For some, Nick Walker was the presumed heavy favorite to win the 2023 Arnold Classic (AC). In Mr. Olympia legend Jay Cutler’s eyes, Walker was supposed to finish on top (keyword: supposed). Instead, Walker would take a home runner-up result to champion Samson Dauda and be left looking ahead to what’s next in the 2023 competitive calendar. As one bodybuilding icon would explain, Walker’s finish was earned.
On Mar. 10, 2023, Mr. Olympia commentator and former International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League competitor Bob Cicherillo, posted a YouTube video to his Voice of Bodybuilding channel explaining how to judge a bodybuilding contest properly. Within his rationale, he offered specific clarity on why Walker ultimately fell short of a second AC title in three years.
While some have seriously considered the merits of Dauda as a legitimate force in the sport, Cicherillo didn’t have such qualms. He made it readily apparent that Dauda had the best and most balanced physique over the rest of the field. That includes Walker and the “deserved” third-place finisher in Andrew Jacked.
Dauda was simply the most well-rounded of his peers.
“Why did Samson [Dauda] win the Arnold over Nick [Walker], [Andrew] Jacked, and everyone else?” Cicherillo asked rhetorically. “Because he had the best of all worlds: shape, symmetry, proportion, size, conditioning, and presentation. He had it all. Was he the best in every one of them? No, but you can’t make the case for someone else overall … I keep getting a lot of responses, ‘Yeah, but Nick [Walker] won this pose, this pose, and this pose.’ It doesn’t work like that, folks … He loses to Samson, outright, when it comes to shape, symmetry, and proportion. … Overall, Samson had a better physique and that’s why he ended up in the winner’s circle.”
As for Walker’s individualized disappointment, Cicherillo seemed to speak to the athlete directly. The commentator made it clear he believed Walker appeared in tip-top shape. However, he had lost some of the mojo that once made him one of bodybuilding’s fastest rising stars.
“Nick Walker was tremendous,” Cicherillo said. “If he looked like he did at the  Olympia, he probably would have won. But he lost a bit of the ‘freak factor,’ bringing it down a little bit. That was probably a mistake on his part. You’re not going to streamline a physique that can’t be streamlined. Nick, go back to being a ‘freak.’
It might be a little strange to hear that a bodybuilder’s ripped physique was too “streamlined” or too lean, so to speak. Though, with Walker taking home third-place and runner-up results at the 2022 Mr. Olympia and 2023 AC, respectively, it might be a critique he should consider. With enough refinement, perhaps the athlete known as “The Mutant” could find himself on top of a podium again in the coming months.
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram