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This year’s Pittsburgh Pro 2022 show was rich in bodybuilding tradition. IFBB Pro League and NPC President Jim Manion himself has won the title of Mr. Pittsburgh in his own bodybuilding career. The show has featured numerous Mr. Olympia winners showing up to guest pose from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Brandon Curry and several others over the years.
Manion is the promoter of the Pittsburgh Pro 2022, and several of the sport’s top stars of today were in the building. It wasn’t just the guest posers, either. Some of the biggest names in the sport today were competing. The Bikini competition was packed with notable athletes, including winner Lauralie Chapados, 2020 Bikini Olympia winner Janet Layug, who made her return to the stage, 2021 champion and three-time Olympia winner Ashley Kaltwasser, and former Bikini International winner India Paulino.
In the Men’s Physique contest, the fans were excited to see the return of the popular Sadik Hadzovic, and the New York native didn’t disappoint. He was dominant in both prejudging and the finals to win the Men’s Physique title in this show. He will now be a favorite to contend for the New York Pro later this month. Alexander Westermeier placed first in the Classic Physique contest.
The Pittsburgh Pro 2022 show even had a historical note with it. For the first time, Women’s Physique was featured, and the inaugural champion was none other than Natalia Abraham Coelho. The other ladies’ contest was the Wellness division, which saw Sunny Andrews stand tall with the trophy as the champion.
Then there were the stars and legends that were in attendance. Three-time Classic Physique Olympia Champion Chris Bumstead won the Classic Physique title himself before going on to become the face of the division. He stepped onstage to thank the Manion family as well as the fans for their continued support.
Other familiar names that were in the room included four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, Olympia winning coach Hany Rambod, 2013 Men’s Physique Olympia winner Mark Anthony as well as his wife, 2021 Bikini Olympia champion Jennifer Dorie, bodybuilding legends Shawn Ray, Dennis James, and Chris Cormier, and Olympia President Dan Solomon, who kicked off the May 7 edition of the show with some fond words about the city he was in.
“My car doesn’t have a Pennsylvania license plate, and my driver’s license doesn’t say Pennsylvania, but as a bodybuilding fan, and all of us as bodybuilding fans, we are all connected to this city because everything in bodybuilding and fitness runs through Pittsburgh.”
Then, there were those guest posers. Among those that showed up to show out for the fans were 2019 Mr. Olympia and two-time Arnold Classic Champion Brandon Curry, 2021 Arnold Classic winner Nick Walker, defending Olympia 212 champ Derek Lunsford, and 2021 Chicago Pro winner Hunter Labrada, who finished fourth at the 2021 Olympia as well.
Each man took his respective turn showing the fans just what they had been up to. All four were massive, but they still displayed vascularity and definition as well. It wasn’t sloppy weight they have added – it was hard and round muscle. Then, just for fun, head judge Steve Weinberger had them stand on center stage for quarter turns before going for a posedown. That posedown spilled out into the crowd, which had the fans on their feet for several minutes. If someone could bottle the energy in the Wyndham Grand Ballroom in downtown Pittsburgh and sell it, that person could have the best preworkout on the market.
After the posing was done, it was time to talk, and none of the four athletes held back. Lunsford will be defending his 212 title this December at the Olympia, but he looked as if he could compete in the Open. However, he humbly shifted his focus to the athletes competing in the amateur contests, and he wanted to share advice for them and their trajectories in the sport.
“When it comes to competing and getting onstage, the highs and the lows, this and that, take that for what it is. Keep going, keep moving forward, and remember the love you have for it.”
Walker was next, and he didn’t mince words when asked what his goal is for 2022.
“I will be Mr. Olympia this year,” he said as a matter of fact. He then shared his reasoning for that confidence, his dedication and consistency, which he wanted the athletes competing on the Pittsburgh stage to do as well.
“When you want something this bad, I think you have to have an obsession and personality to it. That’s what creates winners. I’ve believed that since I started this journey, and I’ll continue to believe that until I’m done.”
Following Walker was the man who placed one spot ahead of him on the Olympia stage, Labrada knew that Walker was doing everything he can to flip the script, but he wants to maintain or improve his position without Walker jumping ahead of him.
“We all train to win, man. At the end of the day, that’s what we all do. We all love to compete. We all love to train, but we all train to win, all of us. That’s just the way it is.”
Last but not least was Curry. Coming off an Arnold Classic victory, he wants to add a second Sandow Trophy to his mantle. The Tennessee native expressed he’s doing all he can to make that happen, but he took time to share gratitude for the support he and the other athletes in the sport gets.
“We appreciate you support bodybuilding because without you guys, we wouldn’t be here,” he said. He also asked everyone to do their own best for themselves and the industry as well. “Focus on your health as well as your physiques. It’s all about us being examples.”
Based on how these four champions looked, this year’s Olympia will be one you don’t want to miss. As for the Pittsburgh show, make sure you plan a trip to the 2023 contest because the action onstage and the potential of who could show up makes it a must on any bodybuilding calendar.