by Christian Duque
Phil Heath has received six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles and is taken into account by many to have the ability to break all current data. I don’t have a difficulty with that. I first met Phil in 2007 in Kalamazoo, MI, shortly after defeating Gustavo Badell on the Ironman Professional. I congratulated him, chatted a bit, after which he was good sufficient to take a photograph with me. Phil has been very good over time, taking pictures with me on the NPC Pure Ohio and the Arnold Traditional. I’ve at all times defended him, sang his praises, and even written supportive articles (e.g. on Rx Muscle, Energy Addicts).
That being mentioned, I don’t think about Phil to be the most effective Mr. Olympias of all time, however he’s ok to win decisively in opposition to all [current] challengers. I consider Kai Greene has come the closest to defeating him, however I additionally see each Dexter Jackson and Shawn Rhoden as very viable threats. I put each Shawn & Dexter above some other challengers for the title; nevertheless, in the case of Flexatron, most media shops, writers, and even followers, have undercut his possibilities, regardless of his very spectacular contest document, basic physique, and flawless posing talents. Final 12 months, Rhoden positioned 2nd, and this 12 months, his sponsor, ProSupps, has launched a sequence of adverts that I felt had been very newsworthy and reported them on my present, No Bull Weekly, accessible solely at Muscular Improvement, sponsored by IronMag Labs
Though there’s a protracted historical past of feuding between Phil Heath & Kai Greene, the only greatest challenge appears to have been Kai Greene signing as Mr. Olympia in the course of the 2014 occasion. Greene’s signing Olympia posters as the following champion throughout that 12 months’s occasion, prompted Heath to publicly name Greene out in the course of the press convention. It appeared that this moderately trivial act, deeply offended the reigning champ. In the present day, with Kai Greene seemingly tired of signing an Olympia contract, ProSupps launched a sequence of commercials wherein Shawn Rhoden seems to be the following Mr. Olympia. I discovered this to be extraordinarily newsworthy and reported on it for MD No Bull Weekly.
The day my episode was launched, I blasted it on quite a lot of fb teams, as I usually do, utilizing my greatest efforts to advertise the content material, doing proper by Muscular Improvement and IronMagLabs. Along with Fb, I posted on Instagram, prompting Heath to dam me there, in addition to posting on Twitter. The champ tweeted again to me (together with Rhoden & Professional Supps), stating “this was the form of hype” that led him to “finish careers.” What precisely he meant by that, stays unclear. The next day, I put up a response video to Heath blocking me on Instagram, leading to him blocking me on Twitter.
As a substitute of Phil having some enjoyable with the ProSupps adverts or addressing me as a reporter, he opted to dam me and make a fairly foolish menace at Rhoden. What sort of a champion blocks reporters who report information? I by no means mentioned Shawn could be the following Mr. Olympia or that Phil would or wouldn’t be; I merely reported on the information. That is one thing earlier champions like Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates or Lee Haney would by no means have executed – a minimum of I wouldn’t suppose so. How can a Mr. Olympia be a real ambassador of bodybuilding to the world, if he blocks those that query him or report information he doesn’t like?
However there’s one thing about Rhoden, specifically, which will communicate extra to Phil’s response. Any man who’s earned two third locations and completed as excessive as 2nd, could be very harmful. Dexter Jackson has been a Mr. Olympia and received the Arnold Traditional 5x, but when Dexter hasn’t defeated Phil to date, I doubt he ever will. He’s principally serving as a buffer. He’s obtained the identify, cred, and most significantly, the physique to comfortably maintain off The Large Ramy’s and firm; nevertheless, Shawn Rhoden at 42 may very well be much more hassle than Jackson at 47 for Phil Heath. In 2013, Rhoden took 4th. In 2014 & 2015, Rhoden took two consecutive third locations. In 2016, Rhoden dedicated himself solely to the Olympia (as in 2015), reaching 2nd place. Rhoden’s ascent is nothing wanting wonderful and as Phil now seems to tie Arnold’s document, with each Lee Haney’s & Ronnie’s in sight, issues may go fallacious. It’s very troublesome to nail a prep & conditioning 5, 6, and now 7 instances straight (even when peaking simply annually). If Rhoden is available in 100% and Phil is even barely off, he could discover himself in 2nd place – his excellent streak, to not point out fairly presumably his spirits – damaged.
It’s late July. The constructing is over. Now it’s prep time. The stakes are getting increased. Psychologically, Phil has by no means been challenged like this earlier than. ProSupps isn’t backing down; their help for Rhoden is unquestioned. Whereas Phil is the primary Mr. Olympia to have come to greatness solely within the age of social media, he can also be the primary to be challenged by way of the identical platforms that catapulted him to tremendous stardom – Instagram, Twitter, Fb & YouTube. These adverts are nothing greater than an organization hyping their athlete, giving him 100% help, and pushing him exhausting like a sponsor ought to. Heath is now not with Final Vitamin, for no matter cause, and the complement line bearing his identify appears to have disappeared. The reality of the matter is that Phil tweeting me, Professional Supps, & Shawn Rhoden could present an individual who’s insecure. The actual fact he went on to blocking me on not one, however two separate social media platforms, suggests Heath could both be insecure or just unwilling to simply accept any criticism or problem. If we’re coping with the previous, then it’s a foul mindset for such a subjective sport; if we’re coping with the latter, then Phil makes for a fairly awful bodybuilding ambassador to the world.
The Mr. Olympia has been rightfully referred to as, “The Superbowl of Bodybuilding.” Along with the precise competitors on stage, there’s an simple leisure worth that goes with it. Followers don’t simply go to see 15-17 guys flex on stage. Bodybuilding has at all times been greater than that. Followers establish with athletes, with their journeys, and their outlooks. Phil received’t go down in historical past for being an thrilling champion. Kai Greene introduced leisure worth, along with a stable physique. The identical may very well be mentioned about Dennis Wolf. There’s nothing very thrilling about Phil. Dexter, regardless of a social media makeover, stays considerably uninteresting (by way of leisure worth). The ProSupps adverts are creating some enjoyable, a showdown if you’ll, that’s warranted given how final 12 months’s Mr. Olympia was determined. Phil may’ve had some enjoyable with these adverts. As a substitute, he’s grow to be extremely defensive and a few would possibly argue, hostile.
In any occasion, the reality is, I like Phil and I nonetheless think about him to be a terrific champion, however identical to ANY Olympia-qualified competitor may very well be the following Mr. Olympia, there’s no hurt in final 12 months’s runner-up (or his sponsor) using just a little wishful pondering in advertising and marketing. The longer term doesn’t belong to anybody. The identical approach Ronnie received eight straight, he misplaced on his ninth try, as a result of no 12 months is a assured win. Simply because The Large Nasty received eight, any man competing in 2006 may have mentioned he’d win, most particularly the man who took 4 2nd locations to Coleman, one, Jay Cutler. When Jay informed Triple H he’d win throughout an interview on the 2004 Olympia, Ronnie didn’t cry about it later, as a substitute, he used the chance to one-up Jay, suggesting Cutler was smoking crack. It was hilarious. Nobody took it personally, as a result of bodybuilding again then – was much more enjoyable, as a result of the titleholder was so safe in himself and his physique that he didn’t care who claimed they’d beat him. To Ronnie, it simply amounted to speak.
To place issues into context, I’d prefer to quote my good buddy, IFBB Males’s Physique Professional George Brown, who assessed the state of affairs fairly brilliantly, referring to Heath, he acknowledged “I imply what’s he count on folks to do, bow down? Please, not on this lifetime.” If anybody can lay declare to the Sandow, it’s the #1 challenger from 2016, however extra importantly, it ought to prolong to each man who’s earned the precise to be on that stage.
Nobody goes to Las Vegas to position 2nd – 15th. Anybody may very well be the following Mr. Olympia.