The 2022 NPC Armed Forces Nationals Showcased Our Nation’s Heroes
In 1988, the NPC created the Armed Forces National Championships, a contest that is only open to amateur athletes that are active members of the United States Armed Forces, veterans whose already served, or immediate family members of those that defended our freedom.
34 years later, the tradition continued and the 2022 edition may have been the most successful one yet. The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, VA hosted the event on October 1st, and it was attended by many fans, watched by more at home on a livestream, and enjoyed by everyone involved.
The Honorable Rob Wilkins is the Military Editor for M&F, a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition, and a 26-year veteran of the Air Force. Wilkins was in attendance for the contest, and expressed appreciation for the efforts of co-promoters Gary Udit, Tony Roberts, Viktoria Grygorian Roberts, and Rick Bayardi. The athletes’ participation didn’t go unnoticed, either.
“After months of training, dieting and posing, competitors from all branches of the service and from all parts of the globe, come together, focused on displaying the best body possible and winning a trophy.”
The United States Color Guard kicked off the event by presenting the colors onstage while the national anthem was performed. Each athlete that competed were introduced by name and how they serve and presented with ceremonial dog tags as well as a challenge coin. Dog tags are commonly associated with the military, and it made sense to present those to the competitors.
Challenge coins aren’t as well-known, but they are still very significant. Challenge coins are used to identify other members of the Armed Forces and as a symbol of solidarity. The coin is presented from one person to another in the form of a handshake while standing. Traditionally, the presenter tells the recipient why he or she is receiving the coin.
What was noteworthy about the competitions were the wide array of athletes. There were Americans that had served in different branches of the military of every race, creed, religion, and all of them were enjoying each other’s company, helping each other prepare, and expressing sportsmanship in victory and defeat. As different as they may have been, the common theme among all of them young and old was that they were heroes that understood and appreciated the commitment that was made to service.
“As service members/military dependents, they are still willing to help a fellow competitor in need,” Wilkins explained. “From sharing food, water, posing tips or a phone charger, the camaraderie backstage is amazing. While each competitor may not have won a first-place trophy, they all leave as winners with new friends and an experience that will tie them together for the rest of their lives.”
Udit expressed that the competitors that walked the stage clearly presented their best versions of themselves, which he appreciated.
“The NPC Armed Forces Nationals was a fantastic event once again! The quality of the athletes in every division continues to improve.”
All the athletes represented themselves well, and some of them were even crowned champions for 2022. The winners of each age group and division are listed below.
If you wish to see a replay of the streams, you can do so at GaryUdit.com/streams . Udit also extends an invitation to new competitors and everyone else interested in being a part of such a patriotic and special event.