Champions Poised to Defend their titles at 2022 Olympia
Saturday morning at the 2022 Olympia Expo saw over 170 competitors shoot their shots at glory in the Venetian Expo. Prejudging for Classic Physique, Men’s Physique, and Bikini all took place in front of hundreds of fans in Las Vegas.
The most popular athlete in the room was M&F cover model Chris Bumstead, who defended his title against 58 challengers. As expected, the champ was adored by the many fans in attendance, and they were loudly supporting CBum. By the end of prejudging, it wasn’t former champion Breon Ansley or Arnold Classic Men’s Physique winner Terrence Ruffin standing alongside of him in the final callout. It was Ramon “Dino” Rocha Querioz, and the fans couldn’t get enough of the comparisons. Bumstead is expected to retain his title, but Querioz is poised to take a big step up in his division.
Three-time Men’s Physique Olympia winner Brandon Hendrickson was expecting to face rival Erin Banks in prejudging, but he didn’t expect Diego Montenegro and former Fit to Serve feature Charjo Grant to be in the first and final callouts. But those four men went shot for shot to determine the favorite going into the finals at the Zappos Theater later tonight. Hendrickson is looking to join Jeremy Buendia as the only four-time champions in the division’s history, setting up a very interesting showdown for 2023 if Buendia returns to compete next year. Like Bumstead, the fans are expecting that to be what happens in Saturday night’s finals.
Jennifer Dorie was facing three former Bikini Olympia champions in her title defense—Janet Layug, Elisa Pecini, and Ashley Kaltwasser. They were among 59 competitors that graced the stage at the Venetian. Dorie was as great as she had ever been, and there’s a good chance Bob Cicherillo will once again announce “and still” tonight in the Zappos Theater. Besides Dorie, the final callout included Kaltwasser, Daraja Hill, and Maureen Blanquisco. Those competitors will join the rest of the top ten at the finals, starting at 7 pm local time. Still to come at the Venetian is the fifth Wheelchair Olympia, which will see Harold Kelley go for a fifth straight title and remain the only champion in the division’s short history.