Toney Freeman criticized judging in 2016, now he thinks it has finally changed for the better.

In 2016, we interviewed Toney Freeman as part of our Iron Cinema digital series. During that conversation, Freeman stated that judging had a serious problem in bodybuilding. The way athletes were judged led to a less exciting sport. When we followed up with him this year, we wanted to know if he still felt the same way. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Toney Freeman details how bodybuilding judges has improved significantly in the sport.

When discussing modern bodybuilding, some fans and athletes have criticized the way the sport is currently judged. Most famously, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself claimed that the lack scoring posing routines has been bad for the sport.

Since then, the pro leagues have made some changes, including scoring the posing routines at the Arnold Classic competitions But Toney Freeman saw another problem with judging that had less to do with the scores and the physiques and more to do with excitement.

Specifically, Toney Freeman believed that the way comparison rounds were conducted ruined the whole competition. You could easily predict who would win first place by who they placed in the center during the first main comparison round.

When we reconnected with Freeman over Skype, we followed up on his opinions of bodybuilding judging. Is this still a problem for the sport? Freeman was happy to say that today judging has vastly improved. They seem to focus more on a “last man standing” approach to comparison rounds – allowing for more anticipation and excitement during the judging.

During a year where there have been many debates about the quality of this era of bodybuilding, it’s nice to hear some positive news and opinions. Toney Freeman saw a problem and was vocal about it. They may not have changed the judging process strictly because of Freeman, but they did end up adjusting nonetheless. Freeman recognizes this and gives them credit where credit is due.

In an era of online social media yelling and cancel culture across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – this turn of events feels like a small relief. Combine this alongside the return of Women’s Bodybuilding this year and you have some real positive changes to the sport. Regardless of whether you agree this era has been lacking – these changes are good news indeed.

Speaking of Women’s Bodybuilding, Toney Freeman also shares his opinion about the sport and why it declined in the first place. He believes it was due to lack of competition. When you have Iris Kyle winning so many years in a row – and possibly would have continued to win if she kept competing – you lose excitement. It felt watered down. It felt like a given. Why watch when you get the same results every single year?

You can watch Toney Freeman’s full comments on judging and Women’s Bodybuilding in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

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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.