Janet Layug is returning to the stage for the first time since her Olympia win in 2020. The bikini competitor has entered the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro, set to occur the weekend of May 6 in Pittsburgh, PA. Layug revealed her comeback in an interview with J.M. Manion in a video for NPC News Online, shared on YouTube on Saturday, April 23, 2022. You can watch Layug sign the contract at the 24:00 mark of the video below.
“She’s back,” Layug said as she held up the signed contract. “We’re going to bring the heat to Pittsburgh.”
After winning the 2020 Bikini Olympia in Orlando, FL. Layug announced that she wouldn’t defend her title the following year to focus on other endeavors, such as promoting her own contest. Jennifer Dorie, who placed second to Layug in 2020, won the 2021 Olympia in Orlando. Layug made it clear that her self-imposed sabbatical wasn’t a “retirement.” She told Manion that the itch to compete came back while she was doing the commentary at the 2022 Arnold Classic.
“Seeing all my fellow competitors compete definitely touched my heart,” she said. “I’ve never had a Pittsburgh Pro title, and the last time I competed there was 2014. I think I got fourth place. This year is going to be very meaningful, coming back from an entire year off. I feel good, I feel refreshed, and it’s time to show what being a champion is all about.”
The Pittsburgh Pro — put on by IFBB Pro League President Jim Manion — is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it’s become a tradition in the sport for top Men’s Open competitors to guest pose at the Pittsburgh Pro amid their Olympia prep. The Bikini division in particular has a rich history in the contest. As J.M. Manion mentioned in the video, every Bikini Olympia winner has competed in the Pittsburgh Pro at some point in their careers.
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The 2021 champion was three-time Olympia winner Ashley Kaltwasser. Manion stated in the video that Kaltwasser is set to defend her title in the 2022 contest. Should Layug, Kaltwasser, Dorie, and 2019 Bikini Olympia winner Elisa Pecini all compete at the 2022 Olympia in Las Vegas, NV on the weekend of Dec. 16-18, 2022, it will be the first time that four past Olympia winners will compete on the big stage at the same time.
Aside from the return of Layug, the Pittsburgh Pro is also scheduled to have multiple guest posers, including reigning Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, and 2021 Arnold Classic winner Nick Walker.
Featured Image: @janetlayug on Instagram