Good Sports: Fresno native has opportunity to earn title of Mr. Olympia

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A local bodybuilder is looking to become the first Valley native to be crowned Mr. Olympia when he competes against the best in the world this weekend in Orlando, Florida.

Erin Banks, the Clovis East grad, has shocked the sport by qualifying in the physique series in just his first year on the circuit.

The 33-year-old Fresno native through diet and plenty of weight exercises has emerged as one of the favorites to place at this weekend's Mr. Olympia competition in Florida -- think Super Bowl for bodybuilding.

"To get your bid or qualification, you have to win a show. What I did was win the third most prestigious show in the world, which is the New York Pro," Banks said.

Bank's meteoric rise in the body-building world has been nothing short of amazing.

While he's always had a passion for working out, Banks admits he fell off during the height of the pandemic when gyms were closed.

Banks didn't pick up a dumbbell and ate a little more fast food than normal on his way to ballooning up to 255 lbs before deciding to go full beast mode once gyms came back online.

Now at 227 pounds and despite his first year competing as a pro, Banks says he's confident going into the biggest bodybuilding competition in the world.

"It's my rookie year, so I got to put my time in. People don't really know who I am. They don't know my face yet but they will. October 9, they will," Banks said.

Banks didn't get here by mistake but to become Mr. Olympia, he'll face a stacked lineup of the sport's top competitors in men's physique.

His win at the Las Vegas show earned him his pro card and the nickname "The Problem".

A moniker his opponents gave him after he blew away the competition with his shredded v-shape upper body.

"I've worked on the feedback the judges have given me all year," Banks said. "They wanted to give me a bigger chest and I believe I've done a lot of homework and extra credit to build that. My back is probably my biggest strength but now that I've paired everything together, it is just a complete package."

And who's going to argue with the Clovis East grad who is working to become the first man from the Central Valley to earn the title of Mr. Olympia?

A responsibility he doesn't take lightly while training with bodybuilding legend and fellow Fresno native, Flex Wheeler, leading up to the show.

Not short on confidence Banks, says he has never been so focused in his life.

"I have the city on my back," he said. "I represent the city of Fresno, California, and I don't want to be that letdown. It's a little bit of pressure but it's actually good pressure for me because when I do bring it home, it's going to be a relief."

If you'd like to watch the event this weekend, click here.
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