2024 Arnold Classic USA Preview and Men’s Open Bodybuilding Top Contenders

By / February 22, 2024

The bodybuilding world is abuzz with anticipation as the 35th annual Arnold Classic approaches, promising a showcase of raw strength, sculpted physiques, and unwavering determination.

Set to unfold in Columbus, Ohio, from February 29 to March 3, the 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open division is poised to deliver a spectacle that will reverberate throughout the realm of professional bodybuilding.

A Legacy of Greatness: The Arnold Classic Story

Before delving into the riveting preview of the 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open, let’s take a moment to appreciate the storied legacy that this competition has carved in the annals of bodybuilding history.

Inaugurated in 1989, with the legendary Rich Gaspari clinching the maiden title, the Arnold Classic has since been a pivotal stepping stone for illustrious careers.

Icons like Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson have etched their names in the tournament’s rich tapestry, cementing its status as the second most prestigious title in the sport.

The Defending Champion: Samson Dauda’s Quest for Glory

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The reigning champion, Samson Dauda, is gearing up to defend his title after a triumphant victory at the 2023 Arnold Classic.

Samson Dauda, a force to be reckoned with, has since showcased his dominance with consecutive wins at the Romania Muscle Fest Pro and EVLS Prague Pro.

His relentless pursuit of excellence positions him as one of the most formidable contenders on the 2024 roster.

The International Stage: A Global Clash of Titans

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The 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open boasts a diverse array of talent from across the globe.

With names like Hadi Choopan, the former 2022 Mr. Olympia winner, bringing unparalleled conditioning, the stage is set for an international clash of titans.

As Hadi Choopan seeks redemption after a runner-up finish at the Olympia, the Arnold Classic becomes the battleground for his resurgence.

Contender Lineup: The Who’s Who of Bodybuilding

The Top Contenders

1. Samson Dauda: The Unyielding Champion

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Samson Dauda, the current titleholder, stands at the pinnacle of the sport. His recent triumphs and relentless work ethic make him a force to be reckoned with.

Samson Dauda’s physique updates suggest continuous improvement, making him a frontrunner in the quest for the 2024 title.

2. Hadi Choopan: The Redemption Seeker

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Hadi Choopan, determined to erase the memory of his recent Olympia defeat, steps onto the Arnold Classic stage for the first time.

Known for his unparalleled dry conditioning, Hadi Choopan aims to leave Ohio with a gold trophy, inching closer to reclaiming the coveted Sandow trophy.

3. Rafael Brandao: The Symmetry Maestro

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Rafael Brandao, hailing from Brazil, brings symmetry, shape, and completeness to the competition.

With victories at esteemed events like the 2022 Arnold Classic South America, Rafael Brandao’s reputation precedes him. Despite a setback, he returns with added size, poised to showcase his best.

4. Marcello De Angelis: The ‘Horse MD’ Phenomenon

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Marcello De Angelis, aptly known as ‘Horse MD,’ transitions from Classic Physique to the Open class with notable strides in size and detail.

Trained by the renowned Milos Sarcev, Marcello De Angelis aims to leverage his proportions, conditioning, and vascularity for a standout performance.

5. James Hollingshead: The Density Dynamo

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James Hollingshead, utilizing 2022 as an extended off-season, returns with newfound density and improvements.

As one of the tallest and strongest competitors, James Hollingshead’s progress photos hint at a physique ready to make a lasting impact in his inaugural Arnold Classic appearance.

6. Jonathan De La Rosa: The Wildcard

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Jonathan De La Rosa, armed with over a decade of IFBB Pro experience, emerges as a wildcard.

His size gains over the past season position him as a formidable force, ready to stake his claim in the first call-out.

Dark Horses Poised to Surprise

1. Antoine Vaillant: The Energetic Challenger

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Antoine Vaillant, known for his electrifying stage presence and posing skills, eyes a top spot on the podium.

Overcoming a mysterious heart condition, Vaillant has redirected his career, making aesthetic improvements that could position him as a surprise contender.

2. Mohamed Shaaban: The Prodigal Return

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Mohamed Shaaban, a seasoned Pro and bodybuilding veteran, returns to the stage with ambitious plans.

After time away for physique refinement, Mohamed Shaaban aims to reestablish himself as a force, armed with proportions and symmetry that could make him a dark horse.

3. Akim Williams: ‘The Beast’ Reloaded

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Akim Williams ‘The Beast’ Williams, overcoming a shoulder injury, is poised for a comeback.

His sixth-place finish at the 2023 Arnold Classic, even with an injury, underscores his resilience.

Fully recovered, Akim Williams eyes a higher placement, presenting a formidable challenge to his competitors.

4. Justin Rodriguez: The Unyielding Competitor

justin rodriguez bodybuilder
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Justin Rodriguez, a familiar face under the bright lights, returns with unwavering determination.

With a track record of competing frequently and never shying away from the stage, Rodriguez poses a crafty challenge when his conditioning aligns with his muscular density.

Event Details and Livestream

Don’t miss the spectacle of the 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open unfolding in Columbus, Ohio, from February 29 to March 3.

Bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed that the live stream will be free on the official Arnold Sports Website, ensuring that fans worldwide can witness the culmination of months of preparation and dedication on the grand stage.

As the countdown to the 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open begins, the excitement is palpable. Each contender brings a unique story, a journey of perseverance, and a quest for bodybuilding excellence.

Columbus, Ohio, awaits the clash of titans, where only one will emerge victorious, etching their name in the prestigious history of the Arnold Classic.

The stage is set, the contenders are primed, and the bodybuilding world holds its breath for the unveiling of the next chapter in this iconic competition.

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