The 19th of September… it was finally time for the annual Mr. Olympia and the competition’s 50th anniversary.
Let’s stick right to the topic of the article – during the press conference the microphone was being passed between some of the dried out faces of the Mr. Olympia athletes. In one of the first interview rounds it was time for the two nemeses, Mr. Kai Greene and the current Mr. Olympia Phil Heath to battle it out on the mic.
It didn’t take long before the discussion heated up with personal attacks – both being backed up by shouting fans in the audience – before the announcers decided to continue the interviews with other competitors.
The day after the press conference, during prejudging, the earlier discussion blew up again and almost transformed into a physical confrontation. One of the head judges yelled at Greene and Heath to separate them, finally placing Dennis Wolf between the two athletes.
As a consequence of the earlier fight or fired up discussion some might think that this was terrible for the reputation of the sport, especially with a big production and media company involved in the 50th Mr. Olympia coverage.
I totally disagree with this conclusion. I don’t mean that fights have to break out on stage, but some drama now and then is nothing that would hurt bodybuilding from my perspective. We need new ingredients to attract regular viewers? Who knows, this might transform into something good in the end.
Just take a look at ice hockey, for instance. What would the NHL be like without clipping, heated discussions, or brawls sometimes?
Another sport example is tennis and the globally well-respected player John McEnroe. He would never have become so famous if it hadn’t been for his hot temper and smashing a couple of rackets or twenty throughout his career. McEnroe’s personality succeeded in bringing more attention to the tennis world.
Additionally, after McEnroe’s retirement from professional tennis he has been working as the head coach of the United States Davis cup team and is currently working as an expert commentator.
Furthermore, emotions and heated up sports situations are nothing new to the sports world even if it should not be on a regularly basis. But we as fans can relate to this and get sucked into the sport. All of the greatest sports has their rivals and it will always be like that.
Many of you out there want bodybuilding to become more like a mainstream sport. Well, you are on the way to seeing that goal achieved!
When it comes to Heath and Greene’s rivalry we have to also consider them on a personal level – off the stage. Kai was abandoned by his mother at a very young age – moving from home to home in various foster families. Kai ended up in juvenile detention before finding what finally saved him, namely bodybuilding.
I’m sure that Phil Heath – like most of us – has felt the rollercoaster of life with its highs and lows, especially now with his biological father passing away earlier this year, as well as having his wife very ill due to cancer a couple of years ago. So, yes, Heath has most definitely experienced the harsh times of life as well as the joys.
On the other hand, compared with Greene, Heath is a married man and has a family. Kai Greene, though, seems to be still looking for the love and affirmation that Heath already has… and bodybuilding is his tool to find that affirmation.
From my perspective Greene might not have realized that his journey to the Sandow is more important than the Sandow itself. His journey has taken him from the streets as an abandoned and lonely kid to one of the greatest stages of the world – and finally succeeding and becoming a loved and a living legend of bodybuilding. In other words, Greene has already won the title multiple times.
To sum it up, what was seen that night of the fight was two of the best bodybuilders in the world having one of the greatest showdowns in the history of bodybuilding! Both were extremely competitive and emotional with their one-year battle of preparation finally coming to an end.
In the finals, good sportsmanship was shown when Phil Heath was announced as the winner. Kai Greene reached out his hand to congratulate the Gift on his fourth Sandow and becoming Mr. Olympia for the fourth time.
The 50th Mr. Olympia has come to an end and will go down in history as; I believe every anniversary should, in spectacular and memorable fashion.
See you next year
Anders JP Eskilsson