Somewhere in the ’90s, the golden era of bodybuilding started diminishing and an era of big bodybuilders came into being. More mass-packed the bodybuilder was, the more awe he received and with more awe came more popularity. Soon it became about defying the then definition of big and more and more bodybuilders started hustling towards size. Amidst this era, two types of bodybuilders got crushed. One who still carried the golden art and kept their waists small and the others who were ready to pack the mass but their body didn’t allow for much due to limitations of height and therefore the inability to put on as much mass as the much taller bodybuilders. Even if they did put decent mass they were bound to look small due to the disadvantage of height. In 2008, IFBB realised the shorter bodybuilders needed a platform to showcase their own bodies amongst a similar competition and get a shot at winning a title. It was then the today 212, then 202 bodybuilding division was introduced in Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend aka Mr Olympia.
So what does 212 mean in bodybuilding? 212 bodybuilding class is for the bodybuilders with up to or below 212 pounds of body weight and height up to or below 5’5 or 166 cm. 212 is the name as derived based on the maximum weight limit in this category that is 212 pounds.
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- History of 212 bodybuilding division.
- 212 Mr Olympia winners of the years.
- The winning prize for 212 Mr Olympia winner.
- Rules and requirements in 212 bodybuilding division.
- The popularity of 212 bodybuilding category.
History of 212 Bodybuilding Class
In order to give a fair shot to the relatively shorter bodybuilders, The IFBB professional league introduced a 202 division in 2008 meant for those below or up to the weight limit of 202 pounds and height up to or below 5’5. The division received a warm welcome as the bodybuilding fans now had athletes from another division to look out for as well. A new division meant a new thrill in Mr Olympia. For the bodybuilders who were previously competing in the open category and were then eligible for 202 bodybuilding division, felt justice as they could now rise to the top spot as well. A new division also meant more athletes stepping on the Mr Olympia stage and everyone had eyes on who was going to take the first 202 title home in 2008.
In the year 2012, The IFBB professional league extended the weight limit of this category from 202 pounds to 212 pounds and the division was renamed as 212 Mr Olympia from 202 Mr Olympia. This change was bought about to make the division a little more competitive by allowing the then impressive lightweight bodybuilders to put on a few more mass and pit against each other in a more ferocious battle. 212 bought the star status to the professionals who went unnoticed before in front of the much bigger professional bodybuilders when they competed in the men’s open category.
All 212 Olympia Winners
The first ever 212 then 202 Olympia was David Henry in the year 2008 when the class was first introduced. The bodybuilder with the most wins in this class is Flex Lewis who has now retired from the division and is taking things a step further and will soon pit against the open class bodybuilders. Let’s take a look at all the 212 Olympia winners from 2008- present.
|2012||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2013||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2014||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2015||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2016||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2017||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
|2018||James ‘Flex’ Lewis|
Winning Prize Money in 212 Olympia
In the men’s division of Mr Olympia 2019, 212 had the second-highest winning amount. The top 5 places at Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend held at Las Vegas, United States the 212 Olympia won the following prize money-
Requirements and rules for 212 bodybuilding class
In order to be eligible for participating in the 212 division in Mr Olympia, one needs to have an IFBB pro card to be eligible to participate in an IFBB pro qualifier competition for Mr Olympia. Bodybuilders who have previously won Mr Olympia do not need to go to the process of getting qualified first through an IFBB pro qualifier. The winners of IFBB pro qualifiers move on to the stage of next Mr Olympia whenever it takes place.
The body composition requirements are- The athlete should be equal to or below 212 pounds that is 96.16 kg and the height should be equal to or below 5’5 that is 165 cm. Apart from this the athlete is judged and given points based on the same criteria as in men’s open bodybuilding class. They have to perform the seven mandatory poses. They are judged based on factors such as symmetry, muscles mass, separation and conditioning, For a more definitive guide on the rules refer to the website of International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB)
Popularity of 212 Olympia
With time the popularity of 212 class has definitely increased. The class has been embraced by the bodybuilding fans all over the world. With a bodybuilder like Flex Lewis winning the title consecutively for 7 years it increases the curiosity of fans and avid watchers of bodybuilding shows. The anticipation and thrill of who will still reign or who will dethrone the other bring the chills to the 212 same as the open category. After all the two are not so different apart from the height and bodyweight limits. Most of the 212 bodybuilders today once used to compete in the men’s open bodybuilding category. For example- David Henry the first-ever winner of 212 Olympia in the year 2008 placed number 10th in the previous year’s Mr Olympia in men’s open bodybuilding division. This allows for the talent which was once suppressed to come out and rise to the top.
For the 2019 Mr Olympia bodybuilding fans were all eagerly waiting for who will fill the empty throne after Flex Lewis had retired. All such things have massively contributed to the growth and popularity of 212 bodybuilding division. It was mainly after the 202 was renamed as 212 and the rules were tweaked the division garnered more attention as the competitiveness was moved up a notch. The already champs in 202- David Henry and Kevin English faced great competition as the fuller bodybuilders who had to previously cut down and get a little flat could now be extended up to their potential with a 10-pound increase in the division. Where David Henry wished to get the title back from Kevin English in 2012 and where Kevin English didn’t want to leave a throne a new competition arrived and swept both of them away and took the throne and went on to rule it for the next 7 years before finally retiring from the division. The competition was James ‘Flex’ Lewis. Lewis is surely the greatest bodybuilder of the 212 division and now it’ll be fun to watch what he brings to the table in men’s open bodybuilding category now.
Who is your favorite 212 bodybuilder? Tell us below.