It’ll be a long wait for the 2023 Mr. Olympia. With this year’s flagship bodybuilding contest not occurring until Nov. 3-5, 2023, in Orlando, FL, there’s a lot of time for the stars of the Men’s Open division to gather themselves. This spring, they’ll be offering a teaser of what might come by appearing together at a relatively smaller scale International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League competition.
On Mar. 23, 2023, the National Physique Committee (NPC) organizers of the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro revealed who will be guest posing during this year’s competition the weekend of May 12-13. Here is an overview of big names who are expected to show off an early spring look at their physique with nothing tangible on the line:
2023 Pittsburgh Pro Guest Posing Athletes
- Derek Lunsford — 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up
- Nick Walker — 2022 Olympia third-place finisher
- Samson Dauda — 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) winner
- Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay — Two-time Mr. Olympia (2020-2021)
- Shaun Clarida — Two-time 212 Olympia winner (2020, 2022)
- Hunter Labrada
- Rafael Brandao
Reigning four-time Classic Physique Olympia champion (2019-2022) Chris Bumstead has also been announced to make a special appearance, but he is not expected to guest pose.
Save for the defending Mr. Olympia, Hadi Choopan, this list of guest posers at the latest Pittsburgh Pro is arguably a laundry list of potential contenders for the next Mr. Olympia title. There could always be an unexpected dark horse making a run out of the blue, but one of these names (with Choopan included) will likely be the 2023 Olympia victor.
Assuredly, there is no shortage of storylines leading into this first look at most of the main 2023 Mr. Olympia slate.
For Lunsford, after successfully transitioning from the 212 division, the athlete will now likely be pulling out all the stops to win his first Mr. Olympia title. Taking home a runner-up in his first Men’s Open try might have only been the start of a fruitful career in the top bodybuilding class. When it comes to Walker, “The Mutant” has submitted relatively disappointing performances of late. Two consecutive podium results at the 2022 Olympia and 2023 AC are nothing to sneeze at, but Walker expected to win. That makes what he brings to the stage in Orlando potentially even more exciting.
Elssbiay returns to guest pose at the Pittsburgh Pro after skipping the 2022 iteration. The former two-time Olympia champion has recently dipped a bit, performance-wise, and could be using the Pittsburgh Pro as a way to build some momentum heading into another Olympia appearance in the fall. Dauda surprised the bodybuilding world with his new AC title, but some established icons don’t think any coming victories will be much of a shock anymore. He’s undoubtedly seemed to establish himself as a household name.
Finally, amongst the main pantheon featured at the Pittsburgh Pro, Clarida will likely just be moonlighting guest posing among Men’s Open contenders as he pushes for a 212 Olympia title record. It doesn’t appear “The Giant Killer” will be slaying any of the athletes on stage in a primary competition any time soon. As for Labrada, after finishing in seventh place at the 2022 Olympia, he didn’t seem to be contending well with the outside noise. The athlete has been planning a streamlined physique in 2023, which he might show a glimpse of in the early stages in May.
At the time of this article’s publication, it is unclear what role Bumstead plans to play at the Pittsburgh Pro given that he isn’t guest posing. However, having another superstar on hand is always welcome by fans.
From a competitive perspective, nothing meaningful is on the line for any of these dynamos at the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro. They are merely there to partly provide a public update on their training progress while fulfilling IFBB appearance “obligations” of sorts. That said, seeing the current elite mix of Men’s Open bodybuilders is one rousing way to stir up debate and draw attention before they actually duke it out on stage later this year.