2022 Classic Physique Olympia Preview

Will Chris Bumstead achieve the four-peat, will a previous champion reclaim the throne, or will a fourth champion in the division's history be crowned?

The Mr. Olympia (Men’s Open) may still be considered by many to be the top men’s title in bodybuilding, but the Classic Physique division’s version isn’t far behind. Fans of the Classic Physique athletes are loud and proud every year. Most of that can be attributed to the division’s reigning champion, Chris Bumstead, and the top contenders in that division. Another reason may be the wide variety of competitions held worldwide in 2022.

Since there are a vast amount of contests, the 2022 Classic Physique Olympia division includes 65 (yes, 65) qualified competitors who either placed in the top five of the 2021 Olympia, won pro contests, or finished in the top three of the Olympia Qualification System to punch their tickets to compete in Las Vegas, NV, on the weekend of Dec, 16-18, 2022.

Prejudging for Classic Physique takes place at the Olympia Expo in the Venetian. The finals are held at the Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood.

[Related: 2022 Olympia 212 Showdown Preview]

The full roster of qualified athletes is below in alphabetical order:

2022 Classic Physique Olympia Roster

  1. Abdullah Wael Alrabiah
  2. Abdullah Al Sharafi
  3. Dancovea Anderson
  4. Georgian Andrei Birica Anghel
  5. Breon Ansley
  6. Darwin Andres Uribe Aristizabal
  7. Woilid Baatout
  8. Vahid Badpei
  9. Anthony Barbera III
  10. Brady Barnes
  11. Adam Bomert
  12. Jose Maria Mete Bueriberi
  13. Chris Bumstead
  14. Alex Cambronero
  15. Anthony Casado
  16. Julian Castano
  17. Tommy Clark
  18. Blake Course
  19. Neil Currey
  20. Michael Daboul
  21. Camilo Diaz
  22. Carlos Dommar
  23. Tony Duong
  24. Josh Eastham
  25. Ahmed El Halawani
  26. Mohamed Amine Fakhfakh
  27. Logan Franklin
  28. Jeff Hallenbeck
  29. Patrik Herczik
  30. Jorge Herrera
  31. Kelvin Hinde
  32. Christopher Hunte
  33. Junior Javorski
  34. Tyler Johnson
  35. Fabio Junior
  36. Urs Kalecinski
  37. Chen Kang
  38. Kyrylo Khudaiev
  39. Mehdi Larijani
  40. Fabian Mayr
  41. Peter Molnar
  42. Courage Opara
  43. Jaehun Park
  44. Jonathan Pelkey
  45. Marcus Perry
  46. Valentin Petrov
  47. Grant Pieterse
  48. Ali Poladvand
  49. Ramon Rocha Querioz
  50. Ruben Lopez Reyes
  51. Emanuele Ricotti
  52. Denis Romanov
  53. Terrence Ruffin
  54. Marco Ruz
  55. Jesus Rodriguez Sendra
  56. Lamar Shaw
  57. Mike Sommerfeld
  58. Jaepil Song
  59. Mateo Vaihu
  60. Wesley Vissers
  61. Alexander Westermeier
  62. Robert Wichman
  63. Lenny Wicks
  64. Giuseppe Zagarella
  65. Gabriel Zancanelli

Check out a breakdown of matchups to watch in this division below:

Past Champions

There are two past winners of this contest in the lineup. Three-time defending champion Chris Bumstead will again go head-to-head with two-time Olympia winner Breon Ansley. There’s no other way to put this — Bumstead retaining again is considered by many to be the one true lock of the weekend. He appears to be in the best shape of his career and is working with a new coach, Hany Rambod.

Some experts believe Bumstead would have to be entirely off his peak for any other competitor to take his title. If Bumstead does retain, he would be the first four-time winner in the division’s seven-year history.

As for Ansley, this is his swan song in Classic Physique before switching to the 212-pound division in 2023. Ansley struggled to make weight in years past but managed to hit his target of 180 pounds. It will be interesting to see what impact he can make next year because he won’t struggle to make his new weight cap, which is over 30 pounds more. As for 2022, if Bumstead is off the mark, anything can happen, so Ansley will need to be at his best to capitalize.

Top Contenders

The two past winners are headliners, but they won’t be alone in that first callout. The fans consider two-time Arnold Classic Physique winner Terrence Ruffin as Bumstead’s number-one contender. Despite Ruffin’s disadvantages in height and weight, he has incredible symmetry, and his posing is second to none.  He was the runner-up to Bumstead in 2021, and a top-two finish this year would be an achievement worth celebrating as there are many elite athletes on his heels.

One such competitor is Urs Kalecinski. “The Golden Bear” was fourth in 2021 and placed third at the 2022 Arnold Classic. He qualified for the Olympia by winning in Boston, and he’s been preparing since. Kalecinski will likely be bigger at the 2022 Olympia, thanks, in part, to training with Nick Walker. However, Kalecinski also plans to be leaner, which could help move him into the top three.

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Ramon Rocha Querioz has his eyes set on that first callout. He placed fifth in the 2021 Olympia. It’s not unrealistic for him to believe he can march up the standings. His vocal fanbase would be excited to see him standing next to the champion in such a callout.

Another former Arnold Classic winner, Alex Cambronero, is competing in the Olympia again this year. He placed sixth one year ago and is working with coach Neil Hill to break into the top five. An exciting matchup for Cambronero is Logan Franklin, the United States Armed Forces veteran known as “The Texas Oak” due to similarities in posing he has to the “Austrian Oak” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cambronero and Franklin will likely stand side by side at some point during prejudging.

Other Notable Names

Other top 15 finishers from 2021 that are returning this year include Mike Sommerfield (seventh), Fabian Mayr (eighth), Wesley Vissers (11th), Peter Molnar (14th), and Courage Opara (15th). Those athletes can maintain top 15 placings and perhaps move up the standings.

Some new stars to watch include Neil Currey from the United Kingdom. He was crowned the 2022 New York Pro Classic Physique winner. Another upcoming star is Tyler Johnson of Canada, who turned heads in his pro debut at the 2022 Toronto Pro Classic Physique contest. Currey and Johnson could sneak into that top 15 and set themselves up nicely for 2023 and beyond.

You can see who leaves Las Vegas with this title and the other 10 IFBB Pro League championships by watching the Olympia pay-per-view that will be available live throughout the weekend on the Olympia Productions website.

Featured Image: @cbum on Instagram