Derek Lunsford was a rising star in the 212 Division who appeared to be on an expressway to legendary status. Six days later, he went from winning the US in 2017 to first place at the Tampa Pro. After the Olympics a few weeks later, he was fifth. He then followed with a second performance at the 2018 Olympics to Flex Lewis, who then elegantly withdrew from this division.
With that kind of success so early in his career, 2019 almost seemed like a crowning glory for the Indiana native who now calls Florida home. Kamal Elgargni spoiled that moment by angering Lunsford and winning the Olympia, relegating Lunsford to second place. He shared with Dennis James on this week’s episode of The Menace Podcast that the loss hurt him. He also now knows a reason why things turned out the way they did.
“The chance to win was there, but I went too high with all the hype,” he admitted. “I was in my head.”
Despite hoping to recover and win last year, Shaun Clarida surprised everyone and claimed the title that year. Lunsford finished fourth. At that point, he knew it was time to change something.
“I said to myself,“ I think now is the time for me to learn from someone else. Get a different perspective, get a different eye, someone who has trained other Olympic champions. ‘”
In Hany Rambod he found the perfect coach. Rambod had trained numerous top athletes, including Olympic champions Phil Heath, Jay Cutler and Nicole Wilkins. Derek Lunsford informed James that he knew this meant he had to raise his own standards.
“Being with someone new and someone of this caliber makes me want to improve my game even more and to do (win) more.”
On this week’s episode of TMP, Lunsford talks more about the changes he and Rambod are making, his thoughts on other 212 stars, including Clarida, and how his mother followed in his footsteps and made her competitive debut on stage. The full episode of TMP can be viewed on the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel, which airs the episode every Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
0:45 – Derek before bodybuilding
3:20 – Entry into bodybuilding
8:36 – Wrestling abandoned and missed
9:47 am – DJ breakdance before bodybuilding
12:11 – Derek’s mother attended
15:29 – 2017: amateur to Olympic champion
22:06 – Ready for the hype of that time?
27:38 – 2018 and 2019 Olympics
30:22 – 2020
33:40 – A change is being made
39:15 – 212 or open?
44:39 – Schedule 2021 and adjustments
48:17 – What needs to be improved
49:28 – Fan support and awareness
57:24 – Travel to Las Vegas to see Flex Lewis
59:45 – 212 division evaluation