Not Bodybuilding, but 2023 Mr. Olympia Winner Derek Lunsford Started Training for This Sport Which Paved the Way to Bodybuilding

Published 11/18/2023, 12:03 PM EST

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Many sportspesons often find their favorite sport in their childhoods. But on the other side, there are some who end up trying their hand at different sports before zeroing down on the sport that speaks to them. Derek Lunsford, who has recently won the title of this year’s Mr. Olympia, has had a transitional history in his profession. The bodybuilder with his bright future ahead had struggled before with a certain dream for the sport of wrestling, which was never fulfilled as he wished for.

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The 30-year-old bodybuilder has a long list of accomplishments under his name. Not only that, Lunsford is expecting a baby girl very soon. In his interviews right before Mr. Olympia, he also shouted out to his wife for supporting his career despite being as heavily pregnant as she is. Hence, Lunsford’s career and priorities regarding it are also shared by his wife and family.

Derek Lunsford’s unfulfilled career wishes

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Lunsford started his run with sports at a very young age. It was in high school that he showed interest in sports like soccer and wrestling. However, his wrestling career did not reach its pinnacle. According to Lunsford, once he moved to college, the doors to Wrestling were shut to him once and for all. Lunsford reflected that the university he went to did not have a wrestling team and hence he had to find other options.

Soon the bodybuilder sought another major sport that would in future bridge the gap between his earlier pursuit of wrestling and bodybuilding: Weightlifting. Lunsford decided to shift his interests to weightlifting when he met his trainer James Brown. But even so, the former weightlifter did not find himself to be made for that sport.

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READ MORE: Amidst Her Husband’s Hardcore Olympia Prep, Derek Lunsford’s Wife Has Her Own Physical Update: “My Eyes Are Currently Way Bigger Than My Stomach”

After a disappointing pursuit of a weightlifting career, Lunsford finally started to find something that suited him. His shift into a bodybuilding career was directed by the skills he learned during his wrestling days.

Lunsford’s career shift: From wrestling to bodybuilding

In one of the Instagram reels posted by Derek Lunsford, the bodybuilder answered the question of why he started bodybuilding. In the process, he also decoded how the transition really took place. He stated, “Well, I started training in the gym because I was a wrestler. I was a very dedicated wrestler and high school athlete.” Lunsford further added to his statement, “Wrestling was the one sport that I took incredibly seriously. I was super disciplined and dedicated to.”

Furthermore, Lunsford also revealed how he continued to train even after he stopped wrestling. He confessed to going to the gym solely because of his love for training and working out alone. Then he accounted how he encountered some people training in a different fashion and having different results. The curiosity that sparked from such incidents later became the reason for his shift towards bodybuilding.

Prime Mr. Olympia Contender Derek Lunsford Opens Up on His Wife’s Contribution Whilst Being Heavily Pregnant: “Brought Us Closer in Our Marriage”

After Derek Lunsford heard that bodybuilding was also a sport where there were several contests and prestigious titles, he was intrigued by the prospect. So much so that, he believed that even he could excel at it if he wished to train hard enough.

Derek Lunsford’s sparkling bodybuilding career

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Lunsford started his bodybuilding journey with his 2015 amateur debut at the NPC Indianapolis Championships. But from then on he participated in many Men’s Open until he got his Pro card back in 2017 at NPC USA Championships. The bodybuilder won his very first professional show that year at the Tampa Pro. Later, he started competing in Mr. Olympia’s 212 lbs division for a while till he achieved the title of Mr Olympia in 2021. And again, this year in 2023, he lifted the Sandow trophy, making him the only bodybuilder to win the Mr. Olympia in multiple categories.

The journey from one sport to another is not at all easy. It demands a thorough change and unlearning of different elements. Yet, Derek Lunsford did not only manage but aced his way into this new sport. His dedication and discipline towards training and working hard to attain something great have been a driving force for his shining career in the present-day bodybuilding spectrum. Having become the only bodybuilder with a Mr. Olympia from two distinct divisions, Lunsford is certainly making history. His legacy is likely to pass on as he plans to take part in the upcoming Arnold Classic this year as well. But only time can tell whether he will be able to win another show this year as well or not. Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

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Written by:

Pritha Halder

556Articles

One take at a time

I'm Pritha Halder, your everyday spokon fanatic. Spokon is the Japanese term for sports manga and anime. Rather strangely, this was the root from which my love for competitive bodybuilding blossomed.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Manikandan

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