Decorated bodybuilding legend Flex Wheeler recently offered his predictions for the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic. In an Olympia TV interview, Wheeler backed Nick Walker to win with Samson Dauda and Andrew Jacked taking second and third place, respectively.
The road to the annual 35th Arnold Classic has been full of sharp turns. Shortly after the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest ended, all eyes shifted to Columbus, Ohio. While the competitors list initially featured zero top five Olympians, that changed after the Arnold Sports promoters increased the Open class prize money to $300,000.
The extra cash enticed a number of competitors to jump in on short notice. The first athlete to announce his surprise entry was Nick Walker, who earned third place at the recent Olympia contest. Days later, Patrick Moore and Andrew Jacked joined the roster. Though, perhaps the biggest shock was Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay making a last-minute splash in hopes of redeeming his latest Olympia showing.
Bodybuilding veterans have taken a closer look at the roster heading into this weekend. Former two-time AC winner, Kevin Levrone, recently joined Dave Palumbo for an RxMuscle interview. He said he doesn’t think Ramy has ‘the balls’ to get shredded for a bodybuilding contest like the Arnold Classic. Now, Flex Wheeler is offering his predictions for the upcoming show.
Flex Wheeler’s Top 3 Finishers at the 2023 Arnold Classic
Check out Wheeler’s top picks below.
Nick Walker — Winner
Samson Dauda — Second Place
Andrew Jacked — Third Place
Even though Wheeler favored Walker’s chances in Ohio, he refused to count out the reigning two-time 212 Olympia Shaun Clarida. He stressed that Clarida will ‘upset a lot of people’ this weekend.
“So, it’s not agreeing with Bob, it’s just that it’s right. So, if you would have let any of the others go first, it would have been the same thing, but what I will say, I will say the Giant Killer is going to upset some people. I think he’s going to give a battle for the top three. I think he’s going to upset some people. He’s almost like Mr. Consistent, like Nick. That’s going to be a beautiful trade-off.
The other reason why I’m agreeing is, you know, it’s like Janet Jackson said and Ronnie Coleman would always, ‘what have you done lately?’ We can’t do this all the time, this what if. Because what if anything. What if the Giant Killer grew seven inches and put on muscle. You can’t what if all the time right,” says Wheeler.
Before outright picking ‘The Mutant’ to win, Wheeler highlighted his determination and mentioned this show should not be judged based on height.
“Nick is just – I’ve seen him in the gym, his determination. I think he still doesn’t feel that he’s got the respect that he deserves. Even crushing people and coming in third place at the Olympia this year. I think it’s his to lose. But I will say, the Giant Killer is going to upset some people. I don’t think he’s going to be off. I think he’s going to be crisp and clean and that’s just going to be a sight to see.”
“It really shouldn’t be judged on height, right. Even though, it does take – as I would always say, it takes longer to build a two-story house versus a one-story. But when that two-story house is built, it’s beautiful right. That’s what I think. The Giant Killer is going to upset some people. I don’t think he’s going to be off. I think he’s going to surprise the hell out of a lot of people, and I think that might be his segway into the Open class.”
Given his activity levels as of late, Walker opened up about his preparations during prep week. According to the 28-year-old, his 2023 AC prep has been the most difficult of his career. He mentioned there were times he thought about giving up, but he continued pushing on.
Wheeler believes this is Nick Walker’s ‘show to lose,’ and will be in attendance. In addition to bodybuilding contests, ‘The Sultan of Symmetry’ will be honored with the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award this weekend.