In the months, weeks, and days before a bodybuilding show, it’s common to see athletes flaunt their physiques on social media and in public for everyone — especially their competition — to see. In the lead-up to the 2022 Mr. Olympia, for example, nearly every big name entering the contest was strutting around shirtless on Instagram to drum up hype for the body they planned to bring to the stage.
This is especially true backstage before a contest, as the competitors often reveal their well-earned bodies in front of their rivals in the hours before showtime.
Well, six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates had a completely different strategy in mind back in the ’90s. “The Shadow” deliberately hid his physique for months at a time, choosing to work out with just a handful of trusted friends. Even on the day of a show, Yates would dress in a loose tracksuit backstage to make himself look smaller so opponents would be surprised when he’d finally reveal his body on stage.
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Turns out, the tactic worked. And Yates went into detail on this strategy in a recent Instagram post, which you can see above.
Dorian Yates and “The TARDIS”
Yates nicknamed this trademark blue tracksuit “The TARDIS,” which is a reference to the iconic blue police telephone box from the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who.
Yates admits that he deliberately wore The TARDIS until moments before appearing on stage. This was meant to trick his rivals into believing that he was much smaller than he actually was, possibly lulling them into a false sense of security.
“For those that don’t know, The TARDIS [from Doctor Who] is dimensionally transcendental, meaning it’s bigger on the inside than the outside,” Yates wrote on Instagram. “So of course, I wore it to deliberately give an image of a ‘smaller’ physique to confuse my rivals and people would comment, asking each other why I wasn’t bigger, as they were expecting me to be… little did everyone know, I’d probably be a career heaviest!”
Of course, the audience and contenders gasped when Yate stepped on stage in trunks looking every bit the worthy Mr. Olympia winner. It was a moment he always relished.
“When it eventually was time for The TARDIS to come off, my gargantuan physique was unveiled for all to see,” he wrote.
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While many bodybuilders flash their physique under any given circumstances, Yates was cut from a different cloth.
“I knew that I had put in that hard work leading up to the contest and was immensely confident,” Yates said of his backstage ritual. “I had [focused] all of my energy every single day in achieving my desired outcome.”
For Yates, the only concern was the end goal of attaining the vaunted Sandow trophy — and to do that, he let his body do the talking on stage. Nothing else mattered.
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Featured Image: @thedorianyates on Instagram