After an 11-year hiatus, the 2023 Masters Olympia is set to return on August 25-27 at the Arena in Cluj Napoca, Romania. The competition provides a platform for older bodybuilding competitors to showcase their talents on stage. The Masters Olympia was first introduced in 1994 to allow competitors from yesteryears and other older bodybuilding professionals to compete in front of fans. Bodybuilding veteran Robby Robinson emerged as the inaugural champion. The event continued annually until 2003 and returned for a single edition in 2012, where bodybuilding legend Dexter Jackson took home the top prize.
While many are excited about the show’s return, others are not on board with the decision. Renowned bodybuilding coach Milos Sarcev dismissed the possibility of his participation and pushed back against the competition due to concerns surrounding athletes’ health earlier this year. On the other hand, Australian bodybuilder Lee Priest expressed his excitement at the event but ruled out his participation as well. Although Priest would have liked to sign up for the contest, his chest atrophy would keep him on the sidelines. Victor Martinez indicated his interest in potentially competing at the show three months ago. However, he was still on the fence about throwing his name in the hat as he wanted to check whether the prize money would justify his efforts.
The organizers announced the overall prize money at $229,000 for all the divisions at the 2023 Masters Olympia weeks later. Being the last winner, there was a lot of speculation about whether Dexter Jackson would join the roster. He added fuel to the fire with an insane workout update showing off his huge biceps two months ago. Along with Jackson, iconic bodybuilder Jay Cutler generated a lot of buzz for potentially returning to competition. Coach Chris Aceto argued against the return of the four-time Mr. Olympia and the show itself last month. Japanese 212 and Open competitor Hidetada Yamagishi declared his comeback to competition for the 2023 Masters Olympia weeks ago. He would take to the stage at the age of 50 with the belief he could win one final title. Last month, he left the fans stunned with a ripped physique update 18 weeks out of the event. Cutler and IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger revealed the full roster for each of the 10 divisions of the show two weeks ago.
In a recent YouTube video, Michelle Brent opened up about her nearly four-decade-long career going into the 2023 Masters Olympia at the age of 65. “This is actually into my 36th year,” said Brent. “In 1985 I did an unsanctioned NPC show so technically I started in 1986 when I won the San Jose Super Bowl. It was Paul Love the promoter back then. Technically it would really be 37 but it would really be 38 if you count 1985.”
Brent discussed how she manages to compete in her mid-60s along with how dancing helped refine her posing skills. “Finally my little dream will come true. 25 years it took me to turn Pro. Crazy with only three years off in that 25 to get it. I get seconds, thirds, so I went to the Universe. I trained smart, never trained beyond getting a tweak or twinge. I never would go do 10 more reps or whatever. Literally never injured myself in the gym, nutrition-wise always been pretty good. I didn’t get too crazy in the off-season, ate good, never had metabolic damage. I’ve just been very blessed.”
“I love to dance. If I didn’t discover bodybuilding I always wanted to be one of those troop dancers like a background, the whole learning, the steps, and all that but so I just love to dance. Ironically the first show in 1985, they had said you get this one minute to do whatever you want but you have to put some poses in bodybuilding poses really. I had the best time ever. It was like I found my niche. I know well I could be muscular and work out but yeah that could be entertaining and do what I love to do ‘part dance.’”
She’s targeting her first trophy at the 2023 Masters Olympia and revealed it would mark her last year in competition. “I knew it was in the works, it wasn’t just a rumor. I knew Jake had wanted to get the Masters. But I never thought there was going to be some point there was going to be a championship for our Masters. All these people are able to turn pro now. Jake Wood came up with bringing back the Masters National Olympia but let’s make it all the divisions. Let’s make it legit, not just the men. I just kept on hanging in there hoping that at some point I was going to be able to end my career with at least one championship under my belt.”
“I truly have to admit that this is thank the Lord that I got this because I really truly believe this is my last year because I do have a little bit of just old age. I’d say old age but wear and tear, things my wrist is really bothering me, my hip joints so it’s starting to tell me and I’m smart.”
Brent called for a change in the qualification criteria of the show, arguing that it should be based on the competitor’s age and years of experience rather than their placings in other competitions. She also expressed her excitement at the show’s return and the opportunity to compete alongside other veteran bodybuilders.
In conclusion, the return of the 2023 Masters Olympia has generated excitement and controversy in the bodybuilding community. While some are eager to see the older competitors take the stage once again, others have expressed concerns about the health risks associated with the sport. Michelle Brent, a 65-year-old bodybuilder, is looking forward to competing in the event and hopes to end her career with a championship under her belt. The competition’s organizers have announced a prize pool of $229,000 for all divisions, and fans are eagerly anticipating the return of legendary bodybuilders such as Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler.