In the months and weeks before the show, most of the major Mr. Olympia competitors take to social media periodically to give an early peek at the type of physique they’re bringing to the stage that year. Though they’re not indicative of exactly what the athletes will look like come showtime (bodybuilders tend to fine-tune until the last moments), these updates give a sense of what to expect at the O.
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Things get really interesting when the bodybuilders give physique updates mere days before the Mr. Olympia; fans can start picturing who might crack the top five. And there have been plenty of updates from the top stars leading up to the 2022 Olympia.
From newcomers to seasoned vets, here’s what eight top competitors look like two weeks out from the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Michal “Križo” Križánek
This is only Michal “Krizo” Križánek’s first Mr. Olympia contest and his second pro show overall. Though he’s unproven on the big stage, past Olympia winners like Jay Cutler and Samir Bannout have said Krizo could do some serious damage in his debut.
Krizo posted the update above on December 7ht, racking up more than 44,000 likes in the process. The update was impressive enough for Bannout to comment that “Krizo can actually win” on the post.
Hunter Labrada surprised many people in the industry by taking fourth place at the 2021 Mr. Olympia. He’s looking to improve upon that placing this year, and his posing plan might be the key. Earlier this year, Labrada detailed how his father — 1985 Mr. Universe winner Lee Labrada — helps him craft his routine so he can “make a meaningful impression” on the judges. Lee Labrada has a reputation as one of the great bodybuilding posers of all time, so Hunter just has to sit back and bask in the wisdom.
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Labrada posted this video physique update on December 9th, with a caption that revealed he weighs 257 pounds, the lowest he’s been during his prep. One area Labrada worked on this year was his back development, which he put on full display here.
Nick “The Mutant” Walker finished fifth at his first Mr. Olympia in 2021. And this year, his steady stream of physique updates has chronicled a competitor who is championing freakish size to topple reigning Mr. O, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay.
The physique update above was posted on December 9th, and Walker wrote in the caption that he weighed 258 pounds at the time. Considering Walker tipped the scales at nearly 300 pounds earlier in 2022, it’s clear he’s prioritizing conditioning late in his prep to crack the top three.
Blessing Awodibu has had a year. He won both the 2022 Indy Pro and New York Pro, and now he’s primed to make his Olympia debut in Vegas. To get there, he even got some arm training advice from none other than seven-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, who knows a thing or two about biceps.
Awodibu’s recent full-body physique from December 3rd might not show his arms, but you can clearly see the definition in his abs and some very Jay Cutler-esque striations in the quads.
Though 2022 will be Derek Lunsford‘s first Mr. Olympia contest, it won’t be his first appearance at the show. Lunsford previously won the 212 Olympia in 2021 before moving to Men’s Open during the summer of 2022, thanks to a special invitation.
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Lunsford posted this update on December 9th, and it comes from a video on his YouTube that was filmed 11 days before the show. He didn’t reveal his weight on the post, but it’s evident that he hasn’t had a problem putting on more mass for Men’s Open.
James Hollingshead took 12th place at his Mr. Olympia debut in 2021, and he’s been working on his size and conditioning since then to improve his placing and truly make a name for himself. And since bodybuilding is a momentum sport, Hollingshead is in a good spot. He qualified for the Mr. Olympia after winning the 2022 Tsunami Pro back in October, so he has a recent win to build from.
In the physique update above, posted on December 5th, Hollingshead wrote that he is “[feeling] pretty dam [sic] good” about bodybuilding and life in general. He cleaned up his diet between the Tsunami and Olympia in the hopes of giving his body enough volume to train hard without the cheat meals that could weigh him down. Oh, and he’s also a dead ringer for Kratos from God of War.
Canadian bodybuilder Iain Valliere qualified for the 2022 Mr. Olympia back in July after a victory at the Vancouver Pro. He placed seventh at the O in 2020 and 2021, and in an Instagram post from November 2022, he said he’s “aiming to set the standard for conditioning” to help him get over the hump.
On December 2nd, Valliere posted a physique update that saw him in a classic side chest pose to show off the added mass in his arms, shoulders, and pecs.
Two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is on a mission to score a third consecutive Sandow trophy and etch his name just a little deeper into the bodybuilding history books. To get there, the Egyptian-born powerhouse is doubling down on size while also honing in on his conditioning.
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Though Ramy was uncharacteristically generous with full-on physique updates in the summer and fall of 2022, he’s become more guarded as the contest draws near. The only post you could consider a “physique update” within two weeks of the Olympia (as of December 9th) is a video in the gym with coach Dennis James at eight days out. It’s not much in the way of a reveal, but Ramy might want to keep everyone in suspense until the contest is underway.
The Road to the Olympia
The 2022 Olympia weekend takes place December 16-18, 2022, at the Zappos Theater in Las Vegas, NV. The Mr. Olympia show itself lasts two nights: The prejudging is on Friday, December 16, while the finals go down the following night.
Featured Image: @nick_walker39 and @hunterlabrada on Instagram