Perhaps once considered one of the bigger dark horses at the upcoming 2023 Mr. Olympia, bodybuilder Blessing Awodibu has been biding his time and gathering his strength. Such time away from competition, especially after he notably skipped the 2023 Arnold Classic (AC), did not appear to benefit Awodibu’s prospects at the recent 2023 Chicago Pro (CP).
On July 24, 2023, Awodibu was featured in an interview by Mr. Olympia announcer Bob Cicherillo. The discussion appeared to take place immediately after the preliminary round of the contest, before the evening’s Finals determined the ultimate results. The athlete expressed disappointment with the physique he presented — an accurate self-assessment, as he would later earn fourth-place in the contest, while a victory could’ve earned him qualification to the 2023 Olympia contest in November in Orlando, FL.
Awodibu entered the 2023 CP as one of the pre-contest favorites but ultimately didn’t even qualify for the podium. When Cicherillo tried to gauge Awodibu’s side of the story, asking him what happened, the athlete didn’t mince words and seemed almost exasperated at falling short of a win.
“What happened out there, man?” Awodibu asked rhetorically. “I mean, [expletive]. I mean, I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you, man. It was a really, really tough prep, man. Especially mentally, and there was a lot on the line for me and a lot of pressure. It was a lot of pressure. And tonight, I was soft, man, I was soft.”
Awodibu clarified that, as a result of a successful muscle-building offseason, he actually weighed more for the 2023 CP than he did in May of 2022 when when he won both the 2022 Indy Pro and, one week later, the 2022 New York Pro. Such significant growth may have inevitably sunk his chances to come out on top in his recent appearance.
“That tightness wasn’t there,” Awodibu explained. “I was a little bit too wet. I just got to figure it out, man. Because I know when I do figure it out, I feel like I’m in a whole different league … Honestly, I’m 10 pounds heavier. I thought it would have been a good thing.”
Awodibu already faced a potentially tall order with competitors like reigning Mr. Olympia champion Hadi Choopan and 2022 runner-up Derek Lunsford standing in his way. Before he can even dream of competing well against both of his peers on bodybuilding’s grandest stage, Awodibu still has to earn his spot at the 2023 Olympia. Despite this 2023 CP setback, Awodibu seems to be staying positive and channeling his failure into a competitive motivation.
He’s looking forward to rebounding and making his mark at the 2023 Texas Pro in August.
“I will figure it out,” Awodibu said. “Because, I know, man, I deserve to be one of the best. When I miss like this, it really hurts because it’s like, this should not be happening. But, you know, it’s bodybuilding. It’s a journey. You learn from these things and you can only get better as long as you keep moving.”
Featured image: @blessing_awodibu on Instagram
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