In what might been a foreshadowing to a weekend full of surprises, the highly anticipated showdown between reigning and defending two-time 212 Olympia champion Shaun Clarida and Keone Pearson delivered what may have been the biggest shock of the weekend. Heading into this year’s contest, there seemed to be a resounding feeling from fans, and bodybuilding experts alike, that Shaun should be considered a heavy favorite to successfully defend his title for the second straight year, despite the strong wave of momentum that Keone had been riding since his dominant win at the Texas Pro back in August.
“That's the lock of the weekend. I don’t think anyone’s going to touch Clarida. Density. Density. Density. Open Class muscle on a 212 bodybuilder.” – Chris Aceto
However, despite a strong showing from Shaun during the prejudging, after the finals got underway, and we saw individual routines from Ahmad Ashkanani, Kerrith Bajjo, Angel Caulderon-Frias, Clarida, and Pearson, it quickly became clear that judges were viewing this year’s contest as a two-man race between Keone and Shaun, which was highlighted when they were placed next to each other in the middle of the final callout of the evening.
212 Olympia Top 6 Placings
1. Keone Pearson
2. Shaun Clarida
3. Angel Caulderon-Frias
4. Kerrith Bajjo
5. Ahmad Ashkanani
6. Oleh Kryvyi
With the win, Keone becomes just the seventh athlete in history to earn the title of 212 Mr. Olympia and assures himself a place in the record books as one of the most genetically gifted bodybuilders of his era. However, as we’ve seen in recent years with the 212, the title in this division has a tendency to change hands more often than any other division in the industry – which means that only time will tell if Keone’s reign will lengthy and historic, as we saw with Flex Lewis nearly a decade ago, or if the run of championship parody will continue as the title changes hands again in the years to come.