Ever since 1982, the National Physique Committee has held their Nationals bodybuilding contest to determine the best amateur bodybuilder in the country. The first champion to be crowned was Lee Haney, who would go on to win eight straight Mr. Olympia titles over the course of his professional career. Other notable champions of the past include Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Sergio Oliva Jr., and Hunter Labrada.
Haney was in Orlando, Florida as a spectator to see the 2020 version of the NPC Nationals. The winners of each division would earn professional status for their respective divisions. This is the final pro qualifying event of 2020, so it was either win now or wait until next year. The main objective of every competitor is to not only leave with that pro card, but take their division’s overall title as well.
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In the bodybuilding division, heavyweight Jonathan Withers would take his division as well as the overall title for 2020. Withers is a veteran of the US Marines as well as a native of Colorado. His entire physique had those in attendance paying attention to him, but what stood out the most was the development of his legs. The size of his thighs and the definition played a big factor in the judges awarding him first place. This is the second straight year that the heavyweight winner took the overall title. In 2019, Matthew Schmidt won both the heavyweight and overall titles.
The other bodybuilding winners may have not won the top title, but they did win their divisions and are now professionals as well. The super-heavyweight winner was Jephte Cherefant. Michael LaCombe won the light-heavyweight title while Kevin Ogbebar placed first in the middleweight division. Ogbebor actually pulled double duty here, as he was the Overall Champion of the Classic Physique contest. The welterweight and lightweight winners were Takeo Wadriski and Jorge Villatoro, respectively. Rounding out the bodybuilding winners was bantamweight champion Jared Barlow.
Six other major divisions in the NPC had competitions held over the course of the weekend. The overall champions are listed below. Each of these champions can start competing as professionals in the 2021 season and beyond.
Classic Physique – Kevin Ogbebor
Men’s Physique – Daniel Sosa
Women’s Physique – Angela Yeo
Figure – Ashley Lakomoski
Bikini – Nadia Szymanowicz
Wellness – Mia Samuels
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