Shaun Clarida had a fascinating conundrum heading into the 2022 Mr. Olympia. By winning the 212 Olympia title in 2020, the athlete has a permanent berth to compete in that respective division at the prestigious event every year should he so choose. However, with a Men’s Open win at the 2021 Legion Sports Fest, he could’ve theoretically made the shift to compete in the Open next month. He has now officially put all questions to rest about where he’ll feature on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
On Nov. 16, 2022, Clarida revealed he would stay in the 212 division at the 2022 Mr. Olympia in a video on his YouTube channel.
According to Clarida, the main reason he will return to the 212 division is that he wants to earn a second 212 Olympia title. The athlete maintained that his loss to Derek Lunsford in 2021 (who has since, ironically, transitioned to the Men’s Open division) afforded him the appropriate “motivation” to return and potentially re-earn his place at the top of the 212 mountain.
As he would further outline in a Nov. 16, 2022, Instagram post, Clarida wrote he “would have loved to battle it out with the big boys in the Open” but that he has “unfinished business” in the 212 division first.
With Lunsford officially out of the 212 competitive category in 2022, a friendly rival Clarida may have to overcome instead is Kamal Elgargni. The 50-year-old Elgargni is another former 212 champion (2019) and, per NPC News Online, has never finished outside of the top three in the division at the Olympia. He will likewise be trying to reclaim his former 212 glory in December.
That said, with a showcase of some high-level arm workouts and other training sessions from his off-season, along with a polished physique update where the 5’2″ bodybuilder showed off his heaviest-ever bodyweight of 211 pounds in Summer 2022, Clarida is still one of the clear 212 favorites. As a star and expected top finisher, he now just has to live up to those high expectations.
All around, the 2022 Mr. Olympia is shaping up to be a doozy of a contest across various divisions. While Clarida will face a tall order to finish his journey back up to the 212 summit, he can rest assured he likely won’t be the only bodybuilding star battling through a gauntlet of talented peers. Perhaps bowling through a gifted field will make finally completing the “unfinished business” even more gratifying for him.
Featured image: shaunclarida on Instagram