Only one other man has won the NY Pro more than once: Kai Greene, who went from the ignominy of placing 14th in 2005 and tying for 18th (“did not place”) in 2006, before leapfrogging to sixth in 2007 and then finally winning the contest in ’08. Greene returned to take the title in dominant fashion a second time three years later. Others have tried, with less success: Darrem Charles, 2005’s winner, gave it two shots (2nd in ’06, 7th in ’09); 2009’s champ, Roelly Winklaar, placed ninth in 2011; and 2012’s winner, Cedric McMillan, placed 12th last year.
The 288-pound package Ramy revealed last year shut everyone up for a while and lef them blinking. However, in bodybuilding, no competitor is immune to criticism, not Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, and certainly not an unheard-of newcomer who owns his pro debut. When jaws finally came up off the floor last spring, there were two criticisms of Ramy: (1) He hasn’t nailed that grainy conditioning we like to see in a bodybuilding champion yet; and (2) his upper chest could use a little more size. Now, this might sound like nitpicking, and it is: Ramy was good enough to beat Victor Martinez and Juan Morel in New York, and to go on to place eighth in his first Olympia. But Elssbiay has been listening to what people have said, and as his friend and trainer Dennis James makes clear, he’s concentrating on bringing up his chest.