Thanks to his sculpted back and overall presentation, Derek Lunsford walked away as the new Mr. Olympia just over three weeks ago. With time to reflect on the event, Lunsford took to an Olympia TV interview on YouTube to assess how Nick Walker would have fared on the sport’s greatest stage had he competed.
It’s been an eventful few weeks for Lunsford as he comes down from his historic victory. As a former 212 Olympia, Lunsford’s mission to become the number one bodybuilder in the world started courtesy of a special invite, which led him to a second-place finish at 2022 Olympia against Hadi Choopan in his Open debut. After their rematch, Lunsford became the sport’s first-ever two-division Mr. Olympia.
When the awards ceremony took place Choopan posed for one picture before removing his silver medal. He exited the stage despite Bob Cicherillo’s calls to return. Some in the sport, such as King Kamali (Shahriar Kamali), mentioned that Joe Weider was upset by Choopan’s actions, hinting at a potential punishment or suspension. Clearing the air, Lunsford clarified that he and his teammate Choopan harbor no ill will toward each other.
Meanwhile, Nick Walker ultimately was sidelined from the big competition after suffering injuries. Given that he was one of the leading favorites to win the event, Lunsford measured the impact ‘The Mutant’ could have made at 2023 Olympia.
Derek Lunsford Discusses Where Nick Walker Would Have Placed at 2023 Mr. Olympia
After Bob Cicherillo pressed Lunsford about Walker’s potential placing, the reigning Mr. Olympia opened up:
“Nick was pretty adamant he thought if he was in the show or able to compete in the show I should say, he thought at his best he actually would have won and beaten you. We all got our own opinions,” said Bob Cicherillo.
“Bob, you’re trying to get me in trouble. I see Terrick’s face over here,” said Derek Lunsford. “Hey man, who knows, right? I mean, I definitely think he was bringing it, don’t get me wrong.
While Lunsford figured Nick Walker would be “much improved from the Arnold,” he still thought he would have placed third following a battle with Samson Dauda.
“I think he was definitely bringing it to the Olympia this year. I think he would have been much improved from the Arnold.
If it was me, I think it would have been a really good battle between him and Samson. I think honestly, he probably could have slipped into that third-place spot,” said Lunsford.
After the massive setback, Nick Walker has been open about his future and next move in the sport. In an interview with Ron Harris, Walker mentioned that he “deserved” a special invite to 2024 Mr. Olympia given the circumstances that prevented him from performing on stage.
If Walker doesn’t receive a special invite, his qualification would hinge on winning a Pro show to guarantee his entry for next year’s Olympia. He also confirmed that he won’t compete at the 2024 Arnold Classic.
With the title changing hands in the last two years, there’s no telling how the 2024 Mr. Olympia will unfold; one thing is certain — it’s going to be a drastically different show with Nick Walker in the lineup.
Watch the full video from the Olympia TV YouTube channel below:
Featured Images via Instagram @dereklunsford_ @nick_walker39 and Olympia TV/YouTube