Derek Lunsford Invited to Compete in Men’s Open at 2022 Mr. Olympia

The reigning 212 Olympia champion is moving up a weight class for 2022.

It seems like Derek Lunsford — the 2021 212 Olympia winnerwon’t be defending his title in 2022. On Sept. 15, 2022, Mr. Olympia LLC announced on Instagram that Lunsford received a “special invite” to compete for the Mr. Olympia title. Lunsford confirmed the news in a post on his Instagram account, writing: “our special invitation request to compete in Open Bodybuilding at the 2022 Mr. Olympia was accepted by the IFBB Pro League.”


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Lunsford’s move up to the Open division (known simply as the “Mr. Olympia” at Olympia Weekend) most likely isn’t a surprise to fans who follow the sport closely. At the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro in May, Lunsford reportedly stepped on stage to guest pose at around 257 pounds.

Olympia President Dan Solomon later teased a move up by Lunsford in a YouTube video published in July 2022. Solomon implied that the cut to 212 could prove dangerous to Lunsford’s health, saying in the video that Lunsford is “nowhere near 212 at this point.” (Note: Solomon did not reveal Lunsford’s weight in July.)

“Earlier this year, Derek Lunsford revealed a jaw-dropping new version of his championship physique when he made a surprise appearance in Pittsburgh,” the Olympia promotion wrote on their Instagram post (see above). “The reigning ‘212-pound’ champ went toe to toe with some of the biggest and best in the world. The photos and videos had the global bodybuilding scene buzzing with excitement.”


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Soon after, Lunsford formally applied for the special invite. He is now locked in to compete with those same champions he guest-posed alongside in Pennsylvania, including two-time defending champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, Nick Walker, Brandon Curry, and Hunter Labrada.

Should Lunsford compete in the Open and win the title, he would become the 17th Mr. Olympia winner since its inception in 1965. He would also become the first-ever IFBB Pro League athlete to win the Olympia in two different divisions. However, he may have some familiar competition. Winner of the 2020 212 Olympia Shaun Clarida is qualified for the 212 and Open, and there is no official word on which show he will enter as of this article’s publication.

Featured Image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram