by Christian Duque
2020 North American Champion Nick “The Mutant” Walker has been ruffling his feathers since receiving his IFBB Pro League Pro card. As he prepares for his Arnold and Olympic debuts, at just 27 he speaks like a man with razor-sharp focus. He knows he is good and so far no one who opposed him has been able to support the talk. Who can forget their rivalry with Redcon’s Blessing Awodibu.
It went viral, it was a feeding frenzy for all media and the fans couldn’t get enough. As the conversation got hot, so did production value. While it was never more than a few loud rookies on a collision course, the fanfare was explosive. When the dust settled, Walker buried Awodibu, and Nick also took the higher road and offered his best opponent an olive branch. It later appeared that the 2x Arnold champion William “The Conqueror” Bonac would be his closest rival, but luckily that was just a simple misunderstanding. Walker played that right too.
He later made headlines with the nasty news leak that rumored Sergio Oliva Jr. was withdrawn from Chicago. All in all, Nick has been very visible and very open when it comes to the social scene, the competitive stage, and now the two biggest shows in bodybuilding.
The mutant has won some big shows, but none of what it will see in Columbus or Orlando. While a typical NY Pro would get very close, if not parallel, to the depth of an Arnold Classic’s lineup, the 2021 wasn’t. That being said, he’s a NY Pro Champion, he’s sponsored by his trainer’s company, and has considerable media fanfare and media support collected. There is a lot at stake and how he does at the Olympics will have a huge impact on his future. I totally agree with Trigili. There is no way Walker will 1) go to his first Olympia without worry in the world, and 2) win the Olympia on his very first attempt.
Any bodybuilder who competes in anything from local level 1 shows to regional shows to national pro qualifiers, they all want to go pro. Once a professional, the next goal is to qualify for the Olympics and to be on this stage.
Confidence in bodybuilding is just as important as hard work. You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t, you will have lost before you even started preparing. I say this as someone who has been into the media side of sport for more than a decade. I’ve seen guys with amazing physiques and fantastic posing skills who just lack the boldness necessary to win. Check out Jay Cutler at the 2001 Mr. Olympia. Jay had Ronnie hit on physique and poses, but he simply lacked the confidence to take the stage like the winner. Maybe it’s because Coleman impressed him, maybe the rush to be in the top 2 caught him, but whatever the case, it was losing his Olympia. Nick Walker, on the other hand, sounds like he’s got a fire under him; he seems hungry as a wolf, but maybe it’s just talk.
Nick Trigili is right. When you say brave things – look at the camera as you say it. Don’t be brave – go all out. Look at the camera, speak, and don’t apologize for your confidence. People who are humble can pat more on the back, but handicappers won’t pick them for the top 5, top 3, or much less to win. Humility is a great thing – once you’ve won – but when you’re a contender, you don’t back off or temper it for anyone. It means win, win, win, around the clock.
Can Nick Walker win the Olympics? Well, there is a lot to be said about that. There are many variables, and one of the biggest is that the sport is changing. We have several Mr. Olympias who are either actively competing – or – could be back on stage.
2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden most likely won’t be in the Olympics, but he could in 2022. I’m collecting a few more Sandows. 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry has made big leaps in his physique, from his improvements for the 2020 Olympics to the great job he did in 2021 getting his legs up. Big Ramy, who did it in 2020, will be under pressure to replicate and improve this look and condition in his first title defense. Other celebrities like two-time Arnold Classic Champion William “The Conqueror” Bonac and 2018 Olympic People’s Champion Roelly “The Beast” Winklaar will also compete for the greatest bodybuilding title. And of course there is always the possibility that 7x 212 Mr. Olympia James “Flex” Lewis throws his hat into the ring. On top of that, there are silent threats that might crop up too, guys like Lionel Beyeke, Nathan DeAsha, and the always-formidable Hunter Labrada. There are Iain Valliere, Antoine Valliant and Steve Kuclo. I could sit here all day and rattle off big names. If you are Mr. Olympia, you must defeat all of these big names – or at least be ready to fight and defeat them. I just don’t know that Walker, 27, could easily beat any of these guys. With all due respect, it is one thing to beat a fellow rookie at a big show, but quite another to take to the stage and win the most important competition in the sport.
While I applaud Walker’s ambition, I agree with Trigili. RAW stands behind Walker for what he can do for the company. The more he places well and wins, the better; However, if the 2021 Olympics is a complete bust for Walker, what will that do to his sponsors in terms of his contract, bonuses, and even his future? If I were I would be ambitious and brave, I would predict a top 6 finish, which is pretty brave, but to say he will win seems utter madness to me.
What do you think? Can 27-year-old Nick Walker win the 2021 Mr. Olympia? Can The Mutant make history and win the greatest bodybuilding competition on its first try? Nick Trigili says no, I agree, but you?
Even though I like Nick, I don’t even know if I’m comfortable getting him into the top six. Maybe my mind will change, but so far out there to say he’d be in this group if all of the guys I mentioned getting 100% in would be a fanboy move.