to qualify for the Bikini Olympia.

Top Olympia Finishers Also Qualify

Other competitors that qualify for the Olympia are a group of top finishers in each division’s contest. In the past, different divisions had different rules. In certain divisions, the top five qualified while other divisions only allowed the champion to move on to the next year’s competition.

For the upcoming season, the top five in Men’s Open will automatically move on to the 2022 contest, and they will not have to compete in another show if they don’t choose to. The top five for the 2021 Mr. Olympia are below.

  1. Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
  2. Brandon Curry
  3. Hadi Choopan
  4. Hunter Labrada
  5. Nick Walker

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The other 10 divisions (212, Classic Physique, Men’s Physique, Wheelchair, Ms. Olympia, Women’s Physique, Fitness, Figure, Bikini, and Wellness) will see the top three finishers automatically move on to next year’s Olympia. So any competitor that finished in first, second, and third in Orlando, FL in 2021 can begin preparing for next year’s Olympia. 

Winning Pro Shows

The rules state that the 2022 contest season will run from Sept. 13, 2021 to Nov. 20, 2022. The 2021 Arnold Classic took place on Sept. 25, and the winner of the Men’s Open division (Nick Walker) was awarded a 2021 qualification instead. The other three champions were awarded qualifications for 2022. Those three champions are below.

  • Classic Physique — Terrence Ruffin
  • Fitness — Missy Truscott
  • BikiniJennifer Dorie

This year, contest winners in every division will automatically qualify for the 2022 Olympia, which is expected to take place in December of 2022 in Las Vegas, NV. Exact dates and venue have yet to be announced as of this writing.

Should an already-qualified competitor win a contest, that qualification will not be given to anyone else. For example, Nathan De Asha won both the Arnold Classic UK and the Yamamoto Cup, but his second 2022 qualification spot wasn’t given to anyone else. 

How the Points System Works

The simplest way to win a pro show to the Olympia, but that’s easier said than done. However, there is another way to compete on bodybuilding’s biggest stage. The Olympia scoring system awards points to the second through fifth-place finishers of each contest, depending on the tier of the contest.

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The fourth and fifth place finishers for every division at the Olympia (excluding the Men’s Open) earn points — 12 and 11 points, respectively. After that, the number of points awarded depends on the tier of the show. The tiers for each contest are below.

Tier 1

Arnold Classic (USA), Rising Phoenix (Women’s Bodybuilding only, does not include other divisions contests, known as Arizona Pro).

  • 2nd – 10 points
  • 3rd – 9 points
  • 4th – 8 points
  • 5th – 7 points

Tier 2

Arnold Classic Australia, Arnold Classic Brazil, Arnold Classic UK, Pittsburgh Pro, New York Pro, Tampa Pro, Toronto Pro, Japan Pro, Europa Pro Championships.

  • 2nd – 8 points
  • 3rd – 7 points
  • 4th – 6 points
  • 5th – 5 points

Tier 3

Chicago Pro, Portugal Pro, Romania Muscle Fest Pro, Legion Sports Fest Pro, Puerto Rico Pro.

  • 2nd – 6 points
  • 3rd – 5 points
  • 4th – 4 points
  • 5th – 3 points 

Tier 4

All other contests.

  • 2nd – 4 points
  • 3rd – 3 points
  • 4th – 2 points
  • 5th – 1 point

Athletes Affected By COVID-19 Regulations

The IFBB Pro League and Olympia promoters took into consideration that some athletes weren’t able to travel to the Olympia in 2021 due to travel issues regarding the pandemic. These competitors have been awarded five points towards the 2022 season. The IFBB Pro League hasn’t released a list of those specific athletes at the time this article was written.  

Highest Point-Holders Qualify

The top three finishers in each division of the Olympia Qualification System will be invited to compete in the 2022 Olympia. These competitors can make an impact on the big stage. For example, Mahamad Shaaban qualified on points in 2021, and he finished in 10th place, beating out multiple competitors that won contests.

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In the event of a tie between multiple competitors, the athlete that has the highest placings in the highest tiered shows will get the nod. This makes every position that much more critical as the season progresses.

If the current points leader wins a contest before Nov. 13, that person is removed from the points system entirely since they would be qualified for the Olympia. The points standings for each division will be updated regularly on the Mr. Olympia website.

Special Invite

Last but not least, the Olympia promoters still have the “special invite” that they can award to any competitor of their choosing. One was not issued for the 2021 contest, but seven-time Olympia 212 Champion James “Flex” Lewis was offered one for the 2020 Mr. Olympia (Men’s Open). He had to withdraw from the contest due to injuries.

Featured Image: @big_ramy on Instagram