by Christian Duque
On Wednesday, November 16th, The Giant Killer Shaun Clarida will make the announcement millions of bodybuilding fans around the world have been debating on the message boards, Facebook groups, and various social media platforms over. Where will the 212 Mr. Olympia champion be competing? Since he’s double qualified, Shaun can do the 212 Olympia Showdown or the open Olympia. As I write this article, I do so knowing that you may know the answer before I do. The reality of matter is this article may go to press after the big announcement is made, but as I write it my friends, I haven’t the faintest clue which way Clarida will go.
To be honest, I believe he should have been given the opportunity to have done both competitions. I always made my opinion loud and clear. I am a firm believer that merit must be rewarded at all costs. If a man qualifies for two contests, he should be able to do them both! And no matter how much other media outlets, including Iron Magazine pled, through articles and coverage – the rule was not changed. Although both divisions are bodybuilding they are separate and distinct from one another.
In this article I will weigh the options one last time. But I suspect that even after laying out my points clearly and succinctly I will still be at a loss for words. If it was my decision to make, I don’t know if I would be able to reach a decision. So that is all the more reason why I have such a deep respect for the champ. He does not have to make a public decision. He could leave the fans gassing until the final hour, but that’s just not how he is wired.
Let’s be realistic. No matter how great he looks he will not be able to win the open Olympia. I would like to live based solely on idealism. I would like to say that the most proportional and symmetrical competitor will win in whatever division they compete in. That being said, there is just too much mass given up at the open. There is just too much of a size difference.
I have long been a proponent that size does not matter in bodybuilding. Unfortunately I will have to walk back that position when it comes to the Olympia. Do I believe Shain could be in the top six? Absolutely! Do I believe that it’s possible – even unlikely – but possible, that he could break into the top three? Yes I do. I know that a great many in the sport will look at me and roll their eyes but I do genuinely believe he could make top three at the absolute best of circumstances. But do I believe he can win? That I do not believe. I want to believe it, but I just don’t.
So if he can’t win then why do the open? Well a simple answer would be money. If he was to make top six he would automatically make more money than if he were to win the 212. As insane as that sounds it’s 100% the truth.
But there is more to it than money. There is also setting a precedent. The same way Shaun was able to beat guys100 pounds heavier than him and defy all the odds so too could he take top six as the lightest bodybuilder of all time. Aside from the fact the prize money would be great, he would set an all-time high for what can be accomplished with symmetry, balance, and excellent posing.
On the flipside, if he were to do the 212 he would have a very, very good chance of reclaiming the title that Lunsford took from him. He would face fierce competition from fellow 212 champion Kamal Elgargni and from other top contenders but he would have a very, very good shot of reclaiming his title. That being said, Shaun may be bored with the 212 and he may not see it as challenging as the open. Then again, when he won the 212 he was an underdog. He was more than an underdog. To most people he was a longshot. So winning a second time could very well give him just enough competition and just enough of a challenge to make it fun.
Additionally, I think the division needs Shaun. The division needs some excitement and I believe a showdown between two former 212 champions could be just what the doctor ordered. There’s also the fact that the Olympia has already run a small publicity campaign around the showdown between the two former 212 champions. If Shaun were to pull out of the 212 and do the open that would steal some of the thunder that was created for the 212. That’s by no means a reason for him not to do the competition but it is a factor in my opinion. I believe that the promotional materials may give us the answer even before Shaun announces it. That being said Shaun is not going to compromise his future just because a couple of posters were made.
In closing, I am in extreme anticipation to see what Shaun‘s decision is. Honestly every time I think he will do open, I think he will do 212, and vice versa. I honestly don’t know which one he will choose. Do you?