“It was like a nightclub”
Mr. Olympia 2022 has become a hot topic since its conclusion last month. The event has been heavily criticized by many for its poor organization. Popular Men’s Open bodybuilder James Hollingshead became the latest athlete to crash the event as he shed light on the poor conditions behind the scenes.
Claiming that the Olympia backstage was dimly lit and cold, Hollingshead stated that it felt ‘like a nightclub’. The bodybuilder slammed the event organizers and said it was a chaotic experience.
Hollingshead, who finished 12th in the 2021 Mr Olympia competition, said organizers needed to do a better job of ‘creating more order behind the scenes’. Speaking in a YouTube video on January 3, 2023, he said:
“It’s weird behind the scenes, it’s kind of chaotic. So I think we need to work to create more order behind the scenes.”
He went on to state that there was “no room to move” backstage. Calling it a nightclub, Hollingshead said past venues had relatively better backstage. The Shed added:
“Just bad backstage space. When I saw this interview with Jay [Cutler] Evan [Centopani] – this was a great reminder to me of what Olympia was like behind the scenes many times. It was literally a room that could cater for hundreds of people [optimal] lighting like this, so you can see what you’re doing. Gym equipment to pump this kind of lighting so you can see what you’re doing.”
“I felt sorry for the ladies who were getting out, they had to walk around a key light like the one I have here so they can push people and see what they’re doing. It was dark. So dark. It was like being in a nightclub.” Hollingshead says multiple issues affected the Olympia competitors
According to James Hollingshead, poor lighting, lack of space and temperature have affected bodybuilders. He said the conditions could have made the contestants look worse during their poses and said:
“These are the things I mentioned: light and space, the way to go backstage. Backstage temperature. But this is the super bowl of bodybuilding. It’s meant to be the show of shows. He is the king of kings. So with that, you expect a certain level – you just expect a certain level of execution.” “This is not a knock on a federation. This is not a shot at a person. This is me expressing what I feel needs to change and [the issues I brought up] were overlooked. And I know many other people feel the same. It’s unfortunate that people feel like they can’t tell you, because if we don’t tell you, nothing will change.”
The bodybuilder added that the contestants were forced to share backstage rooms with the media as well. He indicated that the ‘crowd’ of other people behind the scenes influenced the athletes’ mentality and said:
“Their little gym area was too small to fit every Olympian in there because there were over 25 plus Olympians at a time and then obviously we had to share backstage with the other classes when they came back, especially Bikini – it became very difficult to move. around. There was literally no room for anyone and I’m sure they would say the same thing.”
With his comments, Hollingshead joined the list of bodybuilders who have spoken out against the Olympia production team.
Earlier, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler had also criticized the organizers of the event. Calling the backstage production a “mess”, he said Open Men’s contestants were left to suffer behind the scenes for hours.
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