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Derek Lunsford Sets Sights on 2023 Olympia, Won’t Compete in Arnold Classic


Derek Lunsford, former 212 Olympia champion (2021), competed for the first time in the Men’s Open at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. After a great second place finish to eventual champion Hadi Choopan, Lunsford certainly boosted his debut on the stage of the sport’s premier division. As the 2023 calendar year begins, Lunsford has already set his high personal expectations for the coming months.

In a podcast appearance with Fouad Abiad Media on January 1, 2023, Lunsford discussed his future plans after his second place result at the 2022 Olympia. Among the most popular news are the athlete who revealed that he will not compete in the 2023 Arnold Classic this March because he will focus most of his energy on capturing his first career Olympia title in November 2023.

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With a bigger picture in mind, Lunsford is specifically holding off on a potential appearance at the 2023 Arnold Classic to improve aspects of his overall body, such as his chest and leg muscles. This plan is generally in line with Lunsford’s singular Olympia approach from 2022. At the start of the new year, he wasted no time in completing his training for the next Olympia.

“I went right back to training in the gym, getting ready for next year,” Lunsford said. “I just know it’s a new beginning for me.”

Lunsford had congratulatory words of appreciation for Choopan, who he knows is chasing the highest peak in bodybuilding and will come in a few years. At the same time, Lunsford noted how close the final result was and how grateful he was to have the opportunity to push for the eventual winner.

“I am happy for Hadi [Choopan], man,” Lunsford explained. “He’s been at it for years. People argued that he should have already had the Olympia title. So, I’m happy for him. And me, coming in with my Men’s Open Olympia debut coming in second, and it was very close. I think this is a point of difference in the first judgment. That’s great, man. I was just there to perform and have fun.”

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While Lunsford seemed satisfied with his debut at the Men’s Open, he expressed the understanding that there is still a lot of work to be done. Like many elite athletes before him, Lunsford put his crosshairs on improving and finishing the job next time.

When one is as close to victory as Lunsford is, it’s only natural to focus on where to fill the gaps.

“Dude, you can’t complain coming into your Mr. Olympia debut getting second place and, like, maybe pushing for that title,” Lunsford said. “I was really on cloud nine, and I still am, really. Then, I just talked to myself, ‘Okay, well, that’s how close you are. What do you need to get better?’. For me, what are you It’s weird that it’s about to lose the title, and I wonder how many more improvements I can make? As I said, that’s where my mindset is. I’m just one step away [from victory] in my first Olympia.”

Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram

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