Phil Heath has gained six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles and is taken into account by many to have the ability to break all present information. I don’t have a problem 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 images with me on the NPC Pure Ohio and the Arnold Traditional. I’ve all the time 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 top-of-the-line 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 every other challengers for the title; nonetheless, relating to Flexatron, most media shops, writers, and even followers, have undercut his probabilities, regardless of his very spectacular contest document, traditional 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 have been very newsworthy and reported them on my present, No Bull Weekly, obtainable completely at Muscular Improvement.
Though there’s a protracted historical past of feuding between Phil Heath & Kai Greene, the one largest problem appears to have been Kai Greene signing as Mr. Olympia through the 2014 occasion. Greene’s signing Olympia posters as the subsequent champion throughout that 12 months’s occasion, prompted Heath to publicly name Greene out through the press convention. It appeared that this quite trivial act, deeply offended the reigning champ. Right now, with Kai Greene seemingly bored with signing an Olympia contract, ProSupps launched a sequence of ads wherein Shawn Rhoden seems to be the subsequent 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 few fb teams, as I usually do, utilizing my finest 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 type 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 an alternative 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 can be the subsequent 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 carried out – at the very least I wouldn’t assume 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, that will converse extra to Phil’s response. Any man who’s earned two third locations and completed as excessive as 2nd, may be very harmful. Dexter Jackson has been a Mr. Olympia and gained the Arnold Traditional 5x, but when Dexter hasn’t defeated Phil to this point, I doubt he ever will. He’s principally serving as a buffer. He’s received the identify, cred, and most significantly, the physique to comfortably maintain off The Large Ramy’s and firm; nonetheless, Shawn Rhoden at 42 might be much more bother 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 totally to the Olympia (as in 2015), reaching 2nd place. Rhoden’s ascent is nothing in need of wonderful and as Phil now seems to be to tie Arnold’s document, with each Lee Haney’s & Ronnie’s in sight, issues might go incorrect. It’s very troublesome to nail a prep & conditioning 5, 6, and now 7 occasions straight (even when peaking simply annually). If Rhoden is available in 100% and Phil is even barely off, he might discover himself in 2nd place – his good 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 greater. 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 totally within the age of social media, he can also be the primary to be challenged by 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 arduous like a sponsor ought to. Heath is now not with Final Diet, for no matter purpose, 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 might present an individual who’s insecure. The very fact he went on to blocking me on not one, however two separate social media platforms, suggests Heath might both be insecure or just unwilling to simply accept any criticism or problem. If we’re coping with the previous, then it’s a nasty 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 plain leisure worth that goes with it. Followers don’t simply go to see 15-17 guys flex on stage. Bodybuilding has all the time been greater than that. Followers establish with athletes, with their journeys, and their outlooks. Phil gained’t go down in historical past for being an thrilling champion. Kai Greene introduced leisure worth, along with a stable physique. The identical might be mentioned about Dennis Wolf. There’s nothing very thrilling about Phil. Dexter, regardless of a social media makeover, stays considerably uninteresting (when it comes to 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 might’ve had some enjoyable with these adverts. As an alternative, he’s turn out 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 fantastic champion, however similar to ANY Olympia-qualified competitor might be the subsequent Mr. Olympia, there’s no hurt in final 12 months’s runner-up (or his sponsor) using just a little wishful considering in advertising and marketing. The longer term doesn’t belong to anybody. The identical method Ronnie gained eight straight, he misplaced on his ninth try, as a result of no 12 months is a assured win. Simply because The Large Nasty gained eight, any man competing in 2006 might have mentioned he’d win, most particularly the man who took 4 2nd locations to Coleman, one, Jay Cutler. When Jay instructed 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 wish to quote my good good friend, IFBB Males’s Physique Professional George Brown, who assessed the scenario fairly brilliantly, referring to Heath, he said “I imply what’s he count on individuals 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 fitting to be on that stage.
Nobody goes to Las Vegas to put 2nd – 15th. Anybody might be the subsequent Mr. Olympia.