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Derek Lunsford Receives Invite to Compete in 2022 Mr. Olympia

Fans of Olympia 212 champion Derek Lunsford are now even more excited to see their favorite bodybuilder onstage, and that is because he won’t be stepping on the stage for the division he’s represented since turning pro in 2017. He’s moving on up.

On September 15th, NPC News Online reported that Lunsford received a special invite to step up to the men’s open and compete in the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest, as in the men’s open contest. The announcement was shared on Instagram.

Lunsford made his own announcement the same day, and he expressed gratitude and excitement at the opportunity presented to him.

“I want to personally thank Jim Manion, Tyler Manion, Jake Wood and Dan Solomon.
I’m incredibly honored and grateful for this opportunity!

Thank you, all of you, who have supported me throughout my entire bodybuilding journey.”

Lunsford had heard suggestions to move up to the open for years, but he had always expressed that he wanted to claim the Olympia 212 title first. After four previous tries, he finally achieved that goal in 2021.

However, he found himself in a strange situation afterwards. Lunsford grew, a lot, in his offseason. He showed off those gains in a guest posing appearance at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro with open competitors Brandon Curry, Nick Walker, and Hunter Labrada. Curry is a former Olympia champ while Walker and Labrada placed in the top five in the 2021 contest.

To the fans surprise, as well as the other guest posers, Lunsford held his own very well when standing next to the other popular athletes. He weighed close to 260 pounds at that appearance. All of a sudden, that chatter about him moving to the open became a full-blown movement by the fans. Even insiders expressed concern for Lunsford if he was forced to try to work his way down to the 212. Fortunately for him and those fans, they won’t have to be concerned now because Lunsford can weigh whatever he wants when he steps on the open stage for the first time. This will be his first appearance as a competitor on an open stage.

This opportunity puts the Indiana native in a very unique position. Instead of facing two former Olympia 212 champions – Shaun Clarida and Kamal Elgargni, he will now be facing two former Mr. Olympia champions – Mamdouh Elssbiay and Brandon Curry.

Should Lunsford make history and win the biggest title in bodybuilding, he will become the first competitor to win the Olympia in more than one division. Nobody in the history of bodybuilding has won two of the 11 available titles in the Olympia’s history.

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