Heading into the 2022 Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay was considered the presumed heavy favorite. The former two-time defending champion (2020-2021) had ringing endorsements from Olympia icons like Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney. With various training updates showcasing his trademark mass, it seemed inevitable that the Egyptian bodybuilding titan would become only the eighth person to win the Mr. Olympia on at least three occasions. Instead, in a surprising upset that made Olympia history, Hadi Choopan captured his first career Olympia title, while Elssbiay notched a disappointing fifth-place result.
With the 2022 competitive calendar now in the rearview mirror, Elssbiay posted a reflection on his most recent Olympia performance in a Dec. 18, 2022, Instagram video. In the process, he looked ahead to the future and what might be next as someone who remains one of bodybuilding’s biggest names.
Before even discussing himself and his own prospects that lie ahead, Elssbiay made sure to congratulate Choopan for the Iranian athlete’s remarkable achievement in finally climbing bodybuilding’s tallest mountain. In particular, Elssbiay seemed to appreciate that Choopan likely won’t take the Olympia mantel lightly.
“From the beginning I have to say congratulations to Hadi [Choopan],” Elssbiay said. “He deserves it. He is the Mr. Olympia right now. He tried for many years to be in this place and I respect that. I am thankful for all the competitors who fought for one reason, to be a good representative of bodybuilding.”
As for why Elssbiay fell short of completing a legendary “three-peat,” he didn’t make excuses. He acknowledged the adverse circumstances in not attaining the result he wanted, while understanding things can happen with his passion that happens to be bodybuilding.
“It’s my game,” Elssbiay started. “I love this game from the beginning and I always tried to bring my best because it is my hobby. I loved everyone and loved my game and I need to say I have been broken many times in my life and this is not the first time. But I always came back stronger than ever.”
Ultimately, while it wasn’t the output he wanted, Elssbiay made a promise to come back on a mission. He noted that after finishing as the runner-up to Phil Heath during the 2017 Olympia, he had also fallen four spots to sixth place before eventually capturing a repeat to start the 2020s. Based on this reflective message in the aftermath of the 2022 Olympia — it seems apparent Elssbiay will try to replicate that past experience as best as he can in 2023.
“I promise you guys I will do my best to get back again stronger than ever,” Elssbiay said. “I don’t promise to win or to lose, I respect other people. But I will say I will do my best like I have done my whole life to be No. 1 again. I can say it to all the competitors in the Middle East, we can come back from this. I really appreciate all the people’s support around the world.”
Featured image: @big_ramy on Instagram