John Romano discusses about the slow fall in prestige of the Mr. Olympia competition and how the new ownership might bring it to higher levels never seen before.
In February 2020, it was announced that AMI had sold the Mr. Olympia brand and competition weekend to Jake Wood. Jake Wood is best known as the promoter of Wings Of Strength and having a big impact on bringing Woman’s Bodybuilding back into popularity. But is the recent sale proof that the Mr. Olympia has fallen in prestige? And can Jake Wood bring it to new heights? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, John Romano discusses what he thinks the future will hold for the Olympia under new ownership.
The Mr. Olympia competition is the biggest bodybuilding event of the year. It’s also the most prestigious competition in the sport – often referred to as the Super Bowl of bodybuilding. But with the rise of other major events like the Arnold Classic and the new incoming introduction of The Rock’s very own Athleticon bodybuilding event, has the prestige of the Olympia faded?
The recent sale of the Mr. Olympia by AMI would seem to imply yes. Of course, AMI had been facing other issues that threatened the success of the company moving forward. So was the sale due to a dwindling AMI, or a dwindling Mr. Olympia?
During our conversation with former senior editor of Muscular Development Magazine John Romano, we asked him if he thought the quality and meaning of the Olympia had diminished over the years. He answers that, yes, he thinks that after the Weider era of bodybuilding the quality of the biggest competition in the sport had gone down hill.
John Romano describes what it was like the first time that the Olympia had moved to Las Vegas. It was a momentous occasion that made the entire sport feel like it had made it into the big leagues. Competing or even going as a fan to the competition was the greatest weekend of the year. Romano compares that to today – where the Olympia weekend feels nearly indistinguishable from the Arnold Classic sports expo. Many have often expressed that they thought the Arnold Classic expo is better than the Olympia weekend.
Still, the Mr. Olympia still has the highest payout of any bodybuilding competition. The Sandow Trophy is still the number one goal for any bodybuilder. While this is true – Romano describes more so that the “feeling” behind what that weekend stood for feels less than eras past.
So will the recent sale to Jake Wood bring a renaissance to the competition? Or will it simply bring the quality down even further? John Romano believes that Jake Wood might be one of the only people who can not only make the Olympia great again – but better than it ever was.
He points towards Wood’s dedication to bringing back Women’s Bodybuilding and how it was nearly dead as a “side-show attraction” until Wood put money and faith behind it. Now the Ms. Olympia is making a return. All thanks to Jake Wood.
“I think now it’s going to have more prestige than it’s ever had by a factor of several thousand,” John Romano states in our interview.
“I think right now you’re going to be seeing an amazing renaissance in the Olympia and a real big strong appeal to the mainstream. I think you’re going to see a lot more promotion in mainstream venues where we’ve never saw it before. And I think you’re going to see bodybuilding become more – definitely more – popular in the world today.”
Of course, the recent sale of the Mr. Olympia has been marred by the recent health crises across the globe. While the event has been officially postponed until December – there’s still a chance it might be postponed until next year entirely. So it might be some time before we see what Jake Wood does with the brand.
You can watch John Romano’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!