Here’s a list of the Pro Wheelchair Olympia winners since its inauguration in 2018.
The International BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League birthed the most prestigious bodybuilding show of the year in 1965, Olympia. Canadian bodybuilder and co-founder of the IFBB Pro League, Joe Weider, brought Olympia weekend to life to give elite bodybuilders a chance to compete amongst each other and win big prize money. On September 18, 1965, in New York City at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Larry Scott became the maiden Mr. Olympia (Men’s Bodybuilding Open champ). It grew exponentially over the next few decades, including more divisions to attract competitors and give more contenders opportunities. Now, Olympia hosts opportunities for Pro Wheelchair Olympia winners.
As the name implies, the Wheelchair category is for athletes who have endured a congenital disability or injury requiring them to use a wheelchair for everyday life. The judges score the athletes on upper body musculature, symmetry, and conditioning, as well as posing, including side chest, side triceps, double back biceps, front lat spread, and back lat spread. In addition, another unique component of this class is that they announce each competitor’s injuries.
The Pro Wheelchair division at Olympia is one of the newer divisions to surface. And as the Wellness division, it’s only seen one winner, Harold “King Kong” Kelley.
Pro Wheelchair Olympia Winners
Harold “King Kong” Kelley made history by becoming the first-ever Pro Wheelchair Olympia winner in 2018. Despite coming short of the 2022 Arnold Classic title in March, when Gabriele Andriulli was victorious, Kelley pulled through again in 2022. He’s dominated the division. He’s collected five titles and has warded off every contender going after the title since the inauguration of the Wheelchair division at Olympia–no other competitor has one yet. Kelley is also a 5x Arnold Classic champion.
Kelley is happy that wheelchair bodybuilding is here, but he’d like to see it continue to grow. You can see his full Generation Iron exclusive interview on improving wheelchair bodybuilding below.
2022 Wheelchair Olympia
In 2021, 8x Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney presented the award to Kelley in Orlando, Florida. In addition, the first female IFBB Pro bodybuilder to earn her pro card for the female wheelchair category, Jen Pasky Jaquin, was featured as a guest poser.
Fast forward to 2022, the pinnacle of bodybuilding resorted back to its home, Sin City. The 2022 Pro Wheelchair competitor took place on Saturday, December 17, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. And once the night concluded, Harold Kelley slept as a five-time (2018-2022) Men’s Wheelchair Olympia champion.
12 competitors were after the title this year, hosted by the wheelchair bodybuilding president, Nick Scott.
Kelley faced fierce competition, though, from other competitors. The 2021 Wheelchair Olympia bronze medalist kept Kelley on his toes throughout the callouts. So did the 2021 Wheelchair runner-up Gabriele Andriulli.
- Harold Kelley
- Gabriele Andriulli
- Antoni Khadraoui
- Jean Pierre Kavalin
- Adelfo Cerame, Jr.
- Woody Belfort
- Tyler Brey
- Tory Jones
- Chad McCrary
- Bradley Betts
- Abraham Sanchez
- Anand Arnold
Since the launch of Olympia in 1965, it’s grown into 11 divisions. The Wheelchair division is one of the newer categories and joined the list of Olympia divisions in 2018. It’s for athletes who have suffered an injury or congenital disorder and now have to use a wheelchair.
The Wheelchair category is judged from the waist up. Thus far, Harold Kelley is the only wheelchair competitor to hold an Olympia title and has defended it for five consecutive years.