Nick Walker entered the 2022 Mr. Olympia with legitimate aspirations of capturing bodybuilding’s most illustrious title. A top-five finisher in his debut in 2021, many presumed Walker would improve upon that result and push former two-time reigning champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay for the crown. As it turns out, Elssbiay would fall short of defending his title, but to Hadi Choopan instead. Walker would technically build upon his debut Olympia by finishing in third, but it still wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
On Jan. 1, 2023, Walker appeared in a YouTube podcast episode of The Mutant & The Mouth. The discussion saw him reflect on his 2022 Olympia performance and look ahead to potentially completing his ascent to the top of bodybuilding’s highest peak in 2023. (Note: There is NSFW language in the video.)
Walker doesn’t mince his words about his performance. In a frank assessment, the athlete admits he was pleased with his third-place result but thinks he probably should’ve and could’ve finished even higher in an ideal set-up. At the same time, he acknowledged that he, Derek Lunsford (second place), and Choopan might be duking it out at the top of the current Olympia pantheon for a little while. That is unless rising stars like Samson Dauda (sixth place) and Andrew Jacked (eighth place) break up the party.
“I’m very happy I took third [place],” Walker explained. “But I think, as an overall package, I think I could have been second. Derek [Lunsford], Hadi [Choopan], and I will probably be battling this out for years unless Samson [Dauda] comes out of the woodwork or if Andrew [Jacked] nails it one time. I do believe us three will be there for quite some time.”
It’s the latter two competitors in Dauda and Jacked that Walker seemed surprised by. The pair made enough of an impression on Walker for him to believe they could make some real noise with the proper refinements over the next approximate year.
“I arguably could have probably had Samson [Dauda] beating Ramy [Elssbiay] to be honest,” Walker said. “Samson’s a freak. I’m definitely excited to see what he can do at the Arnold [the Arnold Classic in March 2023], and what he can do at next year’s Olympia [in November 2023]. My personal opinion of Samson is I think he should sit out the Arnold and focus on making more improvements for the Olympia. He could cause a lot of havoc. His only downfall was he wasn’t conditioned enough. … Andrew [Jacked] made us look like amateurs. When this man was just chilling in his little Speedo, just relaxing, you’re just like, ‘What the [expletive] is that?’ He is one of the nicest guys.”
Walker himself will not be participating in the 2023 Arnold Classic. Much like the year 2022, he will center his efforts on training for the Olympia to optimize his best hopeful possible results.
Like many of his peers, the year 2023 will be pivotal for Walker. Already a household name in the bodybuilding sphere, all that’s left for him to accomplish is capturing his first career Olympia title. The next edition of the contest will take place sometime in November 2023 in Orlando, FL. Given some of the names he was impressed by, that task likely won’t come easily. As Walker assuredly understands, winning the sport’s most prestigious prize rarely comes without a few challenges.
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram