Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is on a fast track toward all-time legendary status. Should the Egyptian athlete capture his third consecutive Mr. Olympia title on Dec. 16-18, 2022, he will become the eighth bodybuilder to win the contest on at least three occasions.
Among other icons, one of the athletes who has accomplished that feat and then some is seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, who won consecutive Mr. Olympia titles from 2011 to 2017. There might not be a better person to pick the brain of the current face of bodybuilding.
On Dec. 5, 2022, in collaboration with the Mr. Olympia organizing body, Heath shared an Instagram Live where he discussed the upcoming Olympia in Las Vegas, NV, with Elssbiay. Heath is part of the lead 2022 Olympia commentary team.
In a frank conversation, Elssbiay and Heath touch on the pressures of performing on stage. The reigning two-time champion Elssbiay discussed some of his personal expectations as he enters another title defense.
To achieve consistent excellence on the Olympia stage, successful winners must bring their A-game yearly, especially as talented up-and-comers come into the picture. Elssbiay and his coach Dennis James apparently acknowledged that as a challenge he’s hurdled in the past and will try to leap over again in 2022.
“Me and Dennis [James], we spoke last week that it’s too hard for people who win the Olympia many, many years like Phil Heath, like Ronnie Coleman,” Elssbiay expressed. “It’s too hard when you think about the next one because you need to bring something bigger and everything to not let the fans [down]. That means you have to work harder than anybody, and that’s not easy for anyone. That’s the main thing for a champ.”
As for his “three-peat” plan, Elssbiay and his team are keeping it simple in the final countdown to the 2022 iteration of the Olympia with an emphasis on further refining his conditioning.
” … It’s not just me, it’s me and my team working very hard to come early,” Elssbiay said. We have everything [we need] for [conditioning] … We are working very hard right now but also we are fine. I feel good.”
Elssbiay weighed over 300 pounds on the day of the interview with Heath. He will strive to make one last marked cut down before he steps on the 2022 Olympia stage.
“Today, in the morning, [I weighed] 306 [pounds],” Elssbiay said. “… But I think the last week we’re going to drop more weight, and it will be, I think, 295 [pounds] on the stage.”
In his conversation with Heath, Elssbiay is aware of how challenging an Olympia title defense can be. Elssbiay thinks Andrew Jacked and Derek Lunsford will spice up the competition — the reigning champ thinks Lunsford has a “great chance.”
Ultimately, the talented field of challengers aside, Elssbiay seems to believe he’s in a better position because of some adversity he overcame to win the 2021 Olympia title.
“Last year, I had the [worst] year of my life,” Elssbiay explained. “I can’t talk about that because that just gives them a reason to [have me] lose. But when they ask about my fire, about my dream to be Mr. Olympia again, I said to myself, “you are strong, you have a great mentality,” and I think in my heart I can’t lose again.”
Featured image: @big_ramy on Instagram