The annual Mr Olympia contest has been taking place since 1965. Regarded as the top bodybuilding contest in the world and run by the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB), it originally took place in New York, but Las Vegas has played host to the event for the past 17 years.
As the Olympic games of the bodybuilding world, the financial prize is a boon, but it’s the exposure and sponsorship deals that follow that are most sought-after by the winners. Here are some of the bodybuilders that have been crowned Champion over the years.
Winning the first ever Mr Olympia contest in 1965, Larry Scott (also known as ‘The Legend’ or ‘The Golden Boy’) went on to gain a further victory the following year. Larry was also the first bodybuilder to win Mr America and Mr Universe, and he was the only bodybuilder to win Mr Olympia each time he competed.
Arguably the most famous Mr Olympia winner of all time, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was responsible for raising the profile of the event, having reigned as champion seven times during the 1970s and 80s. Despite his prolific profile, he doesn’t hold the record for winning the most titles. Arnold has also won Mr Europe and Mr Universe. He still trains regularly today.
American Lee Haney won Mr Olympia eight times, from 1984 to 1991, earning him the highest number of wins in the contest, with Ronnie Coleman. Following his successful contest wins, Lee has broadcast his own fitness show and was appointed as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Englishman Dorian Yates, nicknamed ‘The Shadow’, held the winning Mr Olympia title six times from 1992 to 1997, giving him the fourth-highest number of wins in the competition. Despite competing in 1997 heavily injured, Dorian still managed to retain his winning title, although subsequent injuries finally put a halt to his professional career. Dorian has won an impressive 15 major titles, making him one of the most highly regarded bodybuilders ever.
With eight Mr Olympia wins under his belt, from 1998 to 2005, American Ronnie Coleman shares the most number of wins in the competition with Lee Haney. Ronnie also broke the record for the most number of wins as an IFBB professional, totalling 26. He has enjoyed a successful career outside bodybuilding competitions making videos, endorsing products and establishing his own sports nutrition company.
As the current reigning champion for the last seven years, American Phil Heath is joint third with Arnold Schwarzenegger for the most Mr Olympia wins. Phil owns fitness clothing company, Gifted Athletics – the name of the company was inspired by his moniker, ‘The Gift’. He also co-runs a sports nutrition company, Gifted Nutrition.
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