Bodybuilding’s elite showed up at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro

This year’s Pittsburgh Pro 2022 show was steeped in bodybuilding tradition. IFBB Pro League and NPC President Jim Manion won the Mr. Pittsburgh title himself in his own bodybuilding career. The show has featured many Mr. Olympia winners appearing in guest pose from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Brandon Curry and several others over the years.

Manion is the promoter for the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro, and many of today’s biggest stars in the sport were in the building. It wasn’t just the invited posers either. Some of the biggest names in the sport today were competing. The Bikini competition was packed with notable athletes, including winner Lauralie Chapados, 2020 Bikini Olympia winner Janet Layug, who returned to the stage, 2021 champion and three-time Olympia winner Ashley Kaltwasser, and former winner of Bikini International India Paulino.

In the Men’s Physique contest, fans were thrilled to see the return of popular Sadik Hadzovic, and the New York native did not disappoint. He was dominant in both the prejudices and the finals to win the Men’s Physique title on this show. He will now be a favorite to fight for the New York Pro later this month. Alexander Westermeier placed first in the Classic Physique competition.

The 2022 Pittsburgh Pro show even had a historic note with it. For the first time, Women’s Physique was in the spotlight, and the inaugural champion was none other than Natalia Abraham Coelho. The other women’s competition was the Wellness Division, which saw Sunny Andrews stand tall with the trophy as champion.

Then there were the stars and legends who were in attendance. Three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead won the Classic Physique title himself before becoming the face of the division. He took the stage to thank the Manion family as well as the fans for their continued support.

Other household names in the room included four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, Olympia winning coach Hany Rambod, 2013 Men’s Physique Olympia winner Mark Anthony as well as his wife, the champion of Bikini Olympia 2021 Jennifer Dorie, bodybuilding legends Shawn Ray, Dennis James, and Chris Cormier, and Olympia President Dan Solomon, who kicked off the May 7 edition of the show with some loving words about the city he was in.

“My car doesn’t have a Pennsylvania license plate, and my driver’s license doesn’t say Pennsylvania, but as a bodybuilding fan, and all of us as bodybuilding fans, we’re all connected to this city because everything in bodybuilding and fitness runs through Pittsburgh.

Then there were these guest posers. Among those who showed up for the fans were Mr. Olympia 2019 and two-time Arnold Classic champion Brandon Curry, Arnold Classic 2021 winner Nick Walker, reigning Olympia 212 champion Derek Lunsford and the 2021 Chicago Pro winner Hunter Labrada, who finished fourth at the 2021 Olympia as well.

Each man took their respective turns to show fans what they had done. All four were massive, but they still displayed vascularity and definition. It wasn’t sloppy weight they added – it was hard, round muscle. Then, just for fun, Chief Judge Steve Weinberger placed them center stage for a quarter turn before landing. This pose spread through the crowd, which kept the fans on their feet for several minutes. If someone could bottle the energy in the Wyndham Grand Ballroom in downtown Pittsburgh and sell it, that person might have the best pre-workout on the market.

Once the pose was over, it was time to talk, and none of the four athletes held back. Lunsford will defend his 212th title in December at Olympia, but he looked like he could make it to the Open. However, he humbly shifted his focus to athletes competing in amateur competitions, and he wanted to share advice for them and their trajectories in sport.

“When it comes to competing and getting on stage, the ups and downs, this and that, take it for what it is. Keep going, keep moving forward and remember how much you love him.

Walker was next, and he didn’t mince words when asked what his goal was for 2022.

“I will be Mr. Olympia this year,” he said in effect. He then shared his reasoning for that confidence, dedication and consistency, which he wanted athletes competing on the Pittsburgh stage to do the same.

“When you want something that bad, I think you have to have an obsession and a personality. This is what creates winners. I have believed in it since I started this journey, and I will continue to believe in it until I am finished.

After Walker was the man who put a spot ahead of him on the Olympia stage, Labrada knew Walker was doing everything he could to turn the script around, but he wants to maintain or improve his position without Walker getting ahead of him.

“We all train to win, man. In the end, that’s what we all do. We all like to compete. We all like to train, but we all train to win, all of us. It’s like that.”

Last but not least was Curry. After a victory at the Arnold Classic, he wants to add a second Sandow trophy to his list. The Tennessee native said he was doing everything he could to make this happen, but he took the time to share his gratitude for the support he and other athletes in the sport are receiving.

“We appreciate you supporting bodybuilding because without you we wouldn’t be here,” he said. He also asked everyone to do their best for themselves and for the industry. “Focus on your health as well as your physique. It is for us to be examples.

From the looks of these four champions, this year’s Olympia will be the one you won’t want to miss. As for the Pittsburgh show, be sure to plan a trip to the 2023 contest because the onstage action and the potential of who might turn up make it a staple on any bodybuilding calendar.

Teresa E. Burton