Good Sport

Mr. Olympia

A project by Timur Yilmaz

He’s grown a lot in two years. He’s in a room with men, who look like they’ve been trapped here for decades. They slam heavy metal weights down with such vigour the dust on the floor blows up in the air and then gracefully falls back down just before the next set. Pictures of bodybuilders, cut from magazines are taped across the yellowish white walls of the gym in a seemingly random pattern.  Arnold’s image repeats on every wall.

“I was maybe thirteen, fourteen, when I stumbled here for the first time about twenty years ago”, Mika Nikkonen explains. An image of him posing in last year's Finnish Bodybuilding Championship hangs on the bulletin board. “We just used to come down here during recess in high school to see who was the strongest”

“I didn’t have any heroes as a kid”, he continues.

It's almost midnight, still hot. Mika sits in his room. The music from the arena still rings in his ears. Flashes of the night. He and his body are exhausted. Some of the tan washes away in the shower.


GS: Timur, what does ‘out of left field’ mean to you?

TY: To paraphrase Roddy Piper, 
“Just when I think I know the answer, somebody changes the question.”

Timur Yilmaz is a photojournalist located in Helsinki Finland.