Only a top-three finish at the prestigious Las Vegas Amateur Olympia will suffice for Kamel Dickinson, as he aims to continue his meteoric rise in bodybuilding.
Having only taken up bodybuilding a little more than a year ago, Dickinson has enjoyed an immediate impact in the sport, first claiming second place in the men’s physique at the Night of Champions at the Fairmont Southampton last summer, before going on to impress at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio, finishing third in February.
Dickinson, who was part of the World Wrestling Entertainment until recurring concussions dashed his burgeoning career in 2015, now hopes to move up to a higher step of the podium at the Amateur Olympia in Nevada, United States, which started yesterday.
“I’m feeling pretty good; I’ve put in a lot of work and put on a lot of size,” Dickinson, 32, said. “I’m feeling fuller in my shoulders and chest and I’m in all-round better shape than I was at the Arnold Classic.
“I’m always looking to do better. The goal is to keep progressing and improving on my last outing and so top three will be the minimum goal.
“This will be on a par with the Arnold Classic and it’s another huge event to go into relatively soon into my bodybuilding career.
“The good thing for me is that there will be some of the same judges from the last event and so I have a better idea of exactly what they’re looking for in terms of shape and conditioning.
“If I’m not doing better, I’m doing worse, so I have to move forward and improve.”
As well as receiving the accolades of the judging panel last time out, Dickinson believes the biggest positive from the experience was the invaluable insight into big events, and more importantly, the measure of competition that he faces from overseas.
“After coming third at the Arnold Classic it’s given me huge confidence, but it’s also helped me in knowing what to expect. I’m better prepared mentally as well.
“I had never done a competition of that scale and it was a massive culture shock seeing so many competitors and there was a lot of strong competition.
“However, just like the Arnold Classic, the scale of this competition doesn’t faze me. After wrestling for the biggest wrestling company in the world, the WWE, I won’t be affected by these sort of events.
“What it did show me was just how much I needed to improve and for that was the most valuable part of the experience. Now heading into Olympia, I have a greater understanding of how I should look and exactly what I need to do.
“I’m definitely more prepared now than I’ve ever been, that’s for sure. My poses have improved tremendously and across all aspects I’ve grown.
“I’ve watched back videos of myself and I thought I looked awful, so I’ve definitely improved and made strides forward.”
Dickinson’s preparations have been aided by a greatly less strenuous schedule, broken down over 16 weeks, in stark contrast to the six he and his coach, Carmichael Bryan, had to try and perfect his physique ahead of the Arnold Classic.
“Having had a 16-week preparation has made a big difference, Dickinson added. “This process has been a lot easier than before the Arnold Classic. Cutting out certain food types has been a lot more gradual and so it hasn’t been as strenuous.
“However, saying that, I’ve still been suffering so hopefully it all pays off.”
Any success at the Amateur Olympia would also further vindicate Dickinson’s decision to pursue a career in bodybuilding further, with the personal trainer conceding the point he has reached in his new pursuit would not have possible without earlier failings.
“I’ve always felt quite comfortable within bodybuilding, because but having finished third at the Arnold Classic, I definitely feel more part of it,” said Dickinson, who works under the company name Cut2Fit.
“I faced rejection and discouragement in the past, particularly within the WWE and it used to affect me but it happens and as much as it hurt, you have to move on and improve next time.
“That’s all I focus on, that improvement; I’ve learnt more from the struggles and low periods, having those times have been invaluable to allow me to get where I am now.”