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It’s hard to believe that prior to 2019, Brandon Curry was seen as a bodybuilding journeyman. The 2008 NPC USA Overall champion had a few pro wins up to that point, most notably the 2013 Arnold Classic South America. But, he was never perceived to be among the elite of the sport. Curry was even famously asked at the 2016 Olympia press conference if he would consider moving to the 212. He had become an afterthought when it came to the biggest show in the sport, and he actually finished out of the top 15 in that contest. Two years later, he was able to place fifth at the 2018 Olympia, and even then, some experts and people in bodybuilding thought that was a nice cap to what they considered a respectable career.
Fast forward to the end of 2019, and the story was much different. He won both the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia, becoming the third man to win both in the same season — the others are Ronnie Coleman (2001) and Dexter Jackson (2008).
He placed second to current Mr. Olympia Mamdouh Elssbiay in 2020 and 2021, making him a top-two bodybuilder over the last three years. Obviously every competitor would rather win, but even with two runner-up finishes to his credit, his place in bodybuilding history is secure at this point.
“I’m a very blessed man to do what I have done up to this point,” Curry said humbly. “I’m far more blessed than I deserve.”
However, all of his accomplishments would be in the shadow of what he has the potential to do in 2022. With his entry in both the Arnold Classic and Olympia this season, Curry has the potential to make a lot of history…no, seriously, a lot of history. If all goes according to plan for him, he could have the single greatest bodybuilding season in a long time.
Let’s start with the Arnold Classic, taking place on March 4-5 in Columbus, OH. Should he win that contest, then he will earn $200,000, the largest purse in the 34-year history of the prestigious contest. He will also join Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson, Kai Greene, Branch Warren, and William Bonac as the only men to have won the contest twice. While others may be placing pressure on Curry for winning, he certainly isn’t feeling it himself.
“I know others are trying to put pressure on me, but for me, I’m just enjoying the process and being a spectator on this ride,” he said jokingly. “I’m having fun and loving what I do.”
Should Curry win the Arnold Classic, he then sets himself up for the most significant portion of the history-making season, which would take place at the Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada on the weekend of December 16-18. He actually won his Olympia in Las Vegas three years ago. The last two editions have been in Orlando, Florida.
Should he win the 2022 Olympia at Planet Hollywood this year, he will become the 12th of the 16 champions to have won multiple titles. More importantly, he would become the second man to regain the title after losing it. Cutler was the first in 2009. That part of this scenario is what made Curry’s excitement grow because of his admiration for Cutler. He was actually in attendance at the Olympia in 2006 when Cutler derailed Coleman’s reign and stopped him from winning his ninth title, which would’ve broken Haney’s record.
“Seeing that in person live is what made me believe that this bodybuilding dream is real,” Brandon Curry shared. “That told me that this was possible and I could become the best in the world myself one day.”
All of that alone would be enough, but we’re not done. If Curry wins the Olympia, he would become the only man in bodybuilding history to have won the Arnold and Olympia in the same season twice. He would literally be one-of-one, which is a rare feat in his sport. Last, but not least: If you add the $400,000 first place prize for the Olympia to the $200,000 first place winnings at the Arnold, and Curry could potentially make $600,000 onstage in 2022, which would very likely be the biggest financial total in a single season.
The money is great, especially for bodybuilding, but let’s be clear: Curry doesn’t look at this sport as a financial endeavor. The bigger picture for him is being the example for so many that follow the sport, and most importantly, his family. Seeing his daughter and sons grow up as athletes pushing themselves to be their best is what makes the Tennessee native the most proud,
“Watching them improve and work so hard to get better every day is what it’s all about for me,” Curry said proudly. “That’s why I keep doing this. All of this is for them.”
Laying all of the potential that lies in front of Brandon Curry is one thing, executing it is another, and he knows that the road ahead won’t be an easy one. Waiting for him at the Arnold Classic are some of the biggest stars of the present, such as William Bonac, Cedric McMillan, Regan Grimes, and Steve Kuclo, as well as future stars of the sport such as Brett Wilkin and Samson Dauda.
Then there’s the Olympia, and that lineup is still in development. Focusing on Big Ramy alone would be a mistake because as Curry himself proved when he jumped from 5th in 2018 to winning in 2019, any contender can make the most out of an opportunity. Even with all of that in mind, Curry has been training and preparing with no stone left unturned. As any great champion would, he also isn’t lacking confidence about what 2022 may have in store for him.
“I’m looking forward to it.”