The world of bodybuilding has been buzzing ever since the Mr Olympia competition held in December, where Iranian bodybuilder Hadi Choopan was crowned the new champion, defeating two-time champion Big Ramy from Egypt. This win by a non-US athlete has sparked a debate about the future of the Mr Olympia brand and whether Hadi is doing enough to represent it.
The lack of presence of Big Ramy during his tenure as Mr Olympia, was a major complaint among bodybuilding enthusiasts. Big Ramy did not make enough appearances, did not travel much, and did not interact with his fans enough, which led to dissatisfaction among the community. Hadi, who is also deaf and does not speak English, faces a unique set of challenges with representing the brand. Hadi’s inability to communicate effectively with English-speaking fans and lack of presence on social media may make it difficult for him to connect with his audience.
Hadi needs to put out more content on social media that showcases his personality and personal life away from the gym, as Big Ramy did. This could help build a stronger relationship between Hadi and his fans, even if it has to be done with a translator and captions. Hadi’s deafness presents an additional challenge, as it may be hard for him to hear people, making communication even more difficult.
Another issue is the lack of content from Hadi’s sponsor, Hany Rambod’s supplement company, Evogen. The lack of promotional content from Hadi and Evogen, despite Hany Rambod’s status as one of the best coaches in bodybuilding, is surprising. As the new Mr Olympia, Hadi should be doing more to promote himself and the sport of bodybuilding, such as appearing at guest posings and guest appearances.
There is also difficulty in arranging guest posings for Hadi, given the logistical and financial challenges of flying him from Iran to various countries. Hadi needs to put out content that can be consumed by English-speaking audiences, such as captions or translations, to help build a connection with his fans.
The lack of visibility of the Mr Olympia champion is damaging to the sport of bodybuilding as a whole. The Mr Olympia champion sets the standard for the sport and is recognized across all mainstream outlets. Hadi needs to do more to break the stereotype of bodybuilders being seen as meatheads and dumb, which is why the absence of content and promotion from him and his sponsor is so disappointing. If Hadi does not step up, the future of the Mr Olympia brand and the sport of bodybuilding could be at risk.