- Created on Monday, 16 September 2013 19:17
- Written by Louis Uridel
The Dos and Don’ts of an Olympia Experience: The Olympia Expo
Big dudes, buff babes and free swag from supplement companies! There are a number of reasons that fans attend the Olympia weekend – to watch their favorite bodybuilder, to get that picture with a number of people in the industry they look up to, or just to walk around and look at the sheer multitude of inspiration going on in the city during this weekend.
Without any doubt, the biggest cluster of this activity will be at the renowned Olympia Expo located at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Note: the Expo has been moved to the NORTH HALL this year! Check out the Official Website for information (http://mrolympia.com/olympia-expo). The Expo runs Friday and Saturday from around 9:30/10a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m., depending on the day. Whether you are a first time spectator, a seasoned vet of the Olympia or even a booth worker… I hope this article of Dos and Don'ts finds you well.
(Never know who you will run into!!!)
First, one might ask how I am any sort of authority on what to do or not to do at the Olympia Expo. Well, I've been going to the Olympia Weekend for the greater part of the decade… this year will be my 11th straight year attending. I have attended as a fan and – for the past five years now – I will be attending as someone working at the Olympia. I have seen the light from both perspectives and now I hope to share a little bit of that perspective with you.
DO: Watch what you are taking samples of at the various booths. Many vendors are sampling out pre-workouts or energy drinks! The last thing you want in a crowded expo hall is to have a sudden rush of uncontrollable energy from the 13 energy shots you have downed. You will end up accepting every lifting challenge in the ANIMAL cage even when you know damn well you can't pick up a 180lb dumbbell with one hand!
DO NOT: Blindly go by a booth grabbing samples, snagging t-shirts or other freebies with a mundane automation so as to ignore every vendor or athlete at the booth giving the samples. Over the years I have come up with the rather un-endearing name for these people – “The Swag Hunter!” Now, don't get me wrong, free swag is what it is all about. However, just grabbing items off the table and (I can't tell you how many times I have heard this) saying "Is that it?" then moving on to the next booth is just poor form man! Not showing a common courtesy to people working on their feet for two days is a sure way to make sure you don't get the SPECIAL freebies.
(Some fans really look up to you! Note the Caption!)
DO: So, you want to get better freebies than the typical 2-pill fat burner or one scoop of creatine packet they give out? You have to learn the art of engagement. You don't want to be overly engaging with one of the workers or athletes so as to seem needy or that you want something, however, asking them questions about themselves, how they use the products or paying them a sincere yet not overboard compliment can work wonders.
Some booths have a rather loose policy on giving away freebies. While others are more corporate about giving away items. Finding the loose ones and engaging those booths will maximize the amount of freebies you could get. You never know you could walk out of the expo with a rather unique item! (At the 2004 Olympia Expo, I walked out with an Olympian's hand stitched pro wrist straps and a TRAIN LIKE A FREAK hoodie!)
(Go out to a local gym and YOU might run into someone you look up to!)
DO NOT: think you can just carry everything in the plastic bags the vendors give out. You're going to have to trust me on this one. When you fill those suckers up with enough swag – or items you purchase at a really low price – the plastic cuts the heck out of your hands. Bring a duffle bag so you can put your better possessions in there and carry it over your shoulder.
DO NOT: let your SWAG BAGS sit anywhere unless you are watching them directly. I have seen it countless times. People go do some pull-ups to get a free shirt and they set their bags down. When they finish and turn around you hear the dreaded, "Hey, anyone see my bags? They were right here!"
My heart drops for those people because I know the amount of work it takes to fill those bags in a scavengeresque hunt. Some of the items acquire an emotional value to you, especially if there were some autographed pictures in there!
DO: Avoid long lines for a free shaker or t-shirt that require filling out your e-mail address. The days of getting 40-50+ shirts in a weekend at the Expo are over. Now, companies typically make you jump through a hoop for a t-shirt. The most common technique is to fill out an e-mail online form for their mailing list. The t-shirts are typically not high quality and neither are the shakers.
Instead, here’s a nice tip I learned: MANY of the companies have show specials on various supplements you may want to buy. Sometimes they are 1/2 the price you would pay elsewhere. Use the Olympia to stock up on your favorites and at the same time use a little bargaining skill and avoid the long e-mail lines. You can get some high quality shirts if you say, "Hey if I get these three or four bottles rather than just one, can you throw in a T-shirt?" NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN the company will say yes!
DO NOT: If you are a booth worker or athlete, DO NOT cop an attitude with the people coming to your booth. Look, I've worked the booths at the Olympia for a number of years. I understand how tiring it can be to stand on your feet for 8-9 hours. And I understand how tiring it can be to talk about the same products thousands of times for those 8-9 hours!
You have to remember this experience isn't all about you. This experience is about the FANS. Do not leave a bad taste in their mouth and ruin it for them. If you have problems with your girl, your job, even yourself, put them in a bag and save it until after the expo. Make sure you do everything to make this experience memorable for all the fans coming to the booths.
(Remember: If you are working a booth, HAVE FUN!)
DO: If you are a vendor, athlete or booth worker at the Olympia go above and beyond on these two days. Make the fans feel special. Take extra time to explain not only your products but your company to them. Take pictures, sign autographs and by no means disregard anyone.
People pay a lot of money to come to Las Vegas for this experience. DO make it a good one for them. I remember back in 2003, approaching a booth and having an athlete ignore me when I asked about a shirt he was wearing and where I could get it. When I asked him about other shirts I saw, he turned to someone else at his booth and started talking to them as if I wasn't even there. That wasn't too cool. Remember… be cool.
While I would take a moment to go through the food at the Expo, I would rather talk about which buffets you should be hitting up. Certain buffets you just can't go wrong with. The Bellagio, Wynn and Wicked Spoon (located within the Cosmopolitan) are what I would rank amongst the three best. Also the Bacchanal buffet located in Caesar's Palace is quite possibly the greatest buffet ever made by man!
A dinner buffet runs you about $40+ at the Bacchanal, but it is well worth the experience. If you like a mainly-seafood buffet, hit up the ARIA. For Breakfast, I have to say the Carnival at Rio is fantastic! But hands down the highest quality food I have had for Breakfast (or any meal) has been at the WYNN.
(The Bellaigio Buffett)
A little side-tracked but a Las Vegas article on the Olympia Experience just wouldn't be the same without some reference to the food in Las Vegas.
The bottom line of going to the Olympia Expo is to just have a good time, be friendly, and don't get too frustrated at the crowds. Everyone is there to have a good time, meet their heroes/heroines, and get some free swag. I hope each and every one of you has a fantastic 2013 Olympia Experience!
Stay Sucka Free!