The 2023 Arnold Classic saw Samson Dauda emerge as the new champion ahead of fellow standout Nick Walker earlier this month. In a recent YouTube video, Bob Cicherillo explained how to properly judge freaky physiques against more aesthetic ones while breaking down Walker’s loss to Dauda in Columbus, Ohio.
A lot has been made since the conclusion of the 35th edition of the Arnold Classic. Nick Walker entered the show as the betting favorite while Samson Dauda walked in as the third-highest-ranking Men’s Open Olympian. Former two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay targeted redemption after getting dethroned at the 2022 Mr. Olympia in fifth place.
During the prejudging, it became clear Dauda, Walker, and Andrew Jacked were in a three-way battle for the title. Dauda managed to get the nod from the judges whereas Walker took silver ahead of third-place finisher Jacked.
Following the result, there was a lot of debate about the judging of the event. Former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout questioned Dauda for getting perfect scores on both days despite appearing a bit flatter. He believes Walker would’ve easily won the show if the criteria were muscle quality alone.
Bob Cicherillo defended the placements and hit back at the critics two weeks ago. He claimed the stellar balance of Dauda’s physique established his lead early while Walker dropped a step by losing some of his freak factor. Renowned bodybuilding guru Chris Aceto agreed with Dauda’s victory but argued against the perfect scorecard as well.
Cicherillo chimed in with his breakdown of the event and offered a guideline for judging bodybuilding shows. A few days later, Walker needed to step in and urge his fans to stop expressing hateful posts online surrounding the judges and other competitors.
‘The Mutant’ admitted it was a tough result for him to accept as he felt like he’d won the contest in the moments leading up to his name being called in second. The former AC champion received support from four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler days later for the performance, nonetheless. Cutler praised Dauda’s performance and believes it could’ve gone either way. On the other hand, bodybuilding legend Flex Wheeler stated Dauda handily dispatched the competition with his insane package.
Bob Cicherillo explains judging freak vs aesthetics
In a recent YouTube video, Bob Cicherillo shared his tips for judging a freaky and aesthetic physique after the 2023 Arnold Classic.
“Freaky physiques and judging,” said Cicherillo. “How do the judges differentiate between a freak and aesthetic bodybuilder? Let’s use the Arnold Classic that just passed as an example. Here’s what you got: Samson in first, not a freak. Nick in second, is a freak. Jacked in third, not a freak. Ramy in fourth, is a freak. Clarida, not a freak. Even in sixth, Akim Williams, certainly a freak.
“He’s got as much muscle as anybody out there and if he can nail that conditioning he’ll be contending for the title in the near future. And William Bonac, not a freak.
“This is where the problem comes in. The judges are all over the place. If you got Samson winning, and that’s the physique you’re looking for, then how is Andrew Jacked not second? Why would Nick be second?”
He explained the broader nature of judging bodybuilding and the importance of having a good balance of strengths.
“There is no absolute in bodybuilding. It’s all shades of grey. The physiques are all over the place, the judges aren’t. The judges are still looking for the same thing; symmetry, proportion, shape, muscularity, conditioning, and an ability to display your physique. These are what they are looking for. They’re really looking for the best combination of everything. This is where the answer comes to those wanting to know how do you have this physique in first, this in second, and so on.
“This is why the judges’ job is not an easy one. They have to take into consideration all of these things. Who has the least amount of weaknesses not the most amount of strengths? If you’ve got the amount of strengths you can count, then you’re put on the freaky side of things and that’s not really good when it comes to being competitive. You want a balance of everything.”
Cicherillo says Walker deserved 2nd over Jacked
Bob Cicherillo gave his analysis of Walker’s placing ahead of Jacked.
“Nick’s a little top heavy, legs came down a little bit too much this past competition but his conditioning is stellar. He’s got a lot of muscle on his frame and it’s still a bodybuilding show at the end of the day.
“The judges now compare these two and say who’s got more checkmarks in the positive line as opposed to the negative line? Your answer in this case is Nick. He’s got great conditioning, symmetry ain’t that bad. Compare it to Jacked. Jacked from the side, a little bit slight, doesn’t have the leg thickness Nick does, not even close. Nick beats him from the back… Overall, Nick is the second-best bodybuilder there when all things are considered.”
Jay Cutler added to his initial thoughts on the 2023 Arnold Classic a few days ago. He believes the competition was so intense that anyone from the top four could have been crowned the winner. He defended the judges for picking Dauda over others.
RELATED: Bob Cicherillo Says Samson Dauda & Derek Lunsford Equal Threats to Hadi Choopan’s Title at 2023 Mr. Olympia
Bob Cicherillo once again provided a framework for the bodybuilding fan to better understand judging. His insight will likely educate many who follow his work in the sport.
You can watch the full video below.
Catch full coverage of the 2023 Arnold Classic, including pre-judging, event recaps, analysis, and final and full results at our Arnold Classic coverage hub: FitnessVolt.com/arnold-classic
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