From the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, various famous figures in and around bodybuilding have their candid thoughts about the state of the sport. There’s the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger expressing his fandom for reigning four-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead while noting that the division is the main event of the Olympia weekend. There was the 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout who lamented that the Olympia qualification was not strict enough and allowed too many competitors. Today, Iain Valliere, an active bodybuilder, shares some recent strong thoughts on a prominent modern competitive category.
On February 2, 2023, Valliere appeared on a podcast episode with Fouad Abiad Media, which discusses some of the latest relevant topics in bodybuilding such as the 2023 Arnold Classic. Among the more notable revelations is the 2022 Vancouver Pro champion believed that the 212 division should no longer be a viable professional division.
While the standards for training and quality nutrition continue to grow, Valliere admits he couldn’t find room for 212 bodybuilders in the long run. He maintained that recent successful examples of 212 competitors such as Derek Lunsford and Shaun Clarida, who transitioned and competed well in the Men’s Open, show that 212 is no longer needed.
Because of this, the athlete said that the existence of the division is poor and that it should be absorbed by the Men’s Open.
“If a 175 or 180-pound Shaun [Clarida] came and beat the 290-pound, 6-feet guys, you never did [expletive] case for saving 212 [division]honestly.” Valliere said. “Because I still think men are real [expletive] driven to be the best, to stay a few years to get [expletive] if they believe in their heart. Like Derek’s (Lunsford]in the world, I hope that stays [expletive] out and be in the Men’s Open and would have finished where they are.”
After receiving pushback and counterarguments from his fellow podcasters, including retired 212 bodybuilder Guy Cisternio and retired Men’s Open competitor Fouad Abiad, Valliere made a reasonable analogy between basketball and bodybuilding, pointing out how the cream usually rises to the top without shelter.
“That’s like saying guys who are, like, 5-foot-10 shouldn’t be able to play basketball and that we should make a shorter net for guys who are shorter. It’s crazy.” Valliere explained. “With 212, I think a lot of guys can end up with [Men’s] Open like before, and you’ll be fine.”
Ultimately, for Valliere, the removal of the 212 division is about the most talented athletes winning and allowing them to compete in the most elite conditions.
“No matter how hard I train, I’m not as big as Ramy [Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay] or as fast as Usain Bolt,” said Valliere. “Other guys aren’t as good as Derek [Lunsford]other men are not as tall as Yao Ming, this is the only one [expletive] reality. People are not created equal and just because they are not, it doesn’t mean we have to fill the gap.
Valliere may be entitled to his strong opinion on the future of the 212, but, at the time of writing, the competition’s organizers don’t seem to have any meaningful plans to fall back on his idea. .
As for Valliere’s individual achievements, the Men’s Open bodybuilder from the 11th place finish of the 2022 Mr. Olympia. According to NPC News Online, the result was the second-lowest of his career, with a 14th-place finish in the 2018 iteration standing as his worst. To date, the best output of Mr. Valliere’s Olympia is consecutive seventh place in 2020 and 2021.
With the 2023 competition still in its early stages, if he qualifies for the competition, he will undoubtedly look for a rebound in the 2023 edition, November 3-5 in Orlando, FL.
Featured image: @iainvalliere on Instagram
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