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Thread: The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

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    Musclechemistry Site Representative drtbear1967's Avatar
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    Default The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?



    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?
    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?
    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?


    by Geoff Roberts


    In bodybuilding, as well as in every other sport for that matter, the question of who is the greatest to ever live has always been the most frequently pondered question and it remains so to this day. These discussions of who is the greatest of all time vary quite drastically from one sport to another, due to varying levels of dominance amongst each sport’s top athletes. For example, everyone would agree that Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer of all time, as it is virtually irrefutable.


    Baseball on the other hand, does not have one stand out athlete who is or was heads and shoulders above the rest which sparks much debate on who the greatest of all time truly was. Basketball is another example of a sport where the overwhelming majority of people agree on who the greatest of all time was, as very few if any people refute the idea of Michael Jordan being the best of all time. Football is a second example of a sport that does not have a clear cut greatest of all time athlete. So what about bodybuilding, our beloved sport? Do we have a cut and dry best of all time like swimming and basketball, or is it up for debate between a few individuals, as is the case with baseball and football?

    The majority of bodybuilding fans and insiders would agree that the answer to this question is up for debate and a case could be made for several different athletes, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lee haney, Ronnie Coleman, or even Dexter Jackson. Some will argue that Arnold is the best, not only because he won seven Mr. Olympia titles, but he also went on to become one of the most famous human beings in history. Others will say Lee Haney or Ronnie Coleman, due to the fact that they share the all time record of Mr.Olympia wins at eight titles. I have also heard decent cases made for Dexter Jackson for a multitude of reasons, including his unmatched longevity at the top of the sport and the fact that he was able to gain one-hundred pounds of muscle over his career. While I can understand the logic behind all of these opinions, I have to completely disagree with all of them.


    Before I move on I have to explain that when I refer to a man being the greatest bodybuilder of all time, I am basing that opinion on how great he was at the sport of bodybuilding itself. The reason this is important to explain is for the simple fact that if you consider what they managed to do for the sport, how successful they were after they retired, etc., then Arnold is obviously the greatest of all time by a landslide. However, the question has nothing to do with anything outside of the sport, it only has to do with how good each guy was at the actual sport of bodybuilding. With this in mind, the question becomes very easy to answer if you really think about it. The greatest bodybuilder of all time, hands down, is Lee Haney.


    To prove my point, I will first compare the Olympia careers of both Arnold and Ronnie with that of Lee Haney. Arnold won seven titles, one of which was extremely controversial, while the other six were won in a fairly dominant manner. Ronnie Coleman tied Lee Haney’s record of eight Olympia wins, with very few close calls. There was a lot of controversy in 2001 when many people felt that Jay Cutler was the rightful winner, but that’s about it. Lee Haney’s run as Olympia champ was very similar to Ronnie’s, in that Lee also had one controversial win in his eight year run, which came by way of a drug tested show and a spot on Lee Labrada. However, there is one major difference between the two that is proof to me that Lee Haney was a greater bodybuilder.


    Lee Haney won his last Olympia in a convincing fashion, displaying the best look of his entire career, then chose to retire on top. Ronnie on the other hand, was defeated, then failed to break the top three the following year. In other words, Lee Haney retired at his peak, or possibly short of his peak, while Ronnie peaked in 2003, then was dethroned in 2006. Not only could Lee Haney have continued to win the Olympia for several more years and set a record number of wins that would never be touched, but a “new age” competitor like Dorian Yates may have pushed Lee to heights the sport has never seen. In bodybuilding, ones mid to late thirties is generally accepted as their peak age. Lee Haney retired at 31 years old, meaning he was far from his peak in regards to his age. In short, it is entirely possible that had Lee continued to compete, he may have won ten or more Olympia titles, in which case he would be considered the greatest of all time by a large margin. The best Dorian we have ever seen would probably defeat the best Lee we have ever seen, but with Lee retiring half a decade before reaching his peak age, it’s not really a fair comparison. The assumption that the great Lee Haney would not have been able to find a way to beat The Shadow is even more unfair.


    Can anyone name another Mr. Olympia champ who would have been capable of winning several more titles after his last win, assuming he did not retire? There are no examples outside of the great Lee Haney. Arnold barely won his last show and probably shouldn’t have, Dorian also won his last title by the skin of his teeth and was far too riddled with injuries to ever win again, while Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman were both handily defeated at their last two Olympia showings. Not only did Lee Haney win a record eight Mr. Olympia titles, but he went out on top at a mere 31 years old with enough left in the tank to win a few more titles. While we were lucky enough to see the very best of guys like Arnold, Dorian, and Ronnie, I do not believe that we ever saw Lee Haney’s full potential. One can only imagine what his full potential may have looked like. For all of these reasons, the question of who is the greatest bodybuilder of all time does in fact have a quick, easy answer: Lee Haney.
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    MuscleChemistry Newbie Jerkoff's Avatar
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    In a big way I agree on Lee Haney. He won his last Mr. O right be for Dorian took over and steered the sport in a different and hurtful direction. I hated Dorian, ugly physique, big belly, bad skin, ugly in the face (I know that shouldn't be a criteria for Mr. O but do you want a guy as ugly as Dorian, with his ugly physique on top of it representing the whole sport.) Lee Haney had awesome symytrey, he has size for his era, he was always in shape and his taper from his waist to his upper body, for example on his double bi shot was perfect. Nice X shape Dorian never approached. So, in my mind forget Dorian you can't compare his physique to Lee. Arnold, yeah did everything for bodybuilding but going on just what he looked like on stage you can't put him next to Haney, he would have gotten destroyed. Haney never came close to loosing, the one year to Lee Labrada but Lee, as fantastic as he looked, was just too small to beat Lee. Rich Gaspari went toe to toe with Haney, his grainy 20 years ahead ripped glutes, but his waist was just too blocky, he never could have beaten Lee. So skip Dorian, go to Ronnie. Standing next to each other Ronnie at his best would have easily best Lee at his best but your talking about different eras with different drugs. If Hany used the same drugs Ronnie did who knows, that little waizt, if he could have kept it, would have beat Ronnie. Culter, no way, no way, no way. This guy (the refrigerator) should not have one Mr. O. He's blocky to a ridiculous degree in his abdominal area (the refrigerator nickname), In pictures I've seen of him at his best against some of the top guys I can't figure out how he won ever. In 2009 he was given 100% gift , Victor Martinez won that show going away. I know the IFBB wanted Jay as Mr. O, marketable, good looking surfer looking dude, and that why I believe he was handed the Olympia several times.
    As to Dexter, he's great, I saw him come up most of the way since he was a middleweight. His longevity is crazy, the condition he gets in is crazy. But, you can't call him the best ever he won in 2008 because he was at the right place at the right time guys were in transition, hurt, off, retired, someone had to win. That's why he's never won again. Also, IMO Dexter isn't even the greatest small bodybuilder. I believe Shawn Ray at his best would have beat Dexter.
    Now Phil Heath, he's definitely impressive but his shoulders, bis, tris don't look real. I've heard implants, synthol, I don't know if it's true but I'm not ready to call Phil the best ever especially because he got pushed to the brink by Kai Greene.
    Now this is going to be contoversial because he never actually won the Mr Olympia. I still believe the best, most symmetrical, best structure, best genetics of any bodybuilder who ever lived was Flex Wheeler. The best he ever looked was at the Arnold, if he brought that physique to the Olympia be would have won. He still finished second three times, matter of preference that seperated him from the winner.
    So my conclusion, best Mr. Olympia ever is Lee Haney
    Best physique ever is Flex Wheeler.


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    Musclechemistry Site Representative drtbear1967's Avatar
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    Flex Wheeler was awesome back in the day. I wonder how he will do in Classis Physique at the Olympia this year.
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    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?


    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?

    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?
    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?
    The Greatest Bodybuilder Of All Time?
    First I think any article like this needs to say "EXCEPT ARNOLD". Arnold has done more for this sport than anyone else ever will, period. Assuming we all agree with that we all have favorites after that. Mine is Dorian Yates. I don't believe Dorian took the sport of bodybuilding in the wrong direction. How did he do that? Becoming the most muscular, most symmetrical, and most defined, and on and on.

    Truth is I get tired of all the people who can't get big and cut and symmetrical blaming guys that can for the direction of the sport. BODYBUILDING - dissect the word. Its about building muscle then sculpting it. WTF I don't care if we are talking women or men.

    If you like the beach shorts look, fine. but plenty of guys I went to high school with looked pretty close to some of those guys. NOT ME...BUT I WILL NEVER BE ON THE O STAGE EITHER.

    Look I get real tired of guys / gals blaming mass monsters about the "direction" of bodybuilding. This may piss some people off but it is what it is.
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