by Christian Duque
James "Flex" Lewis, the 7x 212 Olympic Showdown Champion, accepted a special invitation to take part in the largest competition in bodybuilding. Since his last win in 2018, everyone has speculated whether The Welsh Dragon would actually reappear in the open category and go out of his way to win a Sandow. For years, writers and fans compared Lewis to 7x Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.
Structurally and aesthetically, a lot of Flex gave the floor. In terms of muscle density, many also favored Lewis. Unfortunately, we never saw the fight in Lewis Heath because, contrary to what some believe, the 212 Olympia Showdown is not the 212 Olympia.
There is a Mr. Olympia and a 212 Olympia showdown. It's not like the Pumping Iron days when the top title was split by weight category. While many believed Flex didn't need to qualify, it actually did, and the fact that a special invitation has been expanded is good for fans. I give my friend Dan Solomon my hat again for his innovative way of thinking and leading things. No question, this train bears his name.
With that said, this gesture will remove a significant amount of hype from whoever wins the Arnold Classic. That doesn't mean it won't be a great competition, but from a marketing standpoint, the matchup between Brandon Curry and Flex Lewis would be much more innovative than Brandon versus the Arnold winner. As close as Hady last September, Flex will get even closer. Can you imagine that Brandon and Flex are the last two men? This could not only be a huge Mr. Olympia 2020, but also a change of guard.
I also think this step is important because Flex has dominated the 212 and is ready for the next chapter of his career. It is also very noteworthy that one of his reasons for leaving was that he wanted to give other competitors a chance. This is a very posh gesture, even if some competitors feel that they chased it away. I must once again point out the absurdity in this line of thinking.
I also think that the year off the stage was a much needed charge for the 7x 212 champion and that's a point he also quoted. Sometimes a break is just the thing and at the age of 36 he is at the very beginning of his career. He can also count on the support of some great sponsors, which is crucial for the preparation. He has a fantastic facility in his Dragon’s Lair Gym, a great competition in his Flex Lewis Classic, and he’s even an established writer who publishes coveted eBooks. The fact that he wasn't on stage for a year didn't mean he slowed down. If anything, Lewis has been expanding his empire and bodybuilding sport all the time.
The timing for this announcement was also pretty brilliant. Just a month before the Arnold Classic 2020 (where 212 bodybuilding is no longer offered), a lot of the media will focus on Lewis, his training, appearances and social media.
I expect Nick Strength And Power, Muscular Development, Rx Muscle, Generation Iron and Muscle Insider, to name a few, to publish stories all day long. Anticipation will skyrocket, especially when the media tries to create a rivalry / drama that simply doesn't exist.
Brandon Curry is an absolute gentleman. Flex Lewis is an absolute gentleman. These guys will let their bodies do the talking and their showdown will cause a lot of attention, sell a shipload of tickets and bring many new fans to the sport. Apart from that, we also live in a kind of clickbait world where certain media like to start drama in the hope of attracting traffic. I think these outlets need to rethink their approach because the sport is really great and today's champions just aren't good for this kind of silliness.
I'm already looking forward to the message boards when people start playing the photo and video game, claiming why their guy is the best, and debating day and night from here to September. This is great for sports!
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