Chatter surrounding Derek Lunsford‘s 2023 Mr. Olympia victory continues to dominate the bodybuilding community. In a recent Voice of Bodybuilding podcast on YouTube, Bob Cicherillo took issue with fans sending death threats to Lunsford and gave his take on whether Nick Walker deserves a special invite to 2024 Mr. Olympia.
The night couldn’t have gone much better for former 212 Olympia Derek Lunsford, who captured the Open Mr. Olympia title on Saturday, November 4 alongside the Olympia People’s Champ Award. In doing so, Lunsford became the sport’s first-ever two-division Mr. Olympia champion. However, to make history, he had to take the title from his teammate and former champion Hadi Choopan.
Shortly after “The Persian Wolf” accepted the defeat, he stormed off the stage before the victory photos were complete. His sudden departure from the stage caused a stir among fans and stoked the fire of those who thought Choopan was the rightful winner.
Since the biggest night of his life, Lunsford and his family have received threats to their safety. While Choopan has publicly squashed the beef with Lunsford, there’s no denying that the controversy has taken center stage. To make sense of the new Open landscape, Bob Cicherillo sat down to examine all of the big stories coming out of Olympia weekend.
Bob Cicherillo Talks Derek Lunsford’s Death Threats, 2023 Olympia, and Nick Walker’s Future
Cicherillo urged fans who are upset by the results not to get carried away, underlining that death threats to Lunsford and his family are unacceptable.
“Let’s not get carried away, death threats, like really? These are going to Derek Lunsford and his family! Why would you be threatening his family? For what reason?”
“I don’t care how big of a fan you are, there’s never any reason to put threats out to people. And by the way, none of these athletes voted, right? You want to be mad at somebody, be mad at the judges, they are the ones that made the decision. All Derek Lunsford did was show and do what he should have done, try his best to win the title of Mr. Olympia champion and that’s just what he did. Please enough with the negativity.”
As for direct comparisons between Lunsford and Choopan, Bob Cicherillo quickly laid out how and why the former 212 champ reigned supreme. He believes Lunsford’s balance, symmetry, and proportions were critical to his success but acknowledged it was a close contest.
“Hadi from the front, Derek from the rear shots, no question about it, best back in the entire show any division, Derek Lunsford. Now we go to the side, well you can kind of split this okay? I like Hadi in the side chest, I like Derek in the side triceps, let’s call it even. Abdominal shot, I’m going to give the edge to Derek, he’s got that smaller waist and the bigger X-frame. Most muscular, definitely Hadi no question about it.”“It’s tied now what do we do, well you go to the three things I’ve been saying from day one make the biggest difference in bodybuilding and that’s shape, symmetry, and proportions. Check marks to Derek on all three.”
With rumors of a Hadi Choopan suspension floating around, Cicherillo gave his thoughts on the situation. He doesn’t think Choopan’s actions should be made bigger than what they were.
“Nobody could hear because he didn’t have a microphone, he said, ‘No. No. No. I go and I don’t come back.’ Then I figured he had to go and moved on with pictures and that was the end of it. I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it on the spot. Listen, if he’s gotta go, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. By the same token, this moment belonged to Derek Lunsford.”
Bob Cicherillo ‘Completely Disagrees’ w/ Nick Walker Receiving 2024 Mr. Olympia Special Invite
“I got to completely disagree with this one. Everybody that follows my stuff knows I’m not a big fan of special invites, never have been. For the record, I wasn’t even on board with Derek Lunsford getting a special invite,” said Bob Cicherillo.
“Guys need to go out there qualify and compete, there’s an integrity to the process that gets destroyed… alright, when there’s special invites that are just kind of thrown out there,” shared Bob Cicherillo.“The very word, the special invite, special, that means there should be special circumstances. Somebody getting injured be it Nick or anybody else, it’s not special. It’s happened every year that we’ve ever had the Olympia and what will be 60 years next year that we’ll be celebrating. Somebody is always out with an injury. That’s not unique or special and it’s not deserving of a special invite either.”“I say you get out there and you pick a show and we’ve got plenty of them throughout the year, if the Arnold is too early, that’s cool, go into another show. We got Big Steve’s show, the New York Pro, Tampa, Chicago, shows out of the country, there’s all kinds of shows you can go in, pick one and qualify.”
Big question mark, if Nick Walker was in this show, where do I have him placing, and I think that’s a very easy answer to me, I don’t see him beating Derek, Hadi, or Samson, I think he’s a solid fourth-place finisher.”