Hadi Choopan, the 2019 Vancouver Pro winner, has made the decision to compete at this year’s Mr. Olympia (Open Division) contest next weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Iran native had his choice between the Open and 212 division contests since he also won the Asian Grand Prix 212 show in 2018.
The announcement was made by his coach and nutritionist, Hany Rambod, along with Chief Olympia Officer Dan Solomon in a YouTube video posted by NPC News Online. It is very rare that an athlete has the option to choose which show he or she wishes to enter at the Olympia. The last known time it was to have happened was in 2008 with David Henry. Henry won the then 202 contest and finished 15th in the Open. Choopan would not be allowed to compete in both divisions simultaneously.
Many bodybuilding fans are pleased with this decision since the Mr. Olympia contests has seen many stars sit out this year, including reigning champion Shawn Rhoden, seven-time champion Phil Heath, Josh Lenartowicz, and Mamdouh Elssbiay. Kai Greene was speculated to get a special invite if he wanted to compete but he is filming a movie in India.
Choopan is considered a threat to win either title he chose to enter. In the Mr. Olympia, he faces other top contenders Dexter Jackson, Brandon Curry, Roelly Winklaar, and William Bonac, among others.
With him not competing in the 212 Olympia Showdown, that leaves Derek Lunsford as the favorite going into the contest. He placed second to Flex Lewis last year. Lewis has retired from the 212 to focus on a transition to the Open division in 2020.
Stay tuned to BarBend for more news and updates leading up to the 2019 Olympia Weekend.
Featured Image: Instagram/hanyrambod