The former 212 Olympian can officially call himself Mr. Olympia.
Unlike most of his peers in the Men’s Open division, Derek Lunsford entered the 2023 Mr. Olympia weekend having already experienced the thrill of having a first-place medal put around his neck at the biggest bodybuilding show of the year.
Two years removed from capturing the 212 Olympia title in Orlando, FL, Lunsford made history by becoming the first two-division champion in the history of the Mr. Olympia contest. The USA native emerged victorious from a crop of elite competitors headlined by defending champion Hadi Choopan and 2023 Arnold Classic winner Samson Dauda.
[Related: 2023 Mr. Olympia Results: Complete Coverage and Live Updates]
The battle for the prestigious Sandow Trophy started Friday during the prejudging round of the 59th edition of the prestigious contest. Unsurprisingly, Lunsford and Choopan — who both train with legendary coach Hany Rambod — quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack with their elite conditioning and sheer amount of muscle mass.
Dauda’s sizable frame and imposing physique also stood out during the prejudging phase. And despite speculation about potentially bowing out due to health issues, 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry showed well during his latest attempt to climb back to the top of the Men’s Open mountain.
The final callout featured a dramatic three-person pose-off between Choopan, Lunsford, and Dauda. All three competitors put on terrific showings, though Dauda appeared to tire a bit toward the end. There was still plenty of anticipation about whether Lunsford could unseat Choopan, who displayed plenty of energy while interacting with the crowd during his routine.
Lunsford appeared to have some luck on his side when he earned the nod from the fans by winning the 2023 People’s Champion title and belt. Not long after taking home the fan-voted award, the 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up etched his place in bodybuilding history books by officially earning the 2023 Mr. Olympia title and $400,000.
2023 Mr. Olympia Results
Here’s how the top five shook out for the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest, along with the prize purse by position.
Derek Lunsford — $400,000
Hadi Choopan — $175,000
Samson Dauda — $100,000
Brandon Curry — $40,000
Andrew Jacked — $35,000
[Related: Chris Bumstead Claims Fifth Consecutive Classic Physique Championship at 2023 Mr. Olympia]
Proving he’s capable of doing whatever’s necessary to get his body into championship shape, Derek Lunsford deserves tremendous credit for becoming the 18th Mr. Olympia. It took a tremendous amount of dedication, diligent dieting, and intense training to construct a physique that convinced the judges to put Choopan in the No. 2 spot in 2023.
Plus, the fact Lunsford accomplished that feat just two years after he asserted his dominance in an entirely different division speaks volumes about his genetic gifts, work ethic, and mindset.
Featured Image: mrolympiallc / Instagram