Even “The Mutant” is human.
Unfortunately for Nick Walker, his Olympia journey has already come to an end due to a hamstring tear he suffered while training for the most important bodybuilding show of the year. Despite his best efforts, the third-place finisher at the 2022 Mr. Olympia could not overcome an injury that occurred at the worst possible time.
With the 2023 Olympia weekend about to get underway in Orlando, FL, from Nov. 2-5, Walker announced his decision to bow out of the contest via an Instagram post on Oct. 31, 2023.
Although he looked stage-ready on the surface, the 2021 Arnold Classic winner revealed his hamstring remains a major issue.
“I tried to push through it. I tried to do whatever I could and get whatever treatment I could, but it just gradually got worse,” Walker explained. “It did not progress in any way, shape, or form. Me and my team thought it was best that we just pulled out because we knew there was just no shot of us placing top-three at this point, or higher. And we do not want to drop placing.”
Of course, recent changes to the Olympia Qualifying System stipulate that only the top three finishers in the 2023 Mr. Olympia automatically secure a spot in the 2024 contest. Even though Walker finished behind only Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford in the Men’s Open division a year ago, he surely would have faced an uphill battle to fend off the likes of 2023 Arnold Classic champion Samson Dauda and 2019 Mr. Olympia winner Brandon Curry for third place on one fully healthy leg.
After delivering the news to promoters and officials, the 2021 Arnold Classic winner said he received nothing but support from IFBB Pro League president Jim Manion and Olympia owner Jake Wood.
“They asked me if I ever needed anything and that just makes me proud to be part of this organization,” Walker said.
Moving forward, there are major ramifications for everyone involved. Walker faces a tough task to recover from a torn hamstring and remind everyone why he was considered one of the top contenders to take home the Mr. Olympia crown in 2023. Meanwhile, his absence opens the door even wider for someone like Dauda, Curry, or even Hunter Labrada, who took home the 2023 Tampa Pro Men’s Open title in August, to punch their ticket to next year’s show with a top-three finish.
After all, with Walker, two-time Mr. Olympia champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, 2022 Bigman Weekend Pro winner Brett “The Butcher” Wilkin, and 2023 Toronto Pro Supershow winner Ian Valliere all withdrawing for various reasons, the stage won’t be quite so crowded (or competitive) with a few big names missing.
Although it would be easy for Walker to view his setback negatively, he showed impressive resolve and inner strength when speaking about what’s next.
“If I learned anything from this is that anything can happen at any given second,” he explained. “But it’s how you handle it; it’s what you do that defines who you are and the character you will become.”
Featured Image: nick_walker39 / Instagram