Elssbiay wants a stellar rebound after a disappointing Mr. Olympia result.

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Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay entered the 2022 Mr. Olympia with aspirations of becoming only the eighth athlete to win the contest on three consecutive occasions. He had the hype behind him, endorsements from living legends, and appeared “destined” to enter exclusive bodybuilding lore. Then the Las Vegas, NV, contest occurred, Hadi Choopan successfully toppled the Egyptian dynamo for the victory, and Elssbiay fell short with a fifth-place finish that surprised many bodybuilding fans.

Now, after an earnest early January 2023 reflection on what’s next, and with a fresh bodybuilding season ahead of him, it appears Elssbiay is aiming for a massive rebound before he even considers trying to win the Olympia again.

On Jan. 20, 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival announced that Elssbiay would take the stage in the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) on Mar. 2-5, 2023.

“Making his first on-stage appearance in Columbus since 2020, ‘Ramy’ will be looking to re-establish his position as the most dominant competitor in the world of bodybuilding!”

The Columbus, OH, contest will mark the former two-time Mr. Olympia’s second appearance in the AC as he seeks a significant notch to add to his resume. In 2020, Elssbiay placed third at his first and only appearance at the show.

To some, Elssbiay’s AC reveal might come as a surprise. The superstar had spent most of his recent years training and preparing almost exclusively for his Olympia appearances throughout an approximate calendar year, only appearing occasionally in other contests. It’s a calculated approach that many elite bodybuilders, particularly in the Men’s Open division, often elect to have in the interest of maximizing their performance at the biggest contest in the sport.

For Elssbiay, seeing as how he’s no longer the defending Mr. Olympia, he might now be seeking a boost of momentum before diving back full throttle into Olympia prep. At the same time, a new lucrative cash prize could have also motivated the athlete to finally compete in the AC. In mid-January 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival announced the first-place prize for winning the Men’s Open at the 2023 AC would be $300,000. That is a $100,000 increase from the 2022 iteration of the competition. Notably, also in January 2023, former AC champion (2021) Nick Walker maintained this high financial incentive was part of his own decision to return to the AC.

Elssbiay will join other established stars at the 2023 AC as he tries to defeat past winners like Walker and William Bonac (2018, 2020), and two-time 212 Olympia champion (2020, 2022) Shaun Clarida. Other confirmed names include Samson DaudaKamal Elgargni, Justin Rodriguez, and Akim Williams. Elssbiay might be a newcomer to the contest, but given his Olympia precedent, this field will likely be ready for anything he brings to the stage in Columbus.

The 2023 AC is shaping up to be a barnburner of a bodybuilding contest. If top-level competitors like Elssbiay and Walker elect to participate before tackling any loftier Olympia plans, it could be an incredibly fascinating show to watch in early March.

Featured Image: @arnoldsports / Instagram