Famed IFBB Pro League bodybuilder Dexter Jackson revealed that he has COVID-19. On Jan. 4, 2021, Jackson posted a series of videos to his Instagram Stories, stating that he has been dealing with the symptoms of the virus for about three weeks. Just two and half weeks before his series of posts, Jackson — who won the Olympia in 2008 — competed at the 2020 Mr. Olympia competition, live and in-person, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The Olympia officially took place from Dec. 17-20, 2020.
“I wasn’t going to make a video about this, but I thought it was only right that I do, you know? Your boy got COVID, and I’ve had it now for almost three weeks,” Jackson said in his IG Stories posts. “I’m 100 percent sure that I can beat it, but who wants to feel like this for three weeks?”
Jackson did not mention in his initial post that he took a COVID-19 test, or whether he had the virus while competing at the 2020 Olympia. Then, on Jan. 5, 2021, Jackson posted again on his Instagram Stories to clarify that he started feeling symptoms the Monday after the Olympia, which was Dec. 21, 2020. In that same post, he said that he feels “almost 100%.”
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Instagram Stories are only active for 24 hours before they are automatically deleted (unless the account owner chooses to highlight them). Throughout other portions of his video, Jackson revealed that he has been dealing with coughing, throat issues, cold symptoms, and body aches. He also emphasized how much he has been sweating recently.
“My upper body gets so hot now that I have to walk around with my shirt off because if anything touches my upper body, then I start sweating like crazy,” Jackson explains. “Not my head, none of that, just my body. I swear I probably go through five shirts a day, soaking wet like I just got out of the pool.”
After Jackson shared details of what he has been facing, he acknowledged that he sees how people with underlying conditions can be severely affected by the symptoms of the virus.
The Jacksonville, FL native recently competed at the Olympia in Orlando, FL. The 51-year-old finished ninth overall in what he said would be his final contest. That contest was won by Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, who had faced his own issues with COVID-19 earlier in the 2020 season, resulting in him having to withdraw from the Europa Pro contest in Spain. The 2020 Olympia was also supposed to feature Roelly Winklaar, who had to withdraw with COVID-19.
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As for Jackson, he says that he feels confident in his eventual recovery. The all-time winningest pro bodybuilder also advocated for people being responsible so they don’t have to face similar circumstances.
“I know I’m determined I’m going to beat this…it ain’t gonna beat me,” Jackson said. “Do what you’re supposed to do, trust me, you don’t want to catch this for three, four weeks, and have to stay home. Think about it. You’re going to have to stay your ass at home. That’s three or four weeks of money that you ain’t gonna be getting. You have to think about all of that.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include Dexter Jackson’s recent statement on Jan. 5, 2021, made over Instagram Stories, revealing that he started feeling COVID-19 symptoms on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.
Featured Image (left to right): Photo by Will Wittmann/@mrolympia08 on Instagram