Reigning two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay will have the largest square in his hometown — Kafr El Sheikh — named after him. According to CairoScene, Kafr El Sheikh’s Governor Jamal Nour El Din Mohamed Zaki announced that recognizing Elssbiay in this fashion is due to his “his persistence and determination leading him to global fame in bodybuilding” being an “example for Egypt’s youth.”
Kafr El Sheikh is the capital of Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, Egypt, located approximately 83 miles north of Cairo. Elssbiay was born near the Burullus district of the Kafr El Sheikh on Sept. 16, 1984.
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The Career of Big Ramy
Elssbiay began training to become a professional bodybuilder in 2010. He earned his International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) pro card in 2012 by winning the Amateur Olympia in Kuwait City, Kuwait. He went on to win his first pro show at the 2013 New York Pro and earn entry into his first Mr. Olympia contest that same year, where he ranked eighth overall.
In 2014, Elssbiay defended his New York Pro title and improved one rank to seventh position at the 2014 Mr. Olympia. 2015 saw him win the IFBB Arnold Classic Brazil and improve two more ranks to fifth in his third Mr. Olympia appearance. His trajectory of improvement at the Olympia continued in 2016, where he moved up to fourth overall.
Come 2017, Elssbiay reached the best finish of his Olympia career up to that point — second overall, losing only to seven-time Mr. Olympia champion Phil Heath. In 2018, Elssbiay changed up his strategy at the Olympia and leaned harder into the “mass monster” aesthetic at the cost of his conditioning. Although he was the largest athlete on stage, his ranking dipped for the first time in his Olympia career, down to sixth place overall.
Elssbiay was absent from the 2019 Mr. Olympia contest but returned in 2020 via a special invitation after being unable to compete at the 2020 Europe Pro Show in Alicante, Spain, due to a positive COVID-19 test. He did not squander the opportunity and claimed his first Mr. Olympia title, dethroning the 2019 Mr. Olympia, Brandon Curry. Elssbiay retained his title by a narrow margin against Curry and third-place Hadi Choopan at the 2021 Mr. Olympia.
Feature image: @w_wittmannphoto on Instagram—