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Is the Men’s Open Class in Danger?

2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford is in prep for the 2023 Mr. Olympia in Orlando, FL on Nov. 2-5, and his sights are set on becoming the 18th Mr. Olympia winner. Lunsford was a guest on The Menace Podcast with host Dennis James, Milos Sarcev, and Chris Cormier to talk about his mindset and prep for the contest, but James brought up a larger concern for the panel. Is the Men’s Open division in danger?

“What’s happening? We have no competitors in the shows,” James said. “Is the class in danger, meaning they don’t even want to qualify for the Olympia?

“I don’t think so,” Lunsford answered in response to the theory that the class is in danger. The topic was brought up because of the recent lack of competitors entering the 2023 Chicago Pro, which was won by Justin Shier. Lunsford has been collaborating with pros around in the world in videos, and he’s learning that many of these athletes want to make sure they reveal their best versions when they do take the stage.

“I think that there’s just a difference between being a top five Olympian and being a year or two away from that,” he told DJ. “I think a lot of people are still working on their physique to grow and and show their best so that when they go, they can truly be a competitive ifbb Pro open guy.”

That was what Lunsford is seeing and hearing, but the old-school members of the panel aren’t thrilled with that. Cormier shared that time onstage is what he feels is necessary to grow and get better.

Cormier said, “To be better is to get on stage and see what you need to work on.” Lunsford made it clear that he is in agreement with what they want to see, and he’s advocating that when he talks to these other pros.

“That’s what I’m preaching.”


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