Shaun Clarida has some ambitious plans for this year’s bodybuilding season. In a recent Instagram post, Clarida confirmed he will compete as an Open competitor at this year’s Olympia should he claim victory at the 2023 Arnold Classic, scheduled for March 2-5 in Columbus, Ohio.
“Yeah, let’s go. Listen, man, I’m excited. If things go well, I feel like I’m transferring over. I think it’s time,” says Shaun Clarida.
In 2020, Clarida won the 212 Olympia title after defeating the defending champion Kamal Elgargni. While he intended to hold on to the honor, Clarida was unable to stop the conditioning and fullness of Derek Lunsford at the 2021 Olympia. Despite losing his title, Clarida made the most of his rebound period and won the Legion Sports Fest Pro. This victory earned him the nickname ‘Giant Killer’ after overwhelming Canada’s Regan Grimes and Sergio Oliva Jr.
Clarida’s hope for a rematch with Lunsford was put on hold last September. Before the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, Lunsford received a special invitation to compete in the Open class, an honor that was being held for former seven-time 212 king Flex Lewis. And while Lunsford found success in his Open class debut, it wasn’t enough to stop Hadi Choopan from being crowned the new champion.
Last December, Clarida reinstated himself as the 212 Olympia winner, and in the process, became a two-time titleholder. Instead of taking an off-season, Clarida decided to jump into the nearing Arnold Classic with his teammate Nick Walker. Heading into the event, many veterans of the sport such as Dennis James labeled Clarida a dangerous threat.
Shaun Clarida Plans to Compete in Open at Olympia If He Wins 2023 Arnold Classic: “Timing Is Everything”
In an Instagram post shared by Muscle and Fitness’ Frank Sepe, Clarida confirmed he will test the waters as an Open competitor at 2023 Olympia if he wins the Arnold Classic next month.
“You’ll probably be the first to hear this right, absolutely. At this point, if I can beat number three in the world, number six in the world, number nine in the world – that just tells me I belong on that stage. I’ve always said timing is everything. Obviously, I qualified for the Open Olympia this past year.
Again, I knew I could have gone there, but I just wasn’t ready for it and at the same time I wanted to get another 212 title under my belt to make it two. But if things go well at this year’s Arnold and I somehow pull off the win there, I think fans will see me on the Open Olympia stage. I think they [fans] want to see it,” Shaun Clarida said.
The upcoming competition will serve as Shaun Clarida’s first-ever Arnold Classic. He hasn’t been shy about discussing some of his potential opponents, even his teammate Nick Walker. In spite of their friendship, Shaun said he’s there to beat anyone, including ‘The Mutant.’
Clarida also addressed the impending showdown with Nigeria’s Samson Dauda, who finished sixth at 2022 Olympia a few months ago. Looking at the match-up, Clarida is confident he’ll overwhelm Samson even if he has to out-pose him.
As the highest-ranked Olympian on the Arnold roster, Walker is the on-paper favorite of the event. He opened up on a battle with Clarida as well. The 28-year-old didn’t mince words: he believes Shaun is underestimated and predicted he will finish runner-up. In addition, Clarida will have to deal with Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay, William Bonac, Andrew Jacked, Patrick Moore, Justin Rodriguez, Kamal Elgargni, and Akim Williams.
Clarida hopes to cement himself as an Open Olympia title contender throughout this year. In less than three weeks, ‘The Giant Killer’ plans to accomplish this goal by out-conditioning a handful of mass monsters on the 2023 Arnold Classic stage.