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Over 160 IFBB Pro League athletes graced the stage of the Venetian Expo as the 2022 Olympia Weekend is officially underway. Six pro divisions – Fitness, 212, Figure, Women’s Physique, Wellness, and the Ms. Olympia all underwent at the 2022 Olympia prejudging on Friday morning, Dec. 17. The finals of these contests will be very interesting based on how the judges did their jobs.
Four-time Olympia champ Oksana Grishina was a late scratch due to an injury. That left Missy Truscott as the only former champion in the lineup, and she has a good chance of winning this year to take her second title. She was joined in the final callout by Jaclyn Baker, which was a surprise to the crowd. The routines count for two-thirds of the overall score, so nothing is set in stone yet.
Two past winners headlined this division. Shaun Clarida and Kamal Elgargni were in the first callout, and they would be the only two in the final comparison. Head judge Steve Weinberger made them pose a lot to determine who would gain momentum in the finals. Someone is going to be a two-time winner. Will it be the Giant Killer or the legend from Libya?
Five-time champion Cyd Gillon was on the hunt for a sixth win, and she looks like she stands a good chance of getting it. She, Lola Montez, Jessica Reyes-Padilla, and Jossie Bocerra were in the final comparison, but Gillon dominated the center position. We have to wait until the finals to hear Bob Cicherillo hear “and still” or “and new.”
This may have been the most interesting out of all the contests at the Venetian. Two-time defending champion Sarah Villegas had to withstand a strong challenge from last year’s runner-up, Natalia Abraham Coelho. Coelho and Villegas went pose for pose, and it appears that momentum may be on the challenger’s side, but Villegas is a champion for a reason, and she shouldn’t be counted out. If she wins, she will join Juliana Malacarne as the only three-time winners in history.
Andrea Shaw is already a three-time Rising Phoenix champ, and she wants a third Ms. Olympia to match. She was standing side-by-side with former Rising Phoenix winners Margie Martin, Helle Trevino, and rising star Angela Yeo, who is poised to take a top-three finish on bodybuilding’s biggest stage.
Last but not least was the second edition of the Wellness Olympia, featuring defending champion Francielle Mattos as well as Wellness International winner Isabelle Nunes. The second place finisher from last year was Angela Borges, and she was seeking revenge. The judges kept her and Mattos side-by-side in both of their comparisons, making the conclusion a toss up. Nunes, Rayana Santana, Kassandra Gillis, and Gisele Machado were also in the final callout.
The Friday night finals of the 2022 Olympia start at 6 p.m. Pacific time at the Zappos Theater in Las Vegas. All of these divisions will see a champion crowned, and prejudging of the 58th Mr. Olympia will take place as well. For more information, go to www.mrolympia.com.