Bodybuilding star Johnnie Jackson teases Masters comeback at age 52

Jackson hasn’t competed in a while. That could change later this year.

There was a time when International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League member Johnnie Jackson was a fixture on the competitive circuit. In the 2010s alone, the 52-year-old competed in nearly 20 IFBB-sanctioned competitions. Overall, Jackson has nearly 60 appearances in bodybuilding competitions in a career spanning nearly two decades. His profile goes back so far that he can boast of having competed against various Mr. Olympia legends such as Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler and Phil Heath. After 2017, though he never officially retired, Jackson did not appear on stage again — save for a brief two-competition return in 2020.

Instead, the winner of the 2009 World’s Strongest Professional Bodybuilder title has since moved away from posing and has focused primarily on strength training — as a look at his Instagram would reveal. That could change very soon. On January 30, 2023, Jackson appeared on a podcast episode with Muscular Development discussing upcoming plans. In the course of the performance, the experienced professional went into the production a possible comeback at the 2023 Masters Olympia on August 26-27, 2023 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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One of the main reasons Jackson says he’s considering a comeback at age 52 is that he misses the thrill of competition. After spending so much of his life in high-level bodybuilding, it doesn’t seem easy for Jackson to just walk away.

“I miss the stage so much,” Jackson explained. “I miss the trip. I miss posing. I miss the crowds. I miss feeling important among my peers and fans.”

As for the implementation of potential plans, Jackson claimed he has not yet made any formal requests to attend the 2023 Masters Olympia. The thought of a return is more on the tip of his tongue for the time being – even if he seems to have considered all possibilities.

“No one [the Masters Olympia organizers] reached out to me and I haven’t applied yet,” Jackson clarified. “I’m thinking about it. It’s a work in progress. I’m really worried. I mean, I miss competing like you would miss your left hand if it weren’t attached to your body… Honestly, I’m not one of those guys who says, ‘Yeah, I’m happy in retirement .'”

Judging by Jackson’s tenor and frankness in this tell-all talk, it might become harder to keep him off the stage as time goes on.

Sometimes an athlete just needs to scratch their competition itch.

” … I have to say since they announced it [the 2023 Masters Olympia]I think about it more and more every day,” Jackson said. I guess by mid-February I’ll be in or out. I have to say yes or no by mid-February. Every day I incline more and more to yes.”

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A crucial decision in Jackson’s bodybuilding career awaits him.

He could choose to come back and capitalize on the competitive energy he’s been missing. He doesn’t seem to have much to lose. At the same time, by the time he hits his mid-50s, there might not be too much of a rush to get his life back on a dime. Whatever lies ahead, he certainly has the current look of a man who wants to show off an elite physique again.

Featured image: @johnnieojackson on Instagram

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