Bodybuilder Shaun Clarida made a splash in the Men’s Open division at the 2023 Arnold Classic earlier this month. In a recent appearance on The Truth podcast with prolific guru Hany Rambod, Clarida shared his breakdown of the competition and ambitions for the future, which includes breaking Flex Lewis’ record of seven 212 Olympia titles.
IFBB Pro League 212 competitor Shaun Clarida rose to prominence for his insane muscle detail, symmetry, and overall proportions in 2015. He earned an invite to the Mr. Olympia competition after winning the Vancouver Pro and has been a mainstay of the show ever since.
Clarida missed out on the victory to champion Kamal Elgargni at the 2019 Mr. Olympia. He placed third behind runner-up Derek Lunsford. Clarida worked hard in the off-season to enhance his package and came back stronger than ever to dethrone Elgargni and score his maiden Sandow trophy at the 2020 Mr. Olympia. Lunsford pulled off an insane comeback the following year and took home the top prize at the 2021 Mr. Olympia.
’The Giant Killer’ reclaimed the 212 title at the 2022 Mr. Olympia last December. Following the result, Clarida signed up for the 2023 Arnold Classic to test his chances in the Men’s Open division, which is known to host some of the freakiest mass monsters in the world.
Retired bodybuilder Dennis James was confident Clarida could pose a serious challenge at the event and backed him to defeat others with a higher conditioning level. Clarida acknowledged his disadvantage in size but believed he would be able to out-pose his rivals.
A few days later, he shared a brutal back workout he utilized in prep for the contest. Clarida left the fans stunned with a shredded physique update showing off his vascular upper body four weeks out from the event. He made it clear he was focused on scoring gold and teased a move to the Open Olympia on the condition he managed to win.
Ultimately, Samson Dauda emerged as the winner of the 2023 Arnold Classic. Clarida placed fifth and received major praise for holding his own against the likes of former two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay despite the massive size difference.
Shaun Clarida breaks down the 2023 Arnold Classic
In a recent YouTube video, Shaun Clarida shared his analysis of the competition at the 2023 Arnold Classic. He agreed with Dauda’s win and discussed the top three finishers.
“Looking back now in photos Samson definitely won,” said Clarida. “He’s got the size, shape, symmetry, and just put together very well. I could’ve seen either or with Nick and Andrew or so. Andrew is very similar to Samson as far as shape, structure, things like that but Nick also just has that freak wow factor.”
Clarida says Walker should focus on the freaky look he’s known for. He theorized Walker may have tried to play the game of his rivals by coming in too ‘streamlined.’
“I think the reason with Nick not winning the show. If he came in the way he did at the Olympia it would have been game over for everyone. Coming down a little bit trying to be more streamlined maybe didn’t work for him. I definitely think that hurt him a little bit. But again, that top three could’ve filp-flopped either way.”
“I think with him knowing that Samson and Andrew both streamlined structured guys, in Nick’s mind, he’s probably thinking he got to play that game a little bit. He looked good obviously. But I think that freak Nick that we have all seen before placing third at the Olympia was the look they were expecting and hoping for. That look for sure would have won the show.”
He gained confidence from competing against Big Ramy and believes he could’ve placed ahead of the Egyptian standout if he competed in the Open at last year’s Olympia.
“I honestly felt I could have beaten him. I believe I was tighter in certain areas. He’s got the size. That’s not a question. But when it comes to separation, shape, structure, I thought I was going to beat him.
“I think I would have won [against Ramy at the Olympia].”
Clarida will stay in 212 to break Flex Lewis’ record
Shaun Clarida revealed he’ll stay in the 212 division and plans to break the record of Flex Lewis, who stands as the winningest 212 Olympia athlete with seven titles under his belt.
“I’m staying in 212 for sure. The goal is to win multiple titles here. Of course, I like to dabble in a few smaller Open shows maybe another Arnold Classic but just by me doing the Arnold Classic and doing well is not enough for me to just leave the 212. I’m realistic.
“If I couldn’t win the Arnold, then what’s the point of me moving on from there? If I had won maybe it would be a different conversation.”
“212 is my home, it’s in my heart, and I want to walk away as one of the best to ever do it.”
“I love Flex Lewis to death but the goal is to beat his record absolutely.”
Being a two-time champion, Shaun Clarida will need to win another five to match Lewis’ record and six to overtake him as the greatest 212 Olympia champion of all time.
RELATED: Iain Valliere Breaks Down 2023 Arnold Classic, Says 212 ‘Has No Case’ For Sticking Around
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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