Two of the top bodybuilders in the world were noticeably absent from the 2019 Mr. Olympia stage but will (as of this writing) be present and competing in Columbus, Ohio.
2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden and 2017 Mr. Olympia runner-up Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay have been announced to be making their returns to the competitive stage at the 2020 Arnold Classic on Saturday, March 7. The announcement and promotional image was shared on Rhoden’s Instagram on October 30th.
Neither bodybuilder has been onstage as a competitor since the 2018 Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rhoden became the 14th man to win the title after dethroning seven-time champion Phil Heath. Elssbiay finished that competition in 6th place.
Ellsbiay missed the entire 2019 season due to a shoulder injury and opting to take time to recover and prepare for the 2020 season. His last victory to date was the 2017 Arnold Classic Europe contest. He is a former amateur Olympia champion, having won that title in 2012.
Rhoden had chosen not to compete before the Olympia this past season but was then unable to defend the title this past September due to legal issues he is facing stemming from a sexual assault allegation. While organizers of the Mr. Olympia competition issued a ban, Rhoden didn’t face any discipline from the IFBB Pro League, so he is able to compete in other shows if he chooses while legal action is pending.
Neither Rhoden nor Elssbiay have won the Arnold Classic in Ohio which is considered the top Arnold title. That show is considered the second biggest championship in bodybuilding. The winner of that show is considered an unofficial number one contender to the Olympia champion for that year. Rhoden’s highest placing at the Arnold Classic is 2nd in 2014. The 2020 contest will actually be Elssbiay’s first time competing in Columbus. He recently guest posed at a show in Canada, and he stated he weighed 325 pounds when onstage.
Featured Image: Instagram/flexatronrhoden