by Christian Duque
It was great watching Derek’s interview on Desktop Bodybuilding. I don’t know if you guys have a chance to catch it but I was able to listen to the whole interview. For those of you that like video, you can watch it as well, but I am somebody that is always doing something so I chose to listen instead while I multitasked on various different things I was working on. I have to say that Xavier did a fantastic job by presenting the champ from early on with a presentation that was worthy of someone on his level in the sport.
We must remember that Derek has won the highest title in bodybuilding, and for that should receive many accolades. Some media formats look at it it’s just another title, but that goes against the very culture of our sport. Once somebody wins that crown, he/she should be treated like a major star celebrity. And that’s exactly what Xavier did. What he also did was he talked to him like a normal human being, which is also important, because you never want a star to feel uncomfortable. You want them to feel like they are in a friendly environment, where they will not be ambushed, and where they can speak freely.
From the very beginning of the interview, Derek talked about his small-town origins in Indiana and how he was able to discover the sport and take it to the top. He didn’t reach success overnight, and in fact, had to start in the 212 division curing his teeth there before reaching the top. He didn’t really talk a lot about why he decided to leave the division but you could tell that for a long time being 212 Mr. Olympia was everything he was about. I mean he had some real competition with guys Kamal, Shaun, and of course, James Flex Lewis. And something he didn’t really talk about is the fact that once he made it to the top of the 212 he then had to start all over again with Open Bodybuilding. I mean just when you think you have finally made it now there’s yet another challenge waiting for you.
But really isn’t that what life is all about anyways? Unless you challenge yourself, you sort of settle for mediocrity. I think once he was able to go all the way with the lighter division. there was a huge level of ambition to go all the way in the next division. He’s the only person that has ever held both titles in the history of the sport. Flex could have done it, but we will never know. Then again, never say never right?
I do wish they would’ve spoken a little bit more about The 212 but I get it, he is the open Mr. Olympia and we are in the here and now not living in the past. That being said our past shapes who we are in the future. I was able to see him compete in the 212 and come up short, but I was still very impressed with him
Derek did speak of his trials and tribulations in the sport and how he was able to process the defeat. I can tell you one year in Vegas that I was at where I saw him eating his green beans and chicken breast and feeling very much dejected. Now you might say, how could I know how he was feeling but the look on his face told a very clear story. He was a man that went there with a desire to win and fell short. He was not complaining, he was not blaming people, he was just eating his meal by himself, and probably trying to figure out a way that he could live with it. That is something that is difficult not just in bodybuilding, but in any sport. It is not having things work out the way you want them to, but also not giving up and running away. It’s knowing that you gave everything you had, and that you suffered, that you didn’t cheat, that you didn’t deviate from the plan, but that, for some reason, even your best that day was not good enough to win. That is a very difficult reality to process. And it’s even more difficult when it is a sport of one like bodybuilding.
I mean, of course you have a coach, you may have a posing coach as well and a trainer and you have people that love you, but ultimately it is a sport of one. And when it is a sport of one, all of the pressure and all of the mental stress falls upon the shoulders of one individual athlete.
I’m glad that they were able to talk a little bit about mental health and a little bit about how to process stress. I feel that there is a lot to be said about that for competitive physique-based athletes. These sports are so time consuming and so demanding of the athletes that it’s important for them to understand ways they can cope with not getting results in the way they want them. I also think that it was powerful that Derek spoke about his faith in God and how that shapes him as an individual. We often hear people thank God, but they don’t really go far beyond that and they don’t really explain what their relationship with God is either.
This sport has nothing to do with God or does it? Who can forget Ronnie Coleman and how much faith he had in the Lord? The reality of the matter is for athletes that do have a relationship with God and who are religious it’s important that they share that as well. I feel that the more we know about a champion as fans the more the sport is going to grow. Each champion brings something different to the table.
I really feel like Derek is truly growing the sport of bodybuilding by doing Interviews such as this and also by trying to bridge the gap between bodybuilding and other sports. It’s so important to have a champion that is on the same page with growing and promoting the sport, as is the federation and as are the promoters. The media also plays a key role and having a champion who’s accessible makes all the difference in te world.
It’s also very important that top bodybuilders also have active social media accounts, and Derek most definitely does as well. This helps the media with questions and formats to cover on interviews and also helps the fans by knowing more about the champ as possible. Everything has a funny way of fitting in together.
I think the sport is going to see tremendous growth with Derek. What say you? Also, be sure not to miss this awesome interview. This was a job well done!