Shaun Clarida goals to interrupt Flex Lewis’ report of 212 Olympic titles

Clarida will stay at 212 as he begins the climb of one of bodybuilding’s tallest mountains.

Reigning 212-time Olympic champion Shaun Clarida usually wears his heart on his oversized sleeve. The athlete hasn’t been shy about sharing his bodybuilding aspirations, and his next mission may be the superstar’s loftiest yet.

On March 23, 2023, Clarida appeared on an episode of The Truth podcast with respected bodybuilding coach Hany Rambod. When the couple discussed the future plans of the two-time 212 Olympic gold medalist (2020, 2022), Clarida didn’t mince words: he aims to break James “Flex” Lewis’ 212 Olympic record of seven titles (2012-2018). In pursuit of that sacred ambition, the athlete will remain primarily with the 212 Division for the foreseeable future.

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Clarida’s long-term ambitions at 212 might come as a bit of a surprise considering he last featured at the 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) in the Men’s Open division. Although the athlete was significantly shorter than his bulkier peers, the bodybuilder placed fifth in the competition.

In an approach that seems both realistic and training-efficient, Clarida didn’t necessarily rule out similar black light performances at the men’s Open. Otherwise, however, he will continue to focus on the 212 Division as that is where he has shone the most in his career.

“I’m definitely staying in 212,” Clarida explained. “The goal is to win several titles here [in the 212 division]. Of course, I’m happy to try out a few smaller ones [Men’s] Open shows, maybe another Arnold Classic. But just riding the Arnold Classic and doing well isn’t enough for me to just leave the 212… I’m being realistic. If I couldn’t win this [2022] Arnold [Classic], then what’s the point of moving on from there? If I had won, maybe it would be a different conversation.”

Clarida is five titles shy of Lewis’ dominant streak, but if anyone can match or eclipse the icon on the current landscape, it’s the 5ft 2in competitor aptly dubbed ‘The Giant Killer” is called. Usually this refers to Clarida beating bigger competitors on her way to victory. In this case, Clarida’s victory over Lewis would be more like defeating a living legend – a metaphorical “giant” of the sport.

With Clarida teasing his quest for a 212th Olympic record, the years ahead may be the most exciting the division has ever seen.

“212 is my home, it’s in my heart, and I want to go home as one of the best that ever did,” Clarida said. “I love Flex Lewis to death but the goal is to break his record.”

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If Clarida were to unexpectedly hang up his posing trunks today, he would already be remembered as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Point. However, if he were vying for Lewis’ brand, he’d likely be among a handful of elite names regardless of division. For someone used to “killing giants,” it would be quite a sight to see him reach that 212 Olympic peak repeatedly.

Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram

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