At the 2016 Olympia press conference, Brandon Curry was speaking about being happy to be there and there was talk within the bodybuilding fanbase about the possibility of him moving down to the 212 division. The Tennessee native wasn’t even considered a factor in the contest that year.
Fast forward to the 2019 contest and Curry leaves Las Vegas as Mr. Olympia. Now that he has ascended to the top title in the IFBB Pro League, the champion has faced what could be considered the strangest reign in the title’s history. Aside from the criticism that champions usually face, he won the title in a contest that was most remembered for who was not in the lineup. So his victory has been questioned from the moment he left the stage.
Now the sport of bodybuilding as well as the world at large has been at standstill for weeks thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. BarBend was able to discuss these topics and more with Curry in this interview which took place on April 21st.
BarBend: Brandon, thanks for taking the time to talk with us this evening. The first question, and most important one right now, is how are you and your family doing in the middle of the current situation that the world is facing?
Curry: Right now we seem to be doing pretty well. We don’t normally get this kind of time together considering this time of year. I would normally be gone, over to Kuwait to prepare for the Olympia. Seeing as how I can’t be in Kuwait, we’re making the most of it and spending a lot more time together. I’m just enjoying being home. Seeing as how the kids aren’t in school, they’re doing assigned work so I’m helping them with homework which has been interesting.
So even though you’re having to sacrifice right now on the business side of your career, it sounds like you’re making gains in your role at home, safe to say?
Oh, definitely. We have to make the best out of what we’re facing right now and it’s always good to find positives. Being here with the loved ones and seeing the little ones learning and change together has been great.
Over on the professional side of your life, you were set to open your new gym in June. How have you been able to adjust considering the circumstances?
It’s looking more like the gym is going to open in July for us. There are things that are already done, we already have the building and signed the lease so it’s ours and we’re moving forward with contractors and ordering equipment so hopefully we’ll be able to open the gym when things start opening up again.
Another aspect for you in terms of business is as a professional athlete. Have you been able to maintain some form of training schedule in spite of the gyms being closed?
There is another gym that I am a part of that has been closed but I am involved in ownership and there are still things that have to be done so I handle that and am able to do what I need to. I do also have other options so I can still train effectively. I’m pretty blessed during this time.
While discussing all of this, the argument could be made that you have had likely the strangest reign of champion in the history of the Mr. Olympia title. Going back to the contest itself which was criticized for who was not in the show, which you had no control over, and the different adversities that have taken place since, what are your thoughts about everything now that it’s been a few months since you left Las Vegas with the Sandow Trophy?
I can’t say it’s been anything like I thought it would be. I guess it reminds me of 2008 when I turned pro and there was a recession immediately after. I was fortunate enough to be in a blessed position that I wasn’t impacted as much but that time was different too. Hopefully I can make the most out of this time too and still come out of it successful. I can’t really complain about anything. I’m blessed to be in this position regardless and I’m taking what I’m given and I hope I can use this platform to provide something positive for fans and everyone while we try to move forward.
One of those platforms you do have is your social media and you’ve been using that to collaborate with others in the sport to offer some entertainment. What exactly have you been working on regarding that?
Basically with Instagram Live, being Mr. Olympia, I have a lot of friends and there are a lot of people I respect. I’ve been reaching out to them and doing Lives with them and letting fans get an inside look at what we do and how we interact with each other. If they have something they are promoting or want to talk to fans, I can help them out with that. Sometimes, depending on the format, we’ll let fans ask questions too. It’s a way that we can give fans a look they wouldn’t normally get.
I’m also blessed enough to have all of these people around me with my family, bodybuilding, and the community, so I feel I should take all of that and be able to share it with those that can benefit from it. Fortunately those people support me and help me with that as well.
Do you feel that responsibility you’re placing on your own shoulders is something that you’ve learned from your past or does it just come instinctively to you?
I don’t remember seeing it or actually learning it from someone so I guess it just comes naturally to me. I don’t know if it comes natural or not but it’s necessary so why not? I respect guys that have come before me and was able to make an impact so I want to do the same. I was just talking to Lee Haney about this and he’s a great example. Great champion, man of God, and he wants to do what he can to give back to the sport.
Let’s look forward to the 2020 contest. With shows being cancelled or rescheduled, and other athletes’ preps being affected, do you feel there is already a foundation being put in place for you to be criticized again should you repeat as champion?
Man, whatever they’ll want to talk about, they’re going to talk about it. Anytime an athlete wins, that’s what will happen. Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to what will be coming out. I enjoy the entertainment personally. It’s interesting.
You mentioned speaking to Lee Haney who was an eight-time Mr. Olympia. Have you leaned on any of the previous champions from the past or reached out to them for insight on what they did?
Not necessarily reached out to them directly but I have watched them going back to when they were Mr. Olympia and I know a bit about how they carried themselves. Jay Cutler is someone who I admire because of how he still does everything he can to be involved and support the sport. I also see other great guys who give back to the fans like Flex Lewis and like Kai Greene who may not have won the title but has still found ways to keep himself relevant. He’s another great example.
There are fans and younger people in the sport that look at you like you look at the people you mentioned. Any words of encouragement or advice for them on how to improve and be their best going forward until life can resume to a way we remember it?
There’s always something you can find to do better at, be better at, or improve. This is an opportunity to find that. It could be improving relationships, how you treat people, or treat yourself. We may not be able to better our bodies in a way that we want to but we can find other ways to do that as well as better our minds and keep learning. Hopefully that can lead you to being even better once things do get back to normal. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by what we see from the media or watching what’s happening right now but find other areas that you can grow during this time. We want to be motivated to use what we have gotten out of this and apply it to what we want to do and hopefully be even more successful.
One more thing, there are people on this side and others on that side and it seems like everyone wants to battle about their own opinions. That gets us nowhere. Everyone wants to believe they have to be on one side or the other. I want people to believe that they can be on their own side. Don’t get baited into fighting over this or any other issue. I want them to do what’s best for them and be good to other people in the process.
Featured Images: Instagram/brandon_curry, Instagram/mrolympiallc of Brandon Curry by Charles Lowthian