by Christian Duque
IFBB pro Nick Walker may be young and maybe a new pro, but don’t let any of these factors influence your opinion of him. In no time at all, we’ve seen the North American champion show the world how to become a consummate professional. At first, like most stars, Nick found himself embroiled in a major feud. Whenever someone in the fitness industry is hot there are elements of the media looking for different ways to create content on or around them. Some call it breakthrough journalism, but in reality it’s nothing but smoke.
If you think about it, bodybuilding is an exciting sport in terms of the science of nutrition, supplementation, and exercise. There is also the artistic value of posing and the ambassadorial qualities that come with the territory. Beyond that, there really isn’t much that is credible and newsworthy; However, some mediums feel the need to cause trouble where there is none. Many supplement companies also enjoy engaging in this type of willful pettiness. I hate to say it, but there are some athletes who will go for it.
What I mean is, when you have a rising star, a nice person who is liked by most, the temptation to meet first blood is great. In the case of Nick Walker, another professional, Blessing Awodibu, started shooting. With that, certain media ran to the drama for all the news they could pull from it. It would have been enough to post an article or a video, but these points of sale took months !! I’m sure nutritional supplements were also involved in capitalizing on the beef. In the end, all that talk and all that bad blood stayed away. Nick’s title was never in question, at least not by Blessing, but it’s what Nick did with his win that really surprised me as a journalist – and should amaze you as a fan.
When I say Nick Walker had great victories, I mean victories on – and off – the stage !! As I discussed in last week’s article about Nathan Epler, Nick Walker’s win at the NY Pro is just as big. Both are newbies. The NY Pro was Epler’s second pro show, and possibly Walker’s second. If it wasn’t his second, maybe his third. The point is, rookies don’t just win the third biggest title in bodybuilding.
At this point, Nick could easily end the contest season and focus entirely on resting, regrouping, and focusing on the 2021 Mr. Olympia in Orlando, FL. With the Arnold Classic now set in stone, with an actual date and back in Columbus, OH, there is a chance he can race again, but the money wise is with him to prepare for the O. Either way, no matter what competition he enters, he goes into the game as the NY Pro Champion, and while the hype doesn’t win bodybuilding competitions, it certainly makes a lot of buzz. This craze leads to ticket sales for promoters, product sales for sponsors, content for the media, and no doubt some kind of intimidation factor towards the competition. Athletes may not care – on paper or in interviews – but when you compete against a NY Pro, Arnold, or Olympic champion, it increases the stakes. I don’t know how much courage or how tough a competitor’s gameface can be – they care, they definitely care. Hence, Nick’s win at the NY Pro is a big win that he deserves and it was well deserved.
Another big win is what Walker did once he won. He could easily have used the opportunity to humiliate Blessing. He could have kept the title above his head, he could have made fun of his camp (his coach, sponsor and everyone who supported his game). If Nick had been a really venomous person and really wanted to capitalize on the negativity, he could have attacked Kai Greene or other big fish that showed Blessing support. Again, Kai didn’t do anything wrong, and you can’t blame people / companies for supporting someone they care about, but if Nick had wanted and he wasn’t the good person he is, he would have the fight can easily expand. made many other enemies and put certain media into a virtual feeding frenzy.
What Nick did, however, was use the hype his victory brought him to lengthen an olive branch, praising Blessing’s physique and even saying that Blessing would become a great bodybuilder in time. He didn’t say a good bodybuilder – he said a great bodybuilder. Also, he pointed out that he and Blessing weren’t too far apart, and he took the opportunity to suggest that they exercise together and / or create some content – some POSITIVE content. This is such a big league and it really shows what a great sport Nick Walker is.
When we think about being a good sport, we often think about how someone would act when they are defeated; However, it’s also nice to talk about how someone would act in victory. To be honest, I don’t know if Blessing would have been so gracious and / or so humble if he had won, but it doesn’t matter. I think Blessing is a good guy, but I think he probably feels badly overlooked. It’s both his fault and that of the industry. Whether he created his quirky off-stage personality or simply evolved over time, he rose to the top as an entertainer through marketing room decisions. He was bullied everywhere he went, but his fanfare was about his theatricality and acting, not his physique or his competitive record. When it comes to his feud with Walker, Blessing had everything to gain and nothing to lose. That being said, he wasn’t in Nick’s league (yet) and real journalists and seasoned bodybuilding fans were quick to point it out. I think Blessing wanted to be seen as a real contender for the title, and if he wasn’t, that may have fueled the fire even further. Maybe Awodibu needed the feud with Walker to keep his head in the game, maybe the overlook gave him the inspiration to prove everyone wrong, but the fact is that Nick Walker disarmed Blessing, as well as all of the iron paparazzi Swill dealers, by being gracious and humble, and that too is a great victory.
There was a time in bodybuilding when champions were assholes. They were pompous and loud; they beat critics, blocked people and bullied their competitors, essentially through their successes on stage, with big contracts and their various media appearances. Today we have a Mr. Olympia hugging his predecessor as he won, we can still remember William Bonac calling on his fans to accept Brandon Curry as the 2019 Arnold Classic winner and we saw amazing athleticism in the likes of Nathan Epler, who is a wafer-thin second after Tonio Burton, but who were among the first to celebrate the champion’s victory and show their support. The way Nick Blessing approached after the show should be an example to all of us of how to be great men and women.
What do you think of Nick Walker and his future in bodybuilding? I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments.