by Christian Duque
Legendary Canadian bodybuilder Iain Valliere jwon the Toronto Pro in commanding form. The big win sent shockwaves throughout the muscle world as he reasserted his role as a top contender for the 2023 Mr. Olympia. As of the last few contests his placings have suffered due to issues that seem to arise at the last minute.
Historically, Valliere has always been considered a Top 6 bodybuilder by all accounts, but as of his recent luck, many in the sport thought he was either burning out or maybe doing something that wasn’t working. Many fans wanted to see him link back up with Matt Jansen. This is because there are coaches and client partnerships that work and when you have a pairing that renders clear-cut results why fix it? That being said it never ceases to amaze me how quickly people turn on their favorite competitors.
The sport of bodybuilding is one where you’re only as good as your last placing. It’s very troubling to me, because I have always been cut different than that. If I like a competitor, I tend to follow that competitor for their entire career. As of late, particularly with the advent of social media and the ability for fans to discover more and more athletes it seems to me that loyalty is a scarce commodity. No matter how well an athlete does on stage as soon as their placings sour a little bit, the fans seem to go for the door. This can also be said about supplement companies, demand for guest posing appearances, and even media attention.
To be honest with you, if you fall in the rankings ever so slightly, you will notice a dramatic cut in the amount of articles and interviews that you get as well. This is the only sport where that phenomenon seems to be a reality. And it’s not an isolated instance, either. In fact, I would say it has become the norm. The sport is in a place where the fans need constant updates and constant developments. This is also why I believe the Olympia is being held later in the year and why the period between the Olympia and the Arnold Classic is being cut ever so short. The fitness industry of today cannot take a four month break. It simply runs on all cylinders all the time and the fans will eventually demand that the sport take no breaks at all. This is because social media has created such a demand for physique-based sports that that demand must be answered with competitions and content 24/7!!
Iain’s win will undoubtedly put him back in the conversation with many circles within the sport. In my opinion, he has always been a threat and will continue to be a threat irrespective of how he does over the course of a few months or even a year. There are still a number of competitors who are very dangerous. Guys who do have a lot of careers left in them but who are simply ignored today. It’s almost as if they have to win again in order to justify getting any type of consideration. That is a sad state of affairs for the fans and the media alike. In fact, we have seen some pretty amazing athletes win shows to the astonishment of writers who should have been handicapping them as possible winners from early on.
Speaking as to the Toronto Pro, it brings me great joy to see that one of the best bodybuilders in the world has been able to remind countless fans of the fact that he still has plenty left in his career and may, in fact, place the highest he has ever placed at the Mr. Olympia in just under six months time.
Imagine if Iain is able to top all of his previous placings and come closer than ever to winning the title. Could the winner of the Toronto Pro shock the world in Orlando Florida? Absolutely he could! Because anyone who wins a pro show in 2023 has the capability of winning the biggest show in the sport. After all that is the basis of that competition. Once you remove special invites and other handicaps you are left with men that have won open competitions outright. The points system has been removed. The only way you can get to the big dance today is if you have held the title before, if you currently hold it, or if you have won an open show. Therefore it’s any man’s contest.
What I will say has surprised me and countless others is not only the fact that the winner of Toronto Pro is a top level guy that many wrote off, but that once he won, he had just as many people criticizing him as congratulating him. I have never seen anything like it. And the criticism was so negative and so harsh that even Iain couldn’t ignore it. He had to make a statement. That too is a novelty in the sport.
If we can take one thing away from Toronto and Ian’s big win it’s the fact that a lot of people will be talking about it and about him in the coming months. What do so many people have against him? And has he made critics into fans with his win or has he further polarized his critics?
Only time will tell, but I can tell you one thing, there is no doubt that there’s a lot of buzz around this competitor. And whereas the media ignored him up until a week ago I bet you every big website has called him or emailed him, hoping he will make an appearance on their platform. Again, I don’t like it, but that’s the name of the game in today’s fitness industry. It’s all about hits and it’s all about negativity. Even when a guy wins, people will still find a way to hate on him.