From 2011 to 2017, Mr. Olympia was a title that belonged to one man: Phil Heath. His seven consecutive wins tied him for the second most ever with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2018, when Heath was competing to win a record tying 8th Mr. Olympia, he finished as the runner-up to the superior conditioning of Shawn Rhoden. In 2019, Heath did not compete and Rhoden was banned from the event after being charged with sexual assault, which allowed for Brandon Curry to fill the space on Bodybuilding’s biggest stage and become the new Mr. Olympia.
Curry’s first title defense just got a bit more difficult as Heath announced on his Instagram page that he will make his much awaited return to Mr. Olympia this December:
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It’s time to handle some #UnfinishedBusiness. See you at @MrOlympiaLLC this December. Link in bio. #TheOlympia
[Related: 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry shares his arm building tips]
It’s time to handle some #UnfinishedBusiness. See you at Mr. Olympia this December.
That unfinished business is claiming an eighth Mr. Olympia title to match other bodybuilding greats Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman for the most all-time wins in the event. However, it is unlikely to come easy for the 40-year-old Heath.
Although he is the reigning champion, Curry is already seen as the underdog in the eyes of Dorian Yates. The 6-time former Mr. Olympia champion called Curry “one of the weaker champions we’ve seen” in an interview with Valuetainment. Ronnie Coleman did a similar interview saying that the current era of bodybuilders are “not on the same level” as when he competed. When asked if that included Phil Heath, Coleman was clear to that Heath was “at that level”.
In addition to a reigning champion who has something to prove in the eyes of former greats, a current great is making his debut in the Open category at Mr. Olympia: Flex Lewis. Lewis is a 7-time 212lb division champion and claimed those titles consecutively — a mutual stat between him and Heath.
Phil Heath’s return is undoubtedly going to attract more eyeballs to the 2020 Mr. Olympia. If he is going to claim a legendary eighth win after being absent for two years, he will have to bring an impressive package.
Feature image from Phil Heath’s Instagram page: @philheath