Dennis James believes Hadi Choopan could have placed 2nd at Olympia 2020 if he wasn’t off during the Friday pre-judging.
The Mr. Olympia 2020 was full of shocking twists and turns – especially in the Men’s Open division. Not only did Big Ramy win after years and years of hype but Phil Heath’s comeback fell slightly short. He placed 3rd behind Brandon Curry. Also Hadi Choopan proved that his top 5 placing in 2019 wasn’t a fluke by placing fourth. In fact, Hadi Choopan’s conditioning was so good that many people believed he should have placed higher. This includes Big Ramy’s trainer – Dennis James. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Dennis James explains why he personally thinks Hadi Choopan should have placed 2nd at Olympia 2020.
With the Olympia 2020 now in the history books, we reconnected with Dennis James for a new video interview. In the interview, we discuss in detail the Olympia 2020, including the shocking placements that took place in the Men’s Open division.
Specifically, Dennis James talks about how impressed he was with Hadi Choopan. With Big Ramy now the current Olympia champion, James believes that Choopan is the only person who could beat Ramy if they both came in perfect condition.
Dennis James was so impressed that he believes that Hadi Choopan should have placed 2nd. That’s two placings up from where the judges put him. James understands the ultimate scoring reason for Choopan’s 4th place. He admits that Choopan looked off at Friday night’s pre-judging.
“If he would have been just a little bit better on Firday. He woudl have moved up. But the way he looked on Saturday I’m telling you that was… Kudos. Kudos to Hadi. This man is for real. People don’t understand… I had him in second also. I think he should have gotten second to be honest.”
– Dennis James
But when the Saturday night finals finally happened, Dennis James was stunned. He saw a physique in Hadi Choopan that was superior to nearly everyone on stage – including Brandon Curry and Phil Heath. If the scoring was to only consider the Saturday night finals – Choopan would have easily earned second place.
That’s a powerful statement coming from Dennis James. Only two years ago, Hadi Choopan was a Men’s 212 athlete. When he decided to compete in Men’s Open at the Olympia 2019, many were skeptical. His small overall size makes him hard to compete against the bigger sized Men’s Open competitors. Why would Choopan compete in a division where he will likely lose, if he could dominate in Men’s 212?
Then Hadi Choopan surprised everyone by placing 3rd at the Olympia 2019. Even then, fans called it a fluke. It was due to the fact Big Ramy, Phil Heath, and Shawn Rhoden were not in attendance.
Now with the Olympia 2020 closed, Hadi Choopan once again proved the skepticism wrong. With Phil Heath and Big Ramy back in the fold, Choopan was able to land in the top 5 yet again. Not only that, but as Dennis Jame stated, he was close to placing even better.
According to the score sheet, Hadi Choopan was only one point behind Phil Heath. It was a close call and if Choopan was more on point during the pre-judging we would have likely seen him placed higher. Dennis James has no problem admitting this. In his opinion, he places Choopan as the second best looking competitor on the stage that night.
You can watch Dennis James’ full breakdown of Hadi Choopan’s physique and placement at the Olympia 2020 in our GI Exclusive interview segment above.