Phil Heath, aka “The Gift” has won the Mr. Olympia title the past six years, equalling Dorian Yates for fourth on the all-time list of Mr. O winners.
Heath was a great high school and collegiate athlete, having been a star basketball player.
In fact, he starred on the Division I University of Colorado – Denver as their starting point guard.
He started bodybuilding in his early 20s (that's pretty late by Mr. O standards) but quickly grew into a bodybuilding threat.
Now, he's one of the most massive guys on the circuit.
But more than size, he's symmetrical and ripped to shreds.
Who knows when his reign will end? Only “The Gift” knows.
Samir Bannout was one of my favorite bodybuilders of all time. A bigger version of Zane, though not as aesthetic, in my humble opinion. That's not to say he didn't look damned good – I'm just comparing him to Frank Zane, my all-time favorite.
Bannout won the Mr. O in 1983, succeeding Chris Dickerson and preceding the legendary Lee Haney.
As far as I can tell, he's still going strong. You can read more about Samier here.
“The Myth,” Sergio Oliva is a bodybuilding god. He won the Mr. O 3 times in a row (1967, 1968, and 1969) and finished 2nd to Arnold Schwarzenegger twice.
Known for his mass, Oliva probably had the biggest arms of his era. His arms, if looked at from a front double biceps pose, were bigger than his head.
Oliva was quite the character and had a very exciting life, even before bodybuilding:
In 1962, the National Weightlifting Championship for Cuba was won by Alberto Rey Games Hernandez; Sergio Oliva took second place. Because Games received an injury, Oliva was chosen to represent Cuba at the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games hosted in Kingston, Jamaica.
During his stay in Jamaica, Oliva sneaked out of his quarters while the guards were distracted. He ran at top speed until he was safely inside the American consulate. Arriving breathlessly, he demanded and received political asylum. Soon, 65 other Cuban nationals followed him, including Castro's entire weightlifting team and their security guards. Soon afterward, Oliva was living in Miami, Florida, working as a TV repairman.
He was a cop in Chicago for 25+ years and died in 2012 at the age of 71.
Born in Glasgow, Montana, Steve Reeves moved to California at age 10 with his mother, Goldie Reeves, after his father, Lester Dell Reeves, died in a farming accident. Reeves developed an interest in bodybuilding in high school and trained at Ed Yarick's gym in Oakland. By the time he was 17, he had developed a Herculean build, long before the general interest in bodybuilding. After graduating from high school, he enlisted the Army during World War II, and served in the Pacific.
After his military service, Reeves invested in an acting career. In 1954 he had a small role in his first major motion picture, the musical Athena playing Jane Powell's boyfriend. The same year Reeves had a small role as a cop in the Ed Wood film Jail Bait. This is one of the few movies where his voice was not dubbed. In 1957, Reeves went to Italy and played the lead character in Pietro Francisci's Hercules, a shot-on-a-shoestring epic based loosely on the tales of Jason and the Argonauts, though inserting Hercules into the lead role.
From 1959 through 1964, Reeves went on to appear in a string of sword and sandal movies shot on relatively small budgets, and although he is best known for his portrayal of the Greek hero Hercules, he played the character only twice – in the 1958 film Hercules and the sequel Hercules Unchained (released in the U.S. in 1960). He played a number of other characters on screen, including Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Glaucus of Pompeii; Goliath (also called Emiliano); Tatar hero Hadji Murad; Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome (opposite Gordon Scott as his twin brother Remus); the famous war-time messenger of the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides (The Giant of Marathon); pirate and self-proclaimed governor of Jamaica Captain Henry Morgan; and Karim, the Thief of Baghdad. Twice he played Aeneas of Troy and twice he played Emilio Salgari's Malaysian hero, Sandokan.
After the box office success of Hercules, Reeves turned down the role that finally went to Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964) because he couldn't believe that “Italians could make a western”. He also claimed to have turned down James Bond's role in Dr. No (1962).
During the filming of The Last Days of Pompeii, Reeves dislocated his shoulder when his chariot slammed into a tree. Swimming in a subsequent underwater escape scene, he re-injured his shoulder. The injury would be aggravated by his stunt work in each successive film, ultimately leading him to retire from filmmaking and weightlifting.
In 1968 Reeves appeared in his final film, a spaghetti western that imitated the Sergio Leone epics, which he also co-wrote, titled A Long Ride From Hell. At the peak of his career, he was the highest-paid actor in Europe. His last screen appearance was in 2000 when he appeared as himself in the made-for-television A&E Biography: Arnold Schwarzenegger – Flex Appeal.
Later in his life, Reeves promoted drug-free bodybuilding and bred horses. The last two decades of his life were spent in Valley Center (Escondido), California. He bought a ranch with his savings and lived there with his second wife Aline until her death in 1989. On May 1, 2000, Reeves died from complications of lymphoma.
Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia title 8 times in a row, from 1998 through 2005, tied for the most wins of all time and in a row with Lee Haney.
He's known for his aloof style, famous sayings, and for lifting absolutely gargantuan crazy weights.
Coleman was a star athlete in college, playing for Grambling's football team (linebacker) under Eddie Robinson.
He graduated cum laude with a BSc in Accounting and then went on to become a police officer for over a decade.
Recently, he had spinal surgery and has made a full recovery.
Time will tell if Ronnie attempts a comeback.
Even if he doesn't, he'll go down as one of the greatest pro bodybuilders of all time.
Did you know? He's 5′ 11″ and competed at around 300 pounds with under 3 percent body fat.
Look, I know how hard it is to build muscle. Trust me when I tell you it took me 20+ years to figure it out. But once I did--BAM!--muscle appeared almost overnight. Give me your email address and I'll send you the keys.
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