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Hunter Labrada Reflects on Disappointing 2022 Olympia, May Be More Active in 2023


Entering 2022 Mr. Olympia, bodybuilder Hunter Labrada understandably sets high expectations for himself. After he took fourth place in the 2021 edition of the competition, Labrada is aiming for the top throne in Las Vegas, NV, hoping to topple the one-man mountain of former two-time defending champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy “Elssbiay. However, not only did Labrada fail to beat Elssbiay (that successful task eventually went to first-time champion Hadi Choopan), he fell to seventh place in a disappointing finish.

On January 9, 2023, Labrada appeared in a video on Iron World YouTube channel to personally recap his 2022 Olympia journey. In the midst of a performance that clearly displeased him, Labrada discusses the emotions behind it and points out what he sees rising next in 2023.

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Labrada’s seventh-place result at the 2022 Olympia bothered him so much that he maintained that he stayed away from social media platforms to avoid any discussion about the competition. In addition, the athlete usually makes a point to regularly share some kind of training or nutritional video on his YouTube channel. As of this writing, he has not posted anything there since December 23, 2022.

“I’ve been off social media,” Labrada said. “I have never shot YouTube videos. I met with my family and friends and kept to myself because this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you now, but I didn’t do what I planned to do at this year’s Olympia. This is the first time I unpack that. “

Because he was placed seventh, and with the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness’s (IFBB) recent changes to its qualification system, Labrada no longer has an automatic spot at the 2023 Olympia. As a result, he shared that he hopes to compete in at least two IFBB Pro League sanctioned contests before the next Olympia to try and redeem his savings. He did not share which competitions he intends to participate in before the 2023 Olympia takes place in November 2023 in Orlando, FL.

Perhaps more importantly, Labrada revealed that she will use the new competition opportunities to try and find out where she stands physically after apparently having trouble with her last Olympia preparations.

” … No matter what, if I win first [contests), which I am going to do,” Labrada said. “The fact of the matter is I need to figure my peak out. We have a very good idea of where we went wrong in those final five days.” 

Despite his most recent shortcoming, Labrada seemed optimistic about the future. As much as his 2022 Olympia performance bothered him, he has his eye on the prize in 2023.

“I’m really confident heading into this year,” Labrada said. I”n addition to that confidence heading into this year, I’m [expletive] angry, man. I put this timer in my gym and worked out every day for 342 days from last year’s Olympia [2021] this Olympia. I came up short. Plain and simple. I failed in what I wanted to do. At the end of the day, this is something I always preach in my preparations, is to keep your peace of mind.

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No matter what happens next for Labrada, his positive mindset will likely serve him well. He may even channel his apparent embarrassment over what happened at the 2022 Olympia into focused, quality energy as motivation.

“How you respond to adversity is what makes you,” Labrada said. “I will never forget that [expletive] sense of the first callout called and I was not in it. This is before God knows how many people.” ” … I’m going to show you a very different Hunter at the two Pro shows I’m doing and the Olympia because I’m going to qualify this year.”

Featured image: @hunterlabrada on Instagram

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