Derek Lunsford emerged as the victor, marking a historic moment as he clinched the Mr. Olympia title in the Men’s Open division. However, the aftermath was marred by controversy, fan backlash, and allegations of political judgments.
In this article, we delve into the events that transpired during the 2023 Mr. Olympia, exploring the showdown between Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan and the reactions from industry veterans, Milos Sarcev and Jay Cutler.
The 2023 Mr. Olympia Showdown
As the prejudging and finals unfolded, it became evident that the title could go to any one of these elite athletes. However, when the judges’ decision was revealed, it was Derek Lunsford who emerged victorious.
Derek Lunsford’s triumph was remarkable, not just because it earned him the prestigious Mr. Olympia title but because he achieved it in the Men’s Open division after transitioning from the 212 Olympia category.
However, the post-victory celebration was clouded by controversy as Hadi Choopan reportedly stormed off stage after the results were announced.
The Controversy Unveiled
The controversial nature of this event prompted bodybuilding enthusiasts and experts to question the integrity of the judging process.
Milos Sarcev’s Insights
Milos Sarcev, a respected figure in the bodybuilding community, weighed in on the controversy. He pointed out that the 2023 Mr. Olympia was a highly competitive event where the top three contenders, Derek Lunsford, Hadi Choopan, and Samson Dauda, could have easily claimed victory.
Milos Sarcev emphasized that the judging process was thorough, with the top three competitors compared multiple times, making it clear that the decision was not rushed.
Milos Sarcev strongly refuted the notion that political factors played a role in the judging.
He highlighted a previous instance where an Iranian athlete, Behrooz Tabani, beat an American athlete, Brett Wilkin, in a competition, suggesting that the IFBB Pro League’s judging system is impartial.
Jay Cutler’s Perspective
Four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler also shared his thoughts on the controversy. Jay Cutler believed that the 2023 Mr. Olympia was a fiercely competitive event and felt that any of the top three could have won.
He mentioned the unique way in which the event was judged, where the two highest and two lowest scores from the nine judges were erased, and the middle five counted.
He believed that Derek Lunsford “demolished” his competitors with this pose, emphasizing the level of condition and size Derek Lunsford brought to the stage.
Challenges and Adversities
He was rushed to the hospital for esophagus ulcers just days before taking the stage. Despite these setbacks, he delivered a commendable performance.
His emotional reaction and subsequent social media post reflected his deep investment in the competition and his determination to return stronger in the future.
A Possible Rematch
With the controversy and intense emotions surrounding the 2023 Mr. Olympia, there is already talk of a potential rematch in the coming year.
Whether this will come to fruition remains to be seen, but the bodybuilding world eagerly anticipates the next showdown between these exceptional athletes.
The 2023 Mr. Olympia was a historic event filled with unforgettable moments, intense competition, and unexpected controversy.