After a decade-plus absence, the 2023 Masters Olympia contest will return this summer on Aug. 26-27, 2023, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. While the complete list of participating athletes over 10 competitive divisions will be revealed on Apr. 24, 2023, the contest organizers have revealed what some of the bodybuilders can potentially expect to win with respective exemplary performances. (Note: The roster probably won’t include one legend.)
On Feb. 23, 2023, the Masters Olympia announced that the overall prize purse for the 2023 iteration of the competition would be $229,000. Presumably, the money is in reference to what will likely be the showcase event in the Men’s Open division (ages 45 and up). At the time of this writing, it is unclear how that money will be divvied up in that category or, if applicable, amongst the other respective divisions.
In the last edition of the Masters Olympia, which took place in 2012, the 2008 Mr. Olympia champion Dexter Jackson won the Men’s Open portion. He would take home $75,000 for his efforts. For comparison’s sake to the competition’s modern return, here is an overview of the total Men’s Open winnings ($145,000) from the 2012 Masters Olympia:
2012 Masters Olympia | Men’s Open Prize Money
Dexter Jackson: $75,000
Toney Freeman: $35,000
Dennis James: $20,000
Edward Nunn: $10,000
Ronny Rockel: $5,000
If the $229,000 in 2023 is indeed only for the Men’s Open, that means the organization will have increased the winning incentive by $84,000. If it is the purse for the entire contest, it is unclear how both editions compare from a broad scale at the time of this article’s publication.
Here is an overview of the classifications for each division at the 2023 Masters Olympia.
2023 Masters Olympia Divisions
Men’s Open — Age 45 and up
Women’s Open — Age 45 and up
212 Bodybuilding — Age 45 and up
Men’s Physique — Age 40 and up
Women’s Physique — Age 40 and up
Classic Physique — Age 40 and up
Wellness — Age 40 and up
Bikini — Age 40 and up
Fitness — Age 40 and up
Figure — Age 40 and up
Participating athletes who wish to apply for a roster spot in the 2023 Masters Olympia have until April 10, 2023 to complete a relatively simple process. They must email contest organizers a “letter of intent”, which includes their age, nationality, competitive background, and any social media platforms. In their submissions, athletes have the choice to include a video that is no longer than one minute. They can also include any images of their physique. A full list of chosen competitors will then be announced on April 24, 2023.
While much of the bodybuilding world will be understandably fixated on the upcoming 2023 Olympia contest, the return of the Masters remains noteworthy. Giving a platform to established veterans who want to compete on stage could be considered a quality step forward for the sport overall. When the official list of competitors is revealed, there will be a better idea of who might put on a show in Romania.
Featured image: @mastersolympiaofficial on Instagram