The 2022 Olympia 212 championship will be held as a part of the Olympia weekend scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. Thirty-six athletes are qualified to compete in this contest, with a guarantee that a new champion will be crowned.
Shaun Clarida, Kamal Elgargni, and David Henry are the athletes who have the potential to win the title for a second time. At the same time, the rest hope to make history as the seventh man to win the championship since the division was created in 2008. The list of qualified athletes is below in alphabetical order:
[Related: 2022 Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Show Preview]
2022 212 Olympia Roster
Anwar Al Balushi
Mazin Al Rahbi
Jafar Ghaffarnezhad Azizi
Lucas Silva Coelho
Mohamed El Azim
Angel Calderon Frias
Sung Yeop Jang
Athletes Not Competing
The most notable absence from this lineup is the 2021 Olympia 212 Champion, Derek Lunsford. He moved to the Men’s Open via a special invite to compete in the Mr. Olympia. As of this writing, all the competitors listed are expected to compete.
Nathan Epler finished fifth in 2021. He qualified on points in 2022. However, he’s confirmed to BarBend that he will move to the Men’s Open with Lunsford and is no longer a 212 competitor.
Three past Olympia champions are still in this lineup, including the two that preceded Lunsford. Elgargni and Clarida won the title in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and are the two favorites heading into the 2022 edition of the Olympia 212 Showdown.
After being told he couldn’t compete in both, Clarida opted to compete in the 212 to vie for a second title. Clarida and Elgargni stand a chance to make history as no bodybuilder in the 212 division’s existence has regained the title after losing it onstage.
A third former champion is in the lineup, the original Olympia 202 winner from 2008, David Henry. His most recent appearance on the Olympia stage was in 2020, placing 12th. The last time he was in the top six at the Olympia was in 2018, where he placed sixth. Flex Lewis won his seventh and final title that year before retiring immediately after.
Clarida isn’t the only athlete who made a challenging decision. Last year’s fourth-place finisher, Angel Calderon Frias, qualified for both the Men’s Open and the 212 Olympia. As of this article’s publication, he has yet to officially announce which division he will compete in.
Ahmad Ashkanani was considered the next heir apparent to Lewis at one time, but he never reached the summit of his division. His highest career Olympia rank was second in 2017. He finished sixth in 2021.
Tampa Pro 212 winner Keone Pearson has the intrigue of the fans. He’s focused on his lower body, which could maximize his already incredible physique. His legs in side poses could receive some extra attention from the judges. He finished 14th last year due to being off the mark when he took the stage. He’s working with coach Patrick Tuor, who looks to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.
Someone to watch for in the callouts is Ukraine’s Oleh Kryvyi. He finished sixth in 2020 but didn’t compete in the 2021 Olympia. He won the 2021 Big Man Weekend Pro 212 title and was bigger in that contest than at the 2020 Olympia. He’s had close to a year to build upon that physique, which could spell trouble for other contenders trying to mix things up with Clarida and Elgargni.
There’s also Bryan Balzano, who won the Indy Pro 212 title earlier this year. The only flaw critics pointed to were his arms. Aside from that, he had a complete physique that made victory a certainty. Some fans and experts believe he could be the future of the division — his Olympia debut is this year. As long as that potential doesn’t turn into pressure, he should be a welcome addition to the 212.
A matchup between Balzano and last year’s eighth-place finisher, Kerrith Bajjo, could be intriguing for fans. Bajjo won the Texas Pro and was second in Tampa in 2022. Even though Bajjo has been a pro for six years, he’s still considered an athlete on the rise.
Another bodybuilder making his Olympia debut is Douglas Connor. Connor won the 2021 Toronto Pro to qualify for the Olympia. He has a massive upper body with a lot of detail in the upper back. Very few athletes in the lineup can match his muscle thickness. He will need to be his leanest to match the past champions’ conditioning in this show.
Eduardo Correa is a 212 division veteran returning to the Olympia after six years. Correa last competed on the big stage in 2016, when he placed sixth. He returned to the stage with a win at the 2022 Musclecontest FitPira Pro, thanks to being the most shredded athlete in the lineup. He has the mature muscle that must be respected and that judges reward. He will likely be in the top 10, but a top-six finish is realistic, even after being off the Olympia stage for so long.
Other Notable Names
The final spots in the top 15 are up in the air, but athletes such as Lucas Silva Coelho, Noel Adame, Mohamed El Azim, and Dectric Lewis are early favorites to hold those spots. However, a new contender could come out of nowhere in the 212 division, as the roster is deep. Watch them all to see who makes the final cut.
The 2022 Olympia webcast will feature both prejudging and finals of the 212. You can watch live by ordering the Olympia Premium pay-per-view package at the Olympia Productions website.
Featured Image: @ifbb_pro_kamal_elgargni on Instagram