Mr. Olympia contest in Vegas loaded with all things fitness

The top three show their best most muscular poses. Shown are (l-r) runner-up Kai Green, winner Phil Heath and third-place finisher Dennis Wolf. BY CHRIS ANTONIO
October 5, 2013

This past weekend I traveled to Las Vegas to see the event that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name - the Mr. Olympia contest. As a fitness professional, I like to see anything related to working out and getting in shape, and this event did not disappoint. It was loaded with professional athletes, weightlifting equipment, supplement companies, magazines and anyone else on the cutting edge of the fitness industry, and it was a great opportunity to test the newest products on the market today.

History of the Olympia

Joe Weider held the first Mr. Olympia contest Sept. 18, 1965, because he wanted to bring bodybuilding to the national stage by creating an event for the best bodybuilders in the world to compete and determine a champion. This event was considered the Super Bowl of bodybuilding, and the winner of the contest was awarded $1,000 for his efforts. The first man to win the coveted Olympia title was an American named Larry Scott, and the contest has since been dominated by 13 men, many of whom were repeat winners, giving testament to how stiff the competition has been over the last 48 years.

How the Olympia has changed

Joe Weider recently passed away, but his legacy is still alive and has grown much bigger. The original Olympia contest was for men only, but it has since morphed into several contests with different categories for male and female contestants alike. There’s the women’s bikini Olympia, women’s fitness Olympia, women’s figure Olympia, men's and women’s physique Olympia and the main event, the Mr. Olympia contest. Each event has specific rules and guidelines that contestants must follow, and at the final show contestants get to strut their stuff and show their progress to a packed audience on center stage.

Mr. Olympia 2013

This year’s contest was a record turnout of 10,000 people, and the prize money offered was $1 million to be divided among the different categories. The contest started with a tribute to the godfather of bodybuilding, Joe Weider, and all the athletes shared a sentimental story about the founder of the contest before their final routines. The contestants were a sight to see, and audience members were on their feet, but in the end, Phil Heath took the title again to win his third consecutive Olympia victory, followed by Kai Green placing second and Dennis Wolf placing third.

The Expo

The expo showcased a carnival-like atmosphere of everything you want to know, see or try related to fitness, and it was impossible to see it all in just a couple of days. There were competitions going on for CrossFit, power lifting, arm wrestling and strong man, and various meet-and-greet opportunities to talk to favorite fitness athletes. My favorite part was testing all of the new protein shakes and supplements that will be coming out next year and seeing which ones I liked best, but there were all kinds of different things to see, and to top it all off, it was Vegas, so what could be better?

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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