Johnnie O. Jackson discusses his excitement for the possible return of the Masters Olympia, whether he will compete, and why the competition is so important for the sport.

Jake Wood made headlines in February 2022, when he confirmed that he is working on brining back the Masters Olympia to the IFBB Pro league. The Masters Olympia ran from 1994 to 2003 and then a brief return in 2012 with Dexter Jackson earning the final big win for the competition. Since then, the Masters Olympia has vanished. Now it seems that 2023 will bring back the prestigious competition – and Johnnie O. Jackson couldn’t be happier to hear the news. In our latest episode of Hardcore Truth, Johnnie O. Jackson explains why the Masters Olympia return is a big deal – and the true importance of the competition for the sport.

When Dexter Jackson continued to compete in the Mr. Olympia after his 2012 Masters Olympia win, it seemed to almost prove that the Masters Olympia was unnecessary. Jackson was able to continue to hold step against his fellow athletes and earn top 5 placings in the Mr. Olympia. If someone his age could place so high in the main event, what need is there for the Masters Olympia at all?

The fact that the Masters Olympia has been absent from the IFBB Pro league for so many years seems to confirm that line of thinking. That is, until it returns in 2023 (according to Jake Wood’s hopes during the admittedly still preliminary planning stages). But Johnnie O. Jackson believes that it shouldn’t have ever left.

Why The Masters Olympia Is So Important

During this week’s episode of Hardcore Truth, you can hear the excitement in Johnnie O. Jackson’s voice as he talks about the return of the Masters Olympia. To him, it’s an important part of the IFBB Pro. Why? Because it can be a vital force for the longevity of pro bodybuilders.

Not only does it provide a more fair outlet for pro bodybuilders to continue to compete – it also can provide a longer career as a bodybuilder. Johnnie O. Jackson understands that in today’s world, it’s very possible for a retired bodybuilder to continue to make a living. Social media and entrepreneurial efforts can help pro bodybuilders build a brand that becomes their new income beyond competing.

However, Johnnie O. Jackson also knows one thing is true – you can never truly take the bodybuilder out of the man. If the Masters Olympia were to return with some sort of significant prize money – Jackson could see many notable retired pro bodybuilders returning to the stage.

Even beyond that – for younger bodybuilders currently competing, the Masters Olympia could establish a much more optimistic future for how long an athlete is able to compete – should they want to well past 40 or even 50+ years old. Johnnie O. Jackson thinks that the competition shouldn’t simply be an afterthought. It could be a celebrated event with big name stars from previous years. It can not only increase the longevity of a bodybuilding career – but help the longevity of the bodybuilding lifestyle. Period.

It’s often discussed how bodybuilding can’t just be a hobby or a job you go to and leave at the door when you come home. It’s a lifestyle. Johnnie O. Jackson believes that the Masters Olympia extends that lifestyle. It provides yet another option for pro bodybuilders to live their passion.

Will Johnnie O. Jackson Compete In The  New Master Olympia?

So what about Johnnie O. Jackson himself? Would he want to compete in the newly returned Masters Olympia. Nothing’s off the table – and while he doesn’t officially announce a return (most likely because the Masters Olympia return is not finalized yet) – he was very optimistic during the episode. He would be more than happy to return to the stage and possibly compete against fellow contemporaries like Lee Priest and Kevin Levrone.

Johnnie O. Jackson admits that he has little interest in trying to compete against the young guns on stage today. He knows that arena is now past his prime. But to enter against others in his age bracket is something he is very open to considering.

You can watch Johnnie O. Jackson detail why the Masters Olympia is so important and why the return will be such a massive improvement for the sport in our latest episode of Hardcore Truth above. Make sure to swing around each Thursday for brand new episodes!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.