Kyle Landi has been a recent phenomenon in bodybuilding, as the 23-year-old becomes the first-ever Canadian bodybuilder with Down’s syndrome to compete. While the genetic anomaly leaves one with learning disabilities, Landi is defying the odds to master bodybuilding principles. The talented bodybuilder graced the 2023 Arnold Classic stage after being invited as a special guest. Later, he shared the stage with Antoine Valliant and Nick Walker during the Pure Muscle Championships

The champion from Milton enjoys a 306K following on Instagram, and his story has been a trailblazer in the world of bodybuilding. The young icon, who aims to compete in more shows in 2024, is supported by his mom and stepdad. It was company with his mom that triggered his love for fitness. 

Early morning gym sessions in the basement


Article continues below this ad

When Landi was born, his mother, Kimberly Murphy, was told her premature baby had Down’s syndrome and a congenital heart condition. But she wouldn’t have imagined her kid becoming a viral bodybuilding icon two decades later. When Murphy used to go to her basement gym for a workout, kid Landi would follow her.

He would come down and mimic what I was doing,” Murphy once confessed, as per CTV News. So, the loving mom of Landi offered him a little weight set, and the child would mimic his mother working out. “That was kind of our thing, working out in the morning” Murphy recalled. 

The young lad continued working out and joined the gym at 12. “Whether it was dance, or gymnastics, or swimming, or weightlifting. We tried a little bit of everything,” Murphy told Global News. But it was only in 2022 that Landi decided to become a professional bodybuilder. 

The decision to pursue bodybuilding

Landi’s stepdad, Joe Dominie, is a police officer from Nova Scotia and is the biggest supporter of his son, and they train together. The icon attended the Mr. Olympia event with his stepdad in Las Vegas in 2022. At the fan expo, the 23-year-old came across a pull-up booth and went straight away to do chin-ups, much to his father’s astonishment.

WATCH THIS STORY | At Mr. Olympia, 2023 Press Conference, Defending Runners-Up Derek Lunsford Reveals Why He Lost To Hadi Choopan Last Year

Landi announced that he would pursue bodybuilding as a profession a few weeks after that. So, the family uploaded the chin-up video on TikTok right away that night. But they didn’t know they would wake up to a beautiful surprise the following morning.

Landi’s video garnered one million views overnight, and he became an instant social media sensation. “We kind of clued in that we had something special with him,” Dominie confessed. Landi started training with coach Cody Amey, who is awestruck by the young man’s passion for lifting weights. The first ever Down’s syndrome bodybuilder had already trained with the elite bodybuilding icons from the industry.

Kyle Landi, The King Ronnie Coleman’s Boy

King Coleman is known for his heavy-weight duties at the gym, and Landi was lucky enough to train with the 8x Mr. Olympia champion. The duo had an intense shoulder session at the gym during Joe Weider’s 2023 weekend.

I had an off-the-chain workout with my boy @greenrangerkyle today at the RCSS Gym!Ronnie Coleman wrote in an Instagram post, sharing pictures with Landi. He also met bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Arnold Classic, where the 7x Mr. Olympia posed with the 23-year-old. The youngster also trained with powerlifting enigma Larry Wheels. If not for fame, the sport was crucial in instilling confidence in Landi. 

From low self-esteem to confident bodybuilder

Till bodybuilding happened to Landi, the young man was underconfident in life. “He used to walk in with his head down, shoulders slouched,” Dominie recounted in an interview. But the sport has a positive impact on Landi. “Now you see him walking in with his chest up, shoulders back. His communication skills have improved. He’s a different young man than he was in January,” the dad proudly confessed. 

Dominie also emphasized how Landi’s presence of mind saved a kid’s life at school. Landi once alerted his teacher when a fellow student suffered from a seizure and pleaded to call 911. Despite the limitations since birth, the 23-year-old focused on his strengths, which ultimately rewarded him with confidence and self-esteem. His parents are more than happy to have him as their son, and Murphy stresses, “Even if you have a disability, do the best you can at whatever you can. Whatever your ability is, get physical.


Article continues below this ad

The future aspirations of Kyle Landi

Landi is enthusiastic to train harder and compete in future shows. He’s also aiming to achieve a black belt in karate, apart from transgressing in the acting and modeling arenas. Kyle Landi perhaps wants to set a precedent by demanding focus on his capabilities despite his disability.

READ MORE: “My Man’s a Freak”: Nick ‘The Mutant’ Walker Believes Bodybuilding Neckzilla Will Be a Force of Reckoning in IFBB in the Future


Article continues below this ad

A great workout session in the gym releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. No surprise, Landi enjoys training. But his story is a trailblazer in the bodybuilding arena that has the potential to make the sport more inclusive. As Landi gains more popularity and success, his story will boost the confidence of parents and children to focus on their strengths rather than whining about their weaknesses.