Entering the 2022 Mr. Olympia, former two-time champion (2020-2021) Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay was a presumed heavy favorite to complete a legendary “three-peat.” Instead, the Egyptian superstar finished in fifth place, forcing a potential recalibration for one of bodybuilding’s biggest names. That seemingly refocused energy now appears to be coming back into play for Elssbiay.
In a recent interview with Frank Sepe of Muscle & Fitness, Elssbiay discussed his current competitive trajectory as the 2023 Mr. Olympia in Orlando, FL, inches closer by the week. The athlete offered a glimpse into his mentality and clarified that his most recent Olympia result is being utilized as a source of motivation in training.
Elssbiay might be 38 years old at the time of this writing, but he knows one Olympia loss won’t define him. After all, he wasn’t always a two-time defending champion. It’s this recentering of efforts, of looking properly forward, that has Elssbiay eager to leave it all on stage in November 2023.
“I’m really excited like always,” Elssbiay said. “I have to do one thing. Work hard. I do that for a reason always, but this year I do it because everyone knows if you lose one time, it’s never the end … If anything comes after working hard, you did fine. You have more than what you had in your pocket.”
Crucially, Elssbiay didn’t overlook what appears to be a stacked field in the Men’s Open division this year. Any number of competitors, including active defending champion Hadi Choopan, 2023 Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford, and even third-place finisher Nick Walker could stand on top of the 2023 Olympia mountain.
It’s here where Elssbiay maintained he’s a little angry about falling short in 2022. It’s less an anger at his peers and more at himself. He’s now using that emotion to push himself in the gym and on stage and to be the best again.
“I think we’ll have a nice lineup of competitors right now and the lineup is getting stronger,” Elssbiay said. “That makes me very excited to be in this lineup again and work harder than anybody. No, it’s not anger because you lost. It’s anger because you want to be the best in the world. That can give you a chance to work hard. I told my friends today, maybe you get angry, but the anger doesn’t break you. It makes you fight more.”
If Elssbiay wants to be Mr. Olympia again, he’ll have to be honest with himself and see where he can improve. This doesn’t appear to be an issue for the superstar thus far in 2023. If anything, he clearly already understands where he has room to grow — both literally and figuratively.
Featured image: @arnoldsports on Instagram