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1989 Arnold Classic champion Rich Gaspari was among the past champions honored at the 2023 edition of the Arnold Classic. With the contest behind us, Gaspari joined Dennis James, Milos Sarcev, and Chris Cormier to share his thoughts on the competition and its champion, Samson Dauda, on a recent episode of The Menace Podcast.
“Samson had that dense, hard muscle that you haven’t seen in a long time with competitors since Ronnie Coleman and when Phil Heath was at his best,” Gaspari said. “It’s good to see that, and that’s why when I saw it, I said ‘man, hands down, Samson was better.’”
Gaspari also told the group that he spoke to runner-up Nick Walker at the Meet the Pros event in Columbus, Ohio. Walker told him that he had dropped ten pounds to look more shredded for the contest. Gaspari feels that the move may have backfired on the 2021 Arnold Classic winner.
“He lost ten pounds for that show. Maybe he lost intramuscular fat, but he didn’t have density to the muscle when he stood next to Samson.”
Gaspari also wanted to show respect for the fifth-place finisher, two-time Olympia 212 champion Shaun Clarida. Despite being outsized, the fellow New Jersey native saw the quality that Clarida brought to the stage.
“Maybe he was too small, even though he’s not small. He’s very big for a short guy. He had the hardest body onstage. It’s just when you’re going against a lot of bigger guys, it’s hard to win.”
The focus then shifted to Dauda’s chances at the 2023 Olympia in Orlando, FL this November. While Gaspari saw the greatness he had, he feels there are still a couple of improvements to be made.
“I think he needs to improve a couple of poses. The front lat spread needs to be improved. He could also improve his back.”