by Christian Duque
“Is Nick Walker low key doing the Arnold? Is he getting an invite? What’s going on? Well, there is no Arnold for me. That is too soon. That is just four weeks out. And there is no invite and honestly I’d rather [pause] earn my qualification.” – Nick Walker
As always I like to start my articles about Nick by putting it out there that he has me blocked on all social media because according to him I am far too negative. I did meet him at the Natural Vitamins Epic Block Party in Ozone Park, New York a couple of years ago, and at the time not only did he not have me blocked but we had a few exchanges in direct messages.
I had advised him on some moves for the future based on my experience as a journalist in the fitness industry. For whatever it’s worth I think he appreciated my commentary and I thought we were cool. So of course when I found out that he would be presenting with his sponsor at this event I made a point to go and say hello. We chatted a little bit and I asked him if I could take a photo with him and he obliged which I thought was really cool. What I thought was very interesting however is that he warned me to stay positive. At first of course I thought he was kidding but then I noticed he was being quite serious.
Not too long after when his sponsor dropped Shaun Clarida from their roster I took exception to that. It bothered me because the sponsor is co-owned by Shaun’s coach and at the time Nick’s coach as well. it also bothered me that he was dropped considering that he was a 212 Mr Olympia defending his title and I thought it was pretty crappy to take away an income stream when he was on the top of the sport.
While I did not attack Matt directly I did criticize the fact that he didn’t fight hard enough for Shaun. As a result of my criticism of Matt and the sponsor, Nick went on to block me. Perhaps to him being a journalist requires writing cookie cutter pieces and never criticizing anyone, especially not anyone associated with him. Unfortunately that would have made me a shill and I simply cannot subscribe to that way of doing things. I have always said what I believe and if I am wrong I am the first to retract. That being said, I am also a person that has deeply held opinions and I am not about to compromise those opinions just to not get blocked by some thin skinned bodybuilder. The reality of the matter is I have been blocked by Phil Heath, Nick Walker, and maybe a couple of others who unfortunately lack the wherewithal to withstand criticism. That is their flaw, not mine.
Now what I find interesting is how much of a non-factor Nick has become. At one point in time when he won the North American Championships he was supposed to be one of the next Mr. Olympia’s; however, as a result of a lot of big talk not backed by action, he fell by the wayside.
We can blame it on injury, we can blame it on exhaustion, but ultimately this is a very hard guy to work with. He has jumped from coach to coach, he has jumped from sponsor to sponsor, and let’s face it, he isn’t the nicest guy to work with. He may have had a rough past and he may have been very open about that, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. If you can’t stay with a coach or a sponsor for the long haul, then you’re a bit of a loose cannon.
The reality of the matter is that he was not able to win an Olympia and I don’t think that he would be very competitive in the 2024 Arnold Classic. That is probably why he did not receive an invitation and that is probably why he will not receive a special invitation to the 2024 Mr olympia. When he says he would rather earn it that’s bs. I respect him for trying to sell us that but no bodybuilder that could be given a special invite would rather qualify instead. Qualifying is all he has left.
On the other hand it sounds like if he was invited to the Arnold he would accept the invitation. The only thing is I don’t think that invite is coming. With regards to the New York Pro I hope to God he brings his best package ever because Big Steve does not put on crap shows. He will have to bring his absolute best physique if he plans on winning. It’s also noteworthy to remind you guys that the point system is gone. So let’s say he goes to New York and takes second and then goes to Chicago and takes second and then goes to Tampa and takes second – he’s not going to go to the Mr. Olympia. Points are done. The only way you get to the big dance is if you’re a previous Mr. O, if you win a pro show, or if you get a special invite. Nick is not a previous winner and he is not going to get a special invite. The only way that he can go to the Super Bowl of Body building is by winning a pro show.
That being said, he is a past Arnold Classic champion.
Why do I make that observation? Because he cannot go to some rinky dink show in Timbuktu and qualify. He needs to at least win a big show that has some kind of bragging rights. The old pecking order survives till this day. Olympia, Arnold, NOC. The new NOC since the departure of Wayne Demilia has been the New York Pro. Big Steve has put on the third biggest bodybuilding show with great pride and that region of the country will forever be a hotbed of bodybuilding. I’m talking about New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. That is the East Coast Mecca and it will eat, sleep and breathe bodybuilding for generations to come.
I have no doubt that if Nick puts 100% in that he can win that show but it’s not a foregone conclusion. He’s not going to walk in there and take the trophy and then get ready for the Olympia. The New York Pro is an all-out war and he will need to bring a lot of fight in order to walk away with the W.
Now that aside, how competitive will Nick be at the Olympia remains to be seen. I don’t think that he will make the top three in 2024 and what’s crazy is that he says he’s going to win it all. I would love to be wrong and I would be the first to congratulate him, but I just don’t see it happening. I think once again he is putting an enormous amount of stress on himself when what he should be doing is focusing on winning New York and then hunkering down and trying to fly in under the radar to Las vegas. By making a bold statement that he’s going to win the 2024 Mr. Olympia now he has successfully increased his stress level for no apparent reason. There is absolutely no good that can come from this. So then why did he do it?
He did it because no one is talking about him anymore. He did it because he wants to be in the conversation on big websites and articles such as this one. I don’t care what any top bodybuilder says when they imply to the contrary. When big stars say they don’t care if they’re talked about or not, that is utter crap. When you have been in the conversation to be the best in the world and now nobody even brings you up, that’s going to ruffle a lot of feathers.
Nick wants to be back in that conversation so unfortunately he is relying on a lot of big talk and here we are talking about him. It would be very sad if he can’t even win the New York Pro, much less the Olympia. I hope to God he does less talking and more prepping and lives out his dreams. He belongs at the top but he’s not going to just walk back and reclaim his position from when he won the North Americans or when he won the Arnold Classic. I think he needs to serve himself a slice of humble pie and get to work.
What say you?