Despite winning the sport’s greatest title, life for Lunsford has been anything but easy. In a recent Instagram reel published Monday, November 6, Lunsford opened up about the threats leveled against himself and his family since winning the 2023 Mr. Olympia title.
In addition, Lunsford revealed his Instagram was shut down twice in 24 hours just a day after the big win and he also talked about runner-up Hadi Choopan storming off the Mr. Olympia stage.
“I have love for Hadi’s fans but I would appreciate it if we could be a bit more respectful and I ask that from everyone,” shared Lunsford.
Athletes are still coming down after the 59th edition of Joe Weider’s Olympia & Fitness Performance Weekend. It was the year of upsets as seven new champions were crowned with only four titleholders retaining their respective thrones. Most notably, the headliner saw Iran’s Hadi Choopan come up short against his teammate Derek Lunsford in the finals.
Derek Lunsford‘s win was historic as he established himself as the world’s first-ever two-division Mr. Olympia champion. However, many fans online found the results controversial with some going as far as calling the event a robbery altogether. To unpack the noise surrounding the big title win is none other than Derek Lunsford himself.
Derek Lunsford Addesses 2023 Olympia Win Backlash, Instagram Blackout, and Family Threats
Lunsford explained that he would never abandon his social media channels because of fan hate or threats. He wouldn’t provide an exact reason for why his Instagram was taken down twice, but had the following to say about the matter:
“There’s a couple of statements that I’d like to make and a couple of things I’d like to address. The first one is about my account on Instagram being suspended. There was speculation that I disabled it because of comments and concerns but that’s not true that’s not me.
I love putting out content on my social media, whether that’s my Instagram or that’s my YouTube. It’s not me to disable that for any reason. I want to let you guys know that not only was the account suspended once but it was suspended twice already in the last 24 hours so that addresses that.”
While he can’t control what others say or the opinions of fans, Lunsford stressed that threats toward himself or his family go “way too far.”
“The second thing that I wanted to talk about has been a lot of the negative comments and I just want to say that there is a point where it does cross the line and that’s whenever my family gets involved. When there’s threats being made to my family or myself that’s way too far.”
Lunsford called for more respect among fans in the bodybuilding community regardless of nationality or country of origin.
“So I wanted to let people know that I don’t feel that’s okay but I can’t control what others are going to do or what they are going to say. I just ask that we’re all respectful to each other because I do believe that there are many many people that support me and support all of the bodybuilders, and it doesn’t mater whether you’re from the U.S. from Iran, or if you’re from Brazil, or any part of the world, I believe that there’s good people everywhere. And I feel a tremendous amount of love and support from around the world and including the Iranian fans and the Brazilian fans and the U.S. fans,” Derek Lunsford said.
Lunsford on Hadi Choopan Storming Off 2023 Mr. Olympia Stage: “I Was Surprised”
Even though he was caught off guard by Choopan’s abrupt exit, Derek Lunsford could understand what he was going through given that he finished second to him on stage last year.
“I was surprised [at Hadi Choopan storming off the stage] I didn’t think that would be the reaction but look this is not easy we all pour our hearts and souls into this. What am I thinking about when I’m out there posing, and we’re really battling on the line, you heard Steve say ‘Knock it off guys, back on the line,’ how many times? So we pour our hearts and souls into this, and someone asked me yesterday and said, ‘What goes through your mind when you’re out there battling it out with those guys.’
I said I think about all those times I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to get up and go to the gym and train because I was dog tired I would tell my wife ‘God babe this is getting so tough, why me? I would literally be like, ‘God why me? God, why did you pick me to be a bodybuilder to do something so hard, why did you put the passion in me to do this?” asked Lunsford at the athletes meet.
Lunsford also reflected on the struggles he endured en route to winning the prestigious title.
“It tested me through all this hardship. God Why me, why me? And I think of all the sacrifices I make but not just me my wife is making them with me and you know and all my loved ones. That’s what I’m feeling. And I’ve been there, it stings, it sucks, ” said Lunsford.
With only the top three Men’s Open Mr. Olympia finishers granted automatic qualifications, fans hope to see more high-profile bodybuilders back on stage this year. Just days before getting the chance to compete against his rival Lunsford, Nick Walker was forced to withdraw due to a severe hamstring tear. As of now, he is not qualified to compete at 2024 Mr. Olympia unless he wins a Pro show or receives a special invitation.
As for Derek Lunsford, he is the new reigning Mr. Olympia, a title he plans to defend in October of 2024, where he will likely face his teammate Choopan and contender Samson Dauda in a highly awaited rematch.