dyolympia.jpgMr. Olympia is an international bodybuilding competition which is held annually by the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB). Winning is considered to be the highest accolade in the professional bodybuilding field.

The competition was created by Joe Weider to allow the Mr. Universe winners to continue competing and to earn money. The first Mr. Olympia was held on September 18, 1965 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, with Larry Scott winning his first of two straight titles.

Having placed 2nd to Haney the previous year, Dorian Yates won the 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 competitions.

Yates retired from competitive bodybuilding after his 1997 victory. Starting in 1998, Ronnie Coleman won the next eight competitions.

In 1994 Joe Weider decided to add a separate Masters Olympia competition for professional bodybuilders to continue to compete at the highest levels in their later years.


All Mr. Olympia competitors must meet the qualifying criteria. Possible methods of qualifying are:

  • Previous Mr. Olympia winner (but if more than 5 years have passed IFBB approval is required)
  • Top 6 finalist from previous year's Mr. Olympia
  • Top 6 finalist from same year's Arnold Classic
  • Top 5 finalist from same year's New York Men’s Professional (previously the Night of the Champions)
  • Top 3 finalist from any other competition in the I.F.B.B professional tour held during the subsequent year prior to the Mr. Olympia
  • The winner of the Masters Professional World Championships

On top of this, the event organizer can nominate one competitor, who has not qualified by other means, as a “special invitee”. Schwarzenegger was able to enter into the 1980 Mr. Olympia contest because of this rule and the fact that he had won the Mr. Olympia contest 5 years prior.