Phil Heath - How Good of a Mr. Olympia Is He?
How Do Phil’s Stats Stack Up?
Phil Heath hasn’t quite earned legend status in the IFBB, but he is well on his way. With five Mr. Olympia wins so far, only four other men in history won more titles: Arnold (seven), Lee Haney (eight), Dorian Yates (six) and Ronnie Coleman (eight). Those men are all retired, while Phil still has at least a few good years left to bolster his career record. But just for the heck of it— because realistically, a catastrophic injury or illness could take any champion athlete out of the game at any time— let’s take a look at how his record as a pro thus far stacks up against what those other Mr. Olympia winners accomplished in their careers.
Pro Wins: 7
Pro Shows Entered: 8
Sergio Oliva, Serge Nubret, Franco Columbu, Lou Ferrigno
It’s not really fair to compare Arnold’s competitive record with that of the other men, because pro bodybuilding was hardly a sport in his early career days. The only professional show that even existed in the IFBB for the first six years Arnold held the Mr. Olympia title was the Mr. Olympia itself. He actually won three NABBA Pro Mr. Universe titles in a row from 1968-1970, as well as the 1970 AAU Pro World (where he first met its promoter, Jim Lorimer). The Mr. Olympia contest in those years was a much smaller affair. In 1969, only two men entered, three in 1970 and 1973, and in 1968 and 1971, both Sergio and Arnold won unopposed, the only man onstage!
Pro Wins: 11
Pro Shows Entered: 16
Rich Gaspari, Lee Labrada, Dorian Yates
Haney had a very impressive track record in his nine seasons as a pro. It is interesting to note that the two of the men who pushed him the hardest were significantly smaller in stature. Rich Gaspari, at 5’8” and about 215 pounds, was runner-up three years in a row from 1986-1988, and the 5”5”, 185-pound Lee Labrada pushed him to the brink at both the 1989 and 1990 editions of the Mr. Olympia.
Pro Wins: 15
Pro Shows Entered: 17
Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Nasser El Sonbaty
Dorian only lost two shows as a pro, his debut at the 1990 Night of Champions, and his first Mr. Olympia to Lee Haney in 1991, as Haney won his eighth and final title. Many feel that in terms of depth, the Dorian era was the most competitive, as Kevin, Flex and Shawn were all more than worthy of winning a Mr. Olympia title in their primes. Dorian is the only man in this group aside from Arnold to debut at the Mr. Olympia as high as second place. But Arnold was second out of two men, whereas Dorian beat 26 other pros at the 1991 Mr. O.
Pro Wins: 26
Pro Shows Entered: 64
Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone, Jay Cutler
It’s a very safe bet that no other Mr. Olympia champion will ever approach either Ronnie’s total pro wins or the amount of contests he competed in. In his prime, he was probably the most physically overwhelming Mr. O of them all, nearly 300 ripped pounds at one point.
Pro Wins: 11
Pro Shows Entered: 17
Jay Cutler, Kai Greene
The analysis of The Gift’s career is not a final one, but rather a look at what he has accomplished thus far. His number of total wins and shows entered probably won’t be overly impressive, as Phil doesn’t seem to compete outside the Mr. Olympia contest too often. It’s not unlikely that he may go on to tie or even break the record of eight Mr. Olympia titles held jointly by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. The only asterisk on Phil’s ultimate record may be in his lack of fierce competition, which obviously is no fault of his. The two factors most fans appear to hold in highest esteem when rating Mr. Olympia champions are total title wins, of course, and how their physique raised standards and changed the game. All of that still remains to be seen, as Phil’s chapter as Mr. Olympia champion is still being written.