Egyptian bodybuilder crowned Mr Olympia 2020

Egyptian bodybuilder crowned Mr Olympia 2020
Mamdouh 'Big Ramy' Elssbiay was crowned Mr Olmypia, winning a $400,000 cheque and becoming the second Arab in history to be recognised as the world’s top bodybuilder.
2 min read
21 December, 2020
The 130kg behemonth, pictured center, stunned judges to win Mr Olympia 2020 [Twitter]
An Egyptian man on Sunday made history to become the second person from the Middle East to ever win Mr Olympia, the most prestigious award in international bodybuilding, since the tournament's inception in 1965.

Mamhoud 'Big Ramy' Elssbiay, 36, was crowned Mr Olympia 2020 in the men's open bodybuilding contest, winning a $400,000 cheque and fending off top opposition, including the likes of defending champion Brandon Curry and seven-time Mr Olympia winner Phil Heath.

"This title is not for me alone, but for all my loved ones. Thank you from my heart for your support," tweeted Elssbiay, a resident of Kuwait, after the show.

"Congratulations to Arabs! Congratulations to Egypt!", he wrote.

The first non-American to win the coveted title since 1997, doubts lingered over Elssbiay's place in the upcoming show back in October, when 130kg behemoth contracted Covid-19.

Yet the father-of-three stunned the judged and took the gold medal, becoming the second Arab in history to win the competition, which this year took place in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida and was organised by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB).

Ahmed el-Sheikh, the director of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports, said "We've always supported to Big Ramy, and followed up closely his infection and treatment until he recovered, and brought this honor to all Egypt."

Elssbiay is notable for having reached the finals of the tournament seven times, only to be held back by what many critics say was his less-than-optimal conditioning, referring to the leanness and visibility of his muscles.

That was no issue on Sunday, where his performance earned him the additional title of 'People's Champion 2020', becoming the first bodybuilder in history to win that title and the Mr Olympia.

This year's contest saw Iran's Hadi Choopan come fourth.

Read also: Students remember joys of learning Arabic on UNESCO's World Arabic Language Day

Samir Bannout of Lebanon was the first Arab to be recognised as the world's top overall bodybuilder, when he was crowned Mr Olympia in 1983.

In the Men's 212, an Olympia division for shorter bodybuilders, Qatari national Kamal Elgargni came second and Kuwait's Ahmed Ashkani came fourth. 

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