by Christian Duque
I used to be in a position to interview 212 Mr. Olympia Shaun “The Large Killer” Clarida at @StrengthAdddicts IG LIVE on Thursday April 14th, getting some glorious insights about one of many most-talked about and most-respected bodybuilders on the professional circuit. Everybody has been speculating what Clarida may do since he shocked the world in 2020 and defeated The Lion of Libya, Kamal El Gargny. Actually, I used to be the one one who predicted Shaun to win. Not like in 2018 once I predicted Rhoden to win the Olymipa, the place there was a small handful of people that may ponder it, there was nobody speaking about Shaun successful the largest title in The 212. Even after he completed that milestone achievement, many thought he’d be a one hit marvel.
Though he didn’t retain his title in 2021, he narrowly misplaced to Derek Lunsford. The “defeat,” in the event you may even name it that, was razor-thin. I, personally, had Clarida successful the competition, however extra importantly, an enormous section of the bodybuilding world did, too. I’m speaking followers, media pundits, and rank-in-file professional bodybuilders. It was that shut! On high of that, Shaun did the unthinkable when he returned to the Reno Sports activities Pageant to compete in Open Bodybuilding. He’d already gained that contest’s 212 Division, however now he was getting on stage with “the massive boys.” What’s loopy is, he wasn’t close to 100% and he beat guys like Sergio Oliva Jr., who outweighed by 100lbs. Initially, the thought of him competing open was humorous, to many. That mentioned, loads of the massive guys skilled an evolution of moods. They went from laughing, to grinning, to sighing, to realizing that Clarida was going to win all of it! And now, as he’s on the verge of creating historical past, as the primary ever competitor who’s certified for 212 and Open Bodybuilding on the O, what is going to occur subsequent, stays a thriller.
In a really possible way my good buddy Dan Solomon has the ability to both enable Shaun to do each contests – or – make him select. Jake Wooden and Pittsburgh undoubtedly have a serious say as effectively, however I believe if Dan was on board, that’s all it could take. The actual fact is, it could make all of the sense on this planet, from a advertising perspective to have, each, James “Flex” Lewis and Shaun “GK” Clarida do the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Shaun and I are additionally in robust settlement that requiring Lewis to qualify is an insult. He deserves the Particular Invite for being the best 212 bodybuilder who’s ever lived. I suppose Dan may give Clarida a particular invite as effectively. This wouldn’t change the truth that double certified bodybuilders want to decide on an Olympia division, however it could give the followers what we wish. We wish to see Shaun do each divisions and whereas a lot of “the massive guys” are petrified that if Clarida will get his manner that which will sign in a 212 exodus, it gained’t. So far, Shaun is the one 212 professional who has ever completed this feat. That’s to not say others can’t, nevertheless it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll see it occur repeatedly sooner or later. That mentioned, a particular invite would assure not altering the established order, which is a serious concern.
Advertising for the Olympia is totally basic. Now that the occasion is again in Vegas, debuting at The Zappos Theater, it could be a media bonanza to see the largest bodybuilder ever standing subsequent to the lightest man within the 212. That might be actual a David and Goliath showdown, however it could be greater than that.
As I mentioned on my @StrengthAddicts interview with Shaun, what impressed me most concerning the judging in Reno, is that the panel scrutinized what mattered. Bodybuilding isn’t a top and/or weight competitors. It’s about what issues – and what issues is form, symmetry, steadiness and circulate. Posing is a big, as effectively!
The judges in Reno may’ve dwelled on the truth that Shaun was 100lbs lighter than Sergio, however as an alternative, they broke down each pose, they studied each athlete, they usually made the suitable selection. Though Ramy would dwarf Clarida, how may anybody ignore Clarida’s conditioning superiority, his muscle density, and his vascularity? When you get previous the load distinction, you’d be left with a comparability between a man who’s laborious as nails and a fridge. I actually imagine that Clarida may take up from the place guys like Lee Labrada and Lee Priest left off. If he was in a position to break into the Prime 6, that may be liquid gold.
It’s additionally not that unrealistic for Shaun to blow peoples’ minds with a profitable Open Olympia debut. Let’s not overlook that different former 212’ers like William Bonac, Jose Raymond, and Hidetada Yamaguishi, have all seen success on the Olympia. One very notable former 212 champion, Hadi Choopan, practically beat Ramy the yr he gained the the title. Additional to that, Hadi gained the Folks’s Champion title and is taken into account by many followers as being an uncrowned Mr. Olympia.
That mentioned, all the blokes I’ve talked about, except Conceal, are far heavier than Clarida. Once more, he’s one of many lightest 212 opponents to compete so all of the extra motive his 212 O and Reno wins create as a lot media fanfare as they do. If I had any say within the Olympia manufacturing, I’d be rallying for Shaun to do each. Once more, making the followers pleased, will solely develop the game. And pleased followers translate to extra ticket gross sales, extra resort reservations, extra PPV streams, extra VIP packages bought and extra corporations wanting cubicles. I imply, how many individuals have gotten particular invitations? What’s yet one more? Plus, it’s an ideal was to maintain the established order in place. All it could do, is make a particular exception for Clarida. I’d be superb with that.
Afterall, The Olympia is the superbowl of bodybuilding – something can occur!
One other matter we mentioned was Shaun’s big-picture mentality. Again when he was dropped from RAW Nurition, I assumed for certain he’d break ties his longtime coach, Matt Jansen. Matt is a co-owner of RAW and on the time, I assumed he ought to have fought more durable for him. That mentioned, Matt’s position as co-owner of Clarida’s former sponsor and Matt’s position as Shaun’s coach, are completely distinct from each other. I actually like how the Large Killer defined his thought course of and why leaving his coach was by no means possibility. They’ve achieved some superb issues collectively and I’m very happy with Shaun for not letting feelings get the perfect of him. He not solely has the physique of a champion, however he’s acquired the thoughts of 1, too.
Clarida goes all in. Though he completely loves competing, he gained’t do any exhibits apart from the O. From right here until December, each rep, each meal, is finished with the aim of trying his greatest on the 2022 Olympia. He’s additionally retaining his hopes up and being optimistic. Proper now, the phrase on the web is that he’ll have to decide on divisions, however up and till he will get his contract(s), he gained’t know for certain.
We additionally know that Dan met with Flex Lewis, however we don’t know what got here out of that assembly. I do know that Dan believes in placing the followers on a pedestal, that’s why a lot thought has gone into the manufacturing since he took over. Whereas Robin Chang did a superb job, Dan has taken it to the following stage. There’s merely no arguing that time. Due to this fact, whereas he could also be towing the road now, and even in non-public conversations, if anybody has the braveness to throw the ball on 4th down, it’s Dan. Hell, Dan may even run it himself!
Sadly, in direction of the tip of the interview, we mentioned a number of the losses we’ve skilled within the sport. Guys like John Meadows, who performed a key position in Shaun’s profession, George Da Bull, Shaun Rhoden and now, Cedric. 2021 was a really robust yr for bodybuilding and 2022 appears to be the identical. That mentioned, the champ took the chance to push the necessity for bodybuilders to get their blood work checked, to get with their medical doctors, however most significantly, to be trustworthy with them!
What’s the purpose of getting physicals and blood work achieved, in the event you’re retaining your healthcare workforce in the dead of night? Inform them what you’re taking, inform them actual dosages, and make your well being the #1 precedence. This, too, is why I love The Large Killer a lot. Not solely does he have the physique and the massive image mentality, however he cares about his fellow opponents. For as a lot bodybuilding promotes well being, a lot of its best-built opponents put their very own well-being on the backburner. That merely can’t be the case anymore!
All in all, this interview let me know precisely what Shaun is as much as and what he hopes to realize. He’s nonetheless very a lot the identical humble man I met years in the past. He hasn’t let his Olympia win or his Open Bodybuilding title get to his head. He nonetheless very a lot remembers when he was counted out, ignored, and massively underestimated. Not like most, who can be resentful over that, he makes use of it as gasoline and motivation. He’s not trying to make a idiot out of anybody, however he’s all about defying stereotypes and much exceeding expectations.
A brief, gentle man can beat a towering mass monster as a result of bodybuilding is about form and symmetry, it’s about creating the proper physique. For lots of followers, this a part of the game is misplaced upon them. They assume the larger the quantity on the size, the higher the physique is. That’s not solely unsuitable – it’s patently absurd. And the individuals whose opinion issues most – the judges – they know what issues. This is the reason, if Shaun hits the Open stage at 100%, and he’s put subsequent to Ramy, the laughs will turns to grins and people to sighs and sooner or later the 300lb+ Egyptian Phenom will get hit with the fact that the lightest man in The 212 really may beat him within the Open. You possibly can say it’s not possible, however to you I say, that is bodybuilding. Simply think about how Lee Labrada made Lee Haney really feel. It was all humorous, till Haney practically acquired beat.
One factor’s FOR SURE, the Open guys don’t need Clarida or any Prime 212’er bringing their stage of hardness, separation, and competitiveness to their division. That’s why so many worry an exodus. I imply, what number of 212’ers are you aware of who compete comfortable, with bubble guts, or holding ridiculous quantities of water? That’s merely remarkable there. Who is aware of what is going to occur. I, for one, stay optimistic that historical past will likely be allowed to be made. I hope you get an opportunity to take a look at the interview and hope you loved this text. Keep tuned for extra!