Over the years the NPC Nationals has had the unique distinction of being the launching point for countless future stars in the bodybuilding, and its list of former champions reads like a veritable who’s who of Olympia winners, Arnold Classic champions, and future bodybuilding hall of famers.
Yet, despite its legacy as being one the sport’s premier pro qualifiers, and a history that spans back nearly four decades, last weekend bodybuilding fans witnessed, what might be, a record breaking performance that might stand the test of time, as 19 year-old Anton Rathusnyi became the youngest athlete ever to win both the Overall title at the and his pro card in the Classic Physique division.
“... the kid’s only 19 years of age absolutely phenomenal physique incredible” - Greg Doucette
Rathusnyi’s physique, and his historic win, have drawn early comparisons to five-time Olympia champion Chris Bumstead, who also earned his IFBB Pro Card at 19 years old when captured the Heavyweight Bodybuilding title at NPC North American Championships in 2016. However, although CBum’s emerged as the biggest star in bodybuilding, and has arguably become the most widely recognizable figure in the entire fitness industry, he didn’t enter the pro league scene with anywhere near the level of expectations or fanfare as Rathusnyi, who’s likely to face tremendous scrutiny from day one.
Bumstead didn’t win his first Olympia title until he was 23 years old, and with rumors beginning to intensify about his impending exit from the sport, the fastest growing division in bodybuilding will be hungry for another future star to take the reins and lead the sport into the next decade. So, if Rathusnyi can continue the pace of the rapid transformation that his physique has undergone over the last four years, since he first ventured into the world of bodybuilding, then he may, indeed, be the Classic Physique division’s next heir apparent.