IFBB Pro League bodybuilder and former Arnold Australia Champion Roelly Winklaar is out of the 2020 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest. The Olympia is set to take place on Dec. 17-20, 2020, in Orlando, FL., with the Mr. Olympia competition taking place on Dec. 18-19, 2020.
Rumors were circulating on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, that Winklaar could not fly to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey, where he is currently located. Chief Olympia Officer and President Dan Solomon confirmed to BarBend that Winklaar had to drop out of the contest due to testing positive for COVID-19. Winklaar is the second Men’s Open bodybuilder to test positive for the coronavirus this season. Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay also tested positive for COVID-19 right before he was scheduled to compete in the 2020 Europe Pro Show in Alicante, Spain, in October. Big Ramy received a special invite to compete in the show, which he accepted.
A day after the news broke, Winklaar took to Instagram to share the news directly with his fans. You can check out that post below.
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“It is with an extremely sad and heavy heart that I want to officially announce to all my fans, my supporters, and everyone else in the industry, that I will unfortunately not be competing at the 2020 Mr. Olympia,” Winklaar wrote. “I have tested positive for Covid-19 while in Turkey en route to the U.S. We have tried everything we possibly could but being Covid-19 positive there is really nothing else we can do. In the meantime, some Covid-19 symptoms have presented and my focus is now on a full recovery. Even though the news already broke out it is only fair that I inform you all personally of this unexpected turn of events.”
Winklaar also said that he plans on crafting a gameplan for his much-anticipated return to the stage in 2021 with his coach, Ahmad Askar.
“The Beast’s” removal from the lineup is the latest in a string of competitors that have withdrawn from the contest. Cedric McMillan is out due to injury, and seven-time 212 Olympia Champion James “Flex” Lewis, who was set to make his Men’s Open debut in Orlando, is also out. James Hollingshead withdrew from the competition by choice so that he can focus on the 2021 contest. And Nathan DeAsha is also out of this contest, citing personal reasons.
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Winklaar’s last victory came at the 2019 Yamamoto Cup. He was expected to be a favorite going into the 2020 Arnold Classic in March, but he withdrew from that contest as well. He was also considered a top contender for the Mr. Olympia and expected to be among the top five finishers. Winklaar’s highest finish in the Mr. Olympia is third in 2018, which was the same year that he won the inaugural People’s Champion award — an honor voted on by the fans. He qualified for the Olympia this year by finishing fifth at the 2019 Olympia, which Brandon Curry won.
Winklaar’s absence from the lineup now opens the door for another competitor to shake up the lineup and move into a top position. Prejudging for the Olympia is set to take place on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. If no other competitor withdraws, there will be 15 men onstage.
Stay tuned to BarBend for further developments on the 2020 Olympia weekend.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Dec. 14, 2020, to included Roelly Winklaar’s statement on Instagram.
Featured Image: @roellywinklaar on Instagram