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Author Topic: Olympia: Robin Chang talks about the Olympia  (Read 8722 times)
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« on: September 18, 2009, 10:31:15 PM »

Interview with Robing Chang, about the 2009 Olympia and more...

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/robin-chang-09-olympia-interview.htm




In 2005, Director of AMI events, Robin Chang, produced his first Olympia Weekend event. Since then, what has become known as the 'super bowl of bodybuilding' has grown to be, by far, the world's largest bodybuilding/fitness extravaganza, annually hosting the best bodybuilders, figure and fitness competitors and strength athletes on the planet.

In 2009 it promises to be larger than ever, a proclamation that is made with each successive show. According to Mr. Chang, the 2009 Olympia Weekend will host the biggest line-up of competitors ever seen in a series of contests, from men's bodybuilding through to women's figure, that, year after year, never fail to provide something new for the fans.


If the sheer quality and quantity of contestants competing in the Olympia doesn't suggest the show has grown exponentially, the increase in prize money from $720,000 in 2008 to $800,000 in '09, with the winner of the Mr. Olympia alone earning $200,000 (up $45,000 from 2008), does.

Organizing the world's biggest bodybuilding and fitness event, including the largest expo of its kind, is, on the face of it, a major task.

With all that is needed to ensure the smooth running of an event with so many component parts, as the Olympia Weekend has, an organizer with knowledge of what the competitors themselves will experience and the entrepreneurial savvy and diplomatic skills required to effectively market the show while keeping everyone happy, is a must.

With Robin Chang at the helm, this particular requirement is more than fulfilled. In the following interview, Mr. Chang discusses how the Olympia weekend is run, what fans and competitors can expect come September 24 and what he, as the man in charge, must do to ensure all goes as planned.


[ Q ] It seems the Olympia weekend is getting bigger every year. What can fans expect from the 2009 event compared to previous years?

They're going to see the most competitive lineup in the history of the sport. Sure, there have been great lineups in the past, but it's never been this deep. The Sandow has changed hands three times since 2006 so obviously no one has a lock on it.

That makes it more exciting for the fans, and when you add the talent of this lineup, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see something special.

I mean, if you make the top ten in this show, you're a legitimate top ten bodybuilder in the world. Plus, there's the Expo, the FLEX Bikini Model Search, the 202 Showdown, the MHP Strongest Man Challenge, the NAGA North American Grappling Championships, Johnnie Jackson vs. Ben White for the Olympia Strongest Bodybuilder Challenge and lots more.


[ Q ] Where will the separate events be held this year?
 
The Mr. Olympia prejudging and finals will be at the Orleans Arena along with the finals for Ms. Olympia, Fitness, Figure and the 202 Showdown.

The expo will, once again, be at the Las Vegas Convention Center and we'll have tons of events and, of course, prejudging for the Ms. Olympia, Fitness Olympia, Figure Olympia and the 202 Showdown.


[Q] Of all the Olympia events currently scheduled, what has proven to be the most popular and why?
 
That's a tough one. The Mr. Olympia is definitely the main draw, but the weekend represents the entire bodybuilding and fitness industry, so it's hard to say what's going to be at the top of everyone's list.

Obviously the main competitions, bodybuilding, fitness and figure are front and center. And the FLEX Bikini contest is way up there too, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

The FLEX and Muscle & Fitness booths are always heavy traffic areas. Fans love competing in the Battle of the Biceps. We try to give everybody something they can enjoy.

I want people leaving Las Vegas and saying things like, "The bikini contest was awesome, there were so many gorgeous girls" or "The strongest bodybuilder challenge was insane!" People have memories of the Olympia Weekend because there's so much to see and do.


[ Q ] What kind of feedback have you had concerning the 202-pound pro bodybuilding event?
 
It's been incredible! This event has really taken on a life of its own. The athletes and fans have embraced it 100%. The $20,000 in total prize money attests to that. That rivals some of the open men's events.

I mean, there's a lot of pride involved in being called the greatest under 202-pound bodybuilder in the world. The guys are incredibly hungry.

They know that at the end of the year, instead of getting lost in a lineup of competitors that outweigh them by 50 to 60 pounds, they have a legitimate championship to shoot for. It's opened up a whole new world of competition

[ Q ] Will the 202-pound event be run on the same stage as the main show this year?

Yes and no. The prejudging and individual posing routines will be Saturday, on the main expo stage at the Convention Center. Then, as a bonus treat, we'll bring out the entire 202 lineup to the Orleans Arena for the Saturday finals.

After each competitor is introduced, the top five will stay onstage for their final pose-down and receive their awards. It's the first year we're doing this and the competitor's love it. I know the fans will, too.


[ Q ] What time will the 202-pound class routines take place?

The 202 Showdown routines will take place on the Expo stage around 1 PM.


[ Q ] How difficult is it to run such a massive event as the Olympia weekend? What are some of the difficulties you encounter and how do you deal with these?

It's such a big show with a million moving parts, but you know what? As overwhelming as it can be, honestly, I love it. It's certainly challenging, but that comes with the territory. I'd have to say that one of the keys to pulling off a show of this magnitude is to plan ahead and then manage it.

You have to be aware of all the details and how everything, and I do mean everything, affects everything else. Everything you do plays a part somewhere else, even if it's not apparent at first. And you have to go into it knowing that things will pop up at the last minute. It never fails.

Expect the unexpected. But you deal with it when it happens, nine times out of ten the best solution is the simplest one. You have to believe it can be done and then you go out and do it.

You don't pull off a show like this without a lot of people in your corner and by far, the biggest help is having the best production and management team in the world.

Maria Ibarra, Cindy Petrosky, Craig Arthur and the entire FLEX and Muscle & Fitness staff: that's my team. I couldn?t do it without them. I trust them completely. We've been doing this for so long that we all understand what we have to do, as individuals and as a team.

Everyone knows their role and they're committed to getting the job done. Of course, none of this would be possible without David Pecker at the AMI helm and the guidance and help of IFBB Pro League Chairman and NPC President Jim Manion.


[ Q ] What do you enjoy most about running the Olympia weekend, and why?

With all the craziness, getting it organized and making sure everyone hits his or her mark. Is the lighting right? What about sound? Issues with the stage, video, everything.

In the middle of all that, there's that moment when you stop and take a look around. You don't see the production crew scrambling like mad to keep the show going or whatever else needs to be done.

You look at the arena, you see all the lights, the stage, and you look out into the crowd and see the fans. You can feel the energy in the air.

Everyone's having a great time. Here are the greatest bodybuilders and fitness athletes in the world at the sport's biggest show and we're all enjoying it. That's what I love most.


[ Q ] What tells you that an Olympia weekend has been a success?

It's a combination of several factors. Obviously numbers do play a role, because you can't put on a show without good numbers, but it's about the fans and the athletes. How did they respond to it? Did they have a good time? What was the reaction after the show?

I look at all these things in determining whether or not we had a successful show. Was it smooth? Maybe some things didn't work out quite as well as we would have wanted but now we know we have work to do for next year.



[ Q ] To ensure the safety of and a professional environment for the competitors, how do you organize the backstage area? Who is allowed access and who is not?

We arrange the backstage area so that the athletes can focus on what they need to do without distractions, so access is limited to key personnel. Backstage can be chaos because everyone wants to go backstage, so if you're backstage, it's because you need to be there.

If you're not serving a specific, absolutely necessary purpose, you're not there. It's impossible to run the show and take care of the athletes if people that shouldn't be there are getting in the way.

Before the show, I review the list of backstage personnel myself and anyone not on the list is not going to be allowed backstage, no excuses.


[ Q ] With the expansion of the Olympia has come a steady increase in prize money for the competitors. Will the prize money be increased this year and, if so, by how much?

You bet it will. That's one of the things I'm especially proud about. It's proof that the show and the sport are headed in the right direction.

Prize money this year has been increased to $800,000. That's a $60,000 increase from last year. The winner of the Mr. Olympia will earn $200,000. That's up $45,000 from 2008.

Thanks to the support of our main sponsors (Ultimate Nutrition and Bodybuilding.com), the overall increase from last year is $60,000.

Also, for the first time in history, the purse for the runner-up in a men's bodybuilding contest will reach the six-figure mark, as the second-place finisher will receive $100,000 in prize money.


[ Q ] There has been a degree of criticism within the bodybuilding community regarding the prize money awarded to the Olympia competitors. Do you feel this criticism is warranted?
 
There will always be critics and that's fine because if they're on the money, it alerts you to things that need improvement. But the Olympia has more prize money than any other show in the sport.

We've got almost double the cash prize of the Arnold Classic, the second biggest show in the industry. So no, I don't feel it's warranted.


[ Q ] What are your personal views on the current crop of bodybuilders seen on the Mr. Olympia stage today? In your view, how far has professional bodybuilding progressed?
 

They've taken size, muscularity and condition to another level. And we're seeing a shift in terms of the whole size vs. shape debate.

It's no longer about size at all costs, like it was a few years ago. We have a 230-pound Mr. Olympia in Dexter Jackson beating out 265 to 280 pound guys. That says a lot.

It's about having it all and this current crop is raising the bar... fast. Look at Phil Heath. He's got a phenomenal physique and he's only 29 years old and improving every year. We have Dennis Wolf, who's got loads of potential
Victor Martinez, Kai Green, who's really moving up the ranks and has to be considered a serious threat to the Olympia, Jay Cutler, Melvin Anthony. The future is looking very promising.


[ Q ] Why do you believe the Olympia is such a popular event? Why do bodybuilding fans continue coming back year after year?

Because people want to see the best in the world. That's why millions watch the Super Bowl and World Series. You want to see the impossible become possible and in bodybuilding, that's the Olympia.

As a fan, that keeps me coming back for more. We owe that to Joe and Ben Weider. They had a vision and made it happen.


[ Q ] Why does the Olympia remain the biggest and best bodybuilding spectacle in the world today?
 
The Olympia continues to push the boundaries. We're not sitting back and resting on our laurels. When you're the best, people expect more and we don't want to disappoint anybody.

We put the show on for fans that have been coming for years and for the new fan that's going for the first time. So whether you're veteran or a first-timer, it should be an unforgettable experience.

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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 10:36:35 PM »

reads like a Muscletech ad
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 10:40:19 PM »


People have asked a lot of questions. Here are some of the answers.

Many of us are excited, as in terms of who who going to win, this is the best Olympia in a long time.

Can't wait.

See you next Thursday at the press conference where Dan & Bob will ask the tough questions.
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2009, 01:33:20 AM »

They need to move it back to the Mandalay Bay....Much, much better venue.  Havethe expo at the LV convention center and the show at the Orleans, really sucks and it's inconvienant for everyone Angry

I wonder what the cost difference between the two are?
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2009, 05:49:03 AM »

Robin Chang's hometown is here in Taipei.
And he workout in my gym many years ago.
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2009, 09:43:39 AM »

Whoa... didn't realize the winner takes 200k home.. shit maybe I could start competing.

Agree with Wiggs; Mandalay was much classier.
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2009, 02:44:23 PM »

Whoa... didn't realize the winner takes 200k home.. shit maybe I could start competing.

Agree with Wiggs; Mandalay was much classier.
its taxed......... 200k = 100k lol
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2009, 07:15:17 PM »

They need to move it back to the Mandalay Bay....Much, much better venue.  Havethe expo at the LV convention center and the show at the Orleans, really sucks and it's inconvienant for everyone Angry

I wonder what the cost difference between the two are?

Bro, when the event was held at the Mandalay, the expo was no where near the size it is today...it was held in ajoining ballrooms.  There are few places in Vegas that can house the Expo, the CC being the best...

That said, when it WAS at the Mandalay, everyone (the fans) were bitchin that it was too expensive...whats so inconveinient, a 10 minute taxi?
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2009, 11:52:28 AM »

20K for 202 class vs $700K for Mr O.......hmmm Undecided
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2009, 12:53:48 PM »

Bro, when the event was held at the Mandalay, the expo was no where near the size it is today...it was held in ajoining ballrooms.  There are few places in Vegas that can house the Expo, the CC being the best...

That said, when it WAS at the Mandalay, everyone (the fans) were bitchin that it was too expensive...whats so inconveinient, a 10 minute taxi?

Yea Bob has a point... bb fans aren't the wealthiest Grin  the Arena is bigger than Mandalay's showroom... and the LV convention is 4x the size of the ajoining ballroom been in that ballroom many times for tradeshows...
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 03:04:20 PM »

See you at the Press conference
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2009, 04:18:19 PM »

Chick will make more money than the 202 winner and he didn't even need to take Drugs for it.Great job Bob you have a higher IQ than most.
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2009, 04:23:23 PM »

The 202 is still new, and has done quite well since we added it to the pro league schedule... the main draw is still (and always will be) the Mr. Olympia title...thats why the majority of the money is alloted to it, the prize money for the 202 will go up, as it's popularity does
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2009, 04:42:42 PM »

The 202 is still new, and has done quite well since we added it to the pro league schedule... the main draw is still (and always will be) the Mr. Olympia title...thats why the majority of the money is alloted to it, the prize money for the 202 will go up, as it's popularity does

Exactly... .20k beats many smaller shows...
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2009, 05:22:42 PM »

Bro, when the event was held at the Mandalay, the expo was no where near the size it is today...it was held in ajoining ballrooms.  There are few places in Vegas that can house the Expo, the CC being the best...

That said, when it WAS at the Mandalay, everyone (the fans) were bitchin that it was too expensive...whats so inconveinient, a 10 minute taxi?

Bro.. 10 Minute taxi?Huh Maybe to get there a few hours out.. ok.. maybe. But getting out?? There is a 250+ people line up outside the Orleans waiting on taxis..

THAT is why we are sick of it being there.. PLUS we are forced to pay extra FOR that taxi there and from. The Expo should remain where it is, plenty of space and the show should be held on the strip where it belongs.
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2009, 05:30:08 PM »

Bro.. 10 Minute taxi?Huh Maybe to get there a few hours out.. ok.. maybe. But getting out?? There is a 250+ people line up outside the Orleans waiting on taxis..

THAT is why we are sick of it being there.. PLUS we are forced to pay extra FOR that taxi there and from. The Expo should remain where it is, plenty of space and the show should be held on the strip where it belongs.

Get a town car...split it with a few friends...not that expensive and well worth not waiting
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2009, 05:55:34 PM »

Bob was it you that got the every Olympia competitor $2k even for last place???Do the little guys get it in the 202??
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2009, 06:49:06 PM »

Bob was it you that got the every Olympia competitor $2k even for last place???Do the little guys get it in the 202??

I put in a proposal to have the guys get $4K minimum, which they get from 11-15. After that, they get $2K....which passed.

No, it doesnt apply to the 202 as it wasnt around yet when this was voted on....

Previously, after 10th, the guys recieved nothing
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2009, 07:20:20 PM »

Quote
Bro.. 10 Minute taxi? Maybe to get there a few hours out.. ok.. maybe. But getting out?? There is a 250+ people line up outside the Orleans waiting on taxis..

Friday and Saturday night after the Mr. Olympia lets out, there will be a run on taxis, but I remember trying to leave the Mandalay Bay to a party, and the taxi line was (no kidding) over 120 people long and 45 minutes minimum.

Then again, last year, when we left a party on the strip to go to another party on the strip, it was the same thing.

Face it,  those two nights are hard to get a taxi as it gets later on later.

Wont matter wherever the venue is at.

And I think the Orleans Hotel is sold out, or almost sold out.

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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2009, 07:22:56 PM »

Good job Chick now see if you can get that 2k to 5k and I think you will have that Athletes Rep job for life. While your at it try and get all Grand Prix shows up to 50k minimun.
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2009, 12:00:18 AM »

Bro.. 10 Minute taxi?Huh Maybe to get there a few hours out.. ok.. maybe. But getting out?? There is a 250+ people line up outside the Orleans waiting on taxis..

THAT is why we are sick of it being there.. PLUS we are forced to pay extra FOR that taxi there and from. The Expo should remain where it is, plenty of space and the show should be held on the strip where it belongs.

there's also charter buses...
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2009, 07:12:02 AM »

Get a town car...split it with a few friends...not that expensive and well worth not waiting

Might be the best plan..


Bob, can't seem to find this anywhere on BB.com but will the Thursday "meet the champs" segment be aired lived, streamed? Or at least available to download? I am pretty sure the other mags will take in camcorders to get the footage but a live stream would be awesome.
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2009, 07:15:18 AM »

Friday and Saturday night after the Mr. Olympia lets out, there will be a run on taxis, but I remember trying to leave the Mandalay Bay to a party, and the taxi line was (no kidding) over 120 people long and 45 minutes minimum.

Then again, last year, when we left a party on the strip to go to another party on the strip, it was the same thing.

Face it,  those two nights are hard to get a taxi as it gets later on later.

Wont matter wherever the venue is at.

And I think the Orleans Hotel is sold out, or almost sold out


Hey Ron.. true. I think the biggest issue is that the show is OFF the strip.. hopefully they haven't signed any multi-year deals with the Orleans and will try to get something ON the strip. I loved the Mandalay pacakage.
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2009, 09:36:26 AM »

They need to move the Olympia out of Vegas every now and then. "CasinoTown" gets old...
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2009, 09:48:56 AM »

Quote
there's also charter buses...


I like the fact that they do have free buses going from the Orleans to the Expo. Makes it easier for some people who dont have a car or a taxi.

Quote
can't seem to find this anywhere on BB.com but will the Thursday "meet the champs" segment be aired lived,

Unless the Justin.tv head cam is with them, I dont see it.  We will want to do some videos there, but they wont be shown until after the Olympia.

Quote
hopefully they haven't signed any multi-year deals with the Orleans and will try to get something ON the strip. I loved the Mandalay pacakage

I loved the Mandalay Bay too, but the rooms there was close to $250 a night, and the special room we got (The Hotel at Mandalay Bay) was over $350, and that was a way back.

Quote
They need to move the Olympia out of Vegas every now and then. "CasinoTown" gets old...

Oh hell no!  I love Vegas!  Things for the family to do, got a lot of friends there, lots of hotels within a close vicinity.  And people from all over, international people to come there for the expo, contest, meetings and to check out Vegas.
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