Legendary Bodybuilder Ken “Flex” Wheeler Named 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

The four-time Arnold Classic winner will be honored in Columbus, OH.

Twenty-two years after his final Arnold Classic U.S. win, Ken “Flex” Wheeler is still racking up awards.

On Sept. 25, the final day of the Arnold Sports Festival UK, it was announced that Wheeler is the 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The ceremony will take place in March in Columbus, OH, when the Arnold Classic U.S. is held. 


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The announcement was made during the finals of the 2022 Arnold Classic UK contest in Birmingham, England. Wheeler was in attendance at that contest and received a standing ovation from the fans and contemporaries. Promoters played a tribute video of Wheeler, shared by the Arnold Sports Festival on their Instagram page (see below).

About Flex Wheeler

Known as the “Sultan of Symmetry” for his unique combination of mass and conditioning, Wheeler won the Arnold Classic contest four times — 1993, 1997, 1998, and 2000. He is also a three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up and is considered to be the greatest bodybuilder to have never won an O. In 2020, the promoters of the Olympia honored him with the Olympia Inspiration and Courage Award

Wheeler returned to the stage one last time in 2017, at 51 years old, to compete in the Classic Physique Olympia. He placed 15th in that contest, which eventual two-time Classic Physique Olympia winner Breon Ansley won.

During and after his career, Wheeler contended with numerous medical issues, including a 2003 kidney transplant. In 2019, part of Wheelers right leg was amputated due to circulation problems that became life-threatening. In 2022, Wheeler underwent surgery on his left shoulder, ultimately successful.

Wheeler is now primarily a posing coach and trainer, working with athletes like Andrew Jacked, who won the Arnold Classic UK contest. 


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The Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes notable people who have contributed significantly to bodybuilding and fitness on or off the stage. When this article was written, Wheeler had not yet made a public statement about receiving the award.

The award wasn’t given in 2022, but past honorees that have received the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award include Ronnie Coleman (2021), Paul “Triple H” Levesque (2020), strongman pioneers Dr. Jan and Terry Todd (2019), and Dr. Robert Goldman (2018). The honor dates back to 2000 — Joe Weider was the first recipient.

Featured Image: @arnoldsporsuk on Instagram.