Annual event makes Vegas the world capital of hot bodies once more…
The 53rd Mr. Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend has come and gone, as have the enthusiasts who swarm Las Vegas each year. Physique, fitness and bodybuilding fans from around the world made the journey to Sin City, which is essentially the unofficial Mecca of Muscle.
The four-day event, taking place at Orleans Hotel Casino and Las Vegas Convention Center, was a hotbed of hot bodies, products and photo ops. Celebs, sponsors, news crews and supplement manufactures swarmed both venues, out-muscling one another for the chance to promote the latest in products, clothing and workout tips.
The big news was Phil Heath‘s seventh Mr. Olympia win, tying the record of Arnold Schwarzenegger. For those who couldn’t attend (or afford the pricey tickets), sponsor Amazon.com live-streamed the competition. Last year, surprise guest Dwayne Johnson had announced that CBS Sports would air the 2017 event in cooperation with his Seven Bucks Productions, but that seemed to be an unfulfilled promise.
Instead, Johnson returned to present this year’s trophy. Heath, a seven-time champion, will most likely return with hopes of an eighth win. That would tie him with Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman for the most Sandow statuettes.
If all that “competition talk” bores you, fear not. The daytime events at the Convention Center were much more freewheeling…with music, dancing, posing and twerking in the aisles. See for yourself in the video below:
Video highlights from the Olympia Fitness Expo…
Ageless physique pro Tobias Young showed me around Optimum Nutrition‘s mobile Gold Standard Zone, an interactive outdoor exhibit. Guests were invited to use computer technology to analyze their diets and map their macros. A “magic mirror” utilized artificial-intelligence cameras to study workout form and correct movements.
Tobias Young (left) at the Lift Yourself – Lift Others chin-up station…
Best yet, a pull-up station allowed attendees to challenge themselves for charity. Sponsored by the wonderful Amazon Smile, “Lift Yourself – Lift Others” arranges for donations to your charity of choice (this writer directs Amazon Smile donations towards Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary).
Inside, Optimum Nutrition was one of dozens of vendors unveiling new products, services and experiences. Recording star Flo Rida made his first appearance as CELSIUS HEAT Elite, Chief Ambassador. Celsius Heat is a new healthy alternative to conventional pre-workout drinks. Flo greeted fans with photo ops, autographs and full-size product giveaways.
In every direction, people were jumping, pumping, hopping and climbing. Experts were there to analyze technique, assess conditioning and offer advice. Several vendor booths awarded prizes for push-ups, power punches and other physical challenges.
On both sides of the massive South Hall, informative lectures vied with group classes and various sports for attendees’ attention. The large rear stage was home to scheduled competitions such as Flex Magazine‘s Bikini and Male Model Search, Classic Physique judging and Men’s/Women’s Physique Olympia.
Tt was the cameras that got the most intense workouts. Vendor reps were eager to show what their products could do. Of course that required a lot of shirt-lifting and flexing, right?
Tim McComsey (center) and the BANG Energy crew…
IFBB Pro David Paterik strikes a double-bicep….
One of my personal favorites, IFBB Pro Matt Christianer, hammed it up with me for a pic and autograph. Matt can be seen on Netflix in the moving documentary The Perfect Physique. In it, Matt details his emotional journey of recovery from a traumatic auto accident. The newly-engaged Christianer underwent a hip replacement last year but is back in amazing form.
Matt and fiance Heather Schneider at last year’s Expo…
On a side note, while the Olympia press conference was taking place in its new larger home at the Orleans Arena, director Kandice King was across town at City Athletic Club on West Sahara, shooting footage for The Perfect Physique 2: The Road to Pro. Like I said at the lead-in…Vegas is the Mecca of Muscle.
Vegas resident and former Chippendale Kris Davis at the MET-Rx booth…
Doing his best “Robert Irvine” at the FIT Crunch booth…
Mr. Olympia and the Fitness Expo both return to Las Vegas in 2018. Hotels fill up early, especially The Orleans and Westgate Las Vegas, so check out this planner to get up-to-date recommendations and rates.
Plenty of hopefuls will be eyeing the stage, yearning to take the title from Phil Heath and enter into the history books. If you don’t want to miss the showdown, mark your calendar now for the 54th Annual Mr. Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend Sept. 13th through the 16th. I’ll see you there.
Photos by Sammasseur