The Gift Unwrapped: Phil Heath
Looking for back-to-back Olympia wins this September, MMI looks back at how Phil Heath became the world’s best bodybuilder in just nine years.
So, how did it feel not only to finally reach the mountain top, but to defeat his closest pal in the sport as well? In an interview with Flex’s Allan Donnelly one week after his victory, Heath said: “Jay was coaching me the entire weekend, especially after Friday. He had kind of conceded victory after that and started giving me advice on how to handle the situation, saying things like, ‘Are you ready for this? You’re gonna be the champ! How does it feel?’”
Heath told Donnelly that what he’d taken the most from his gracious opponent was “How he of all people understands the pressure and the high expectations of being a champion and ambassador for the sport. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, you’re still trying to find somebody who’s already done it. He [Jay] leads by example, by his actions — not just by his words — and that’s helped me tremendously.”
In a sit-down with photographer Jason Ellis soon after becoming the new Mr. Olympia, Heath continued to praise Cutler. “Jay gave me the success mindset, and not just onstage,” Heath said. “I may be the new king on the block, but he’s still the king.”
Heath says in the video that his goal wasn’t to beat Jay, it was to become Mr. Olympia. Although he does readily admit he wanted to defeat Cutler before he hung up the posing trunks. “This is a guy who hasn’t finished worse than second in a contest in the last decade,” he told Ellis.
When Heath guest posed in Southern California about a month after his Olympia win, he was confident, although not braggadocios, about his chances of making it back-to-back wins in 2013. I advised against getting much bigger, possibly hurting the aesthetic yet dense look he was able to package last season. He didn’t heed the advice.
“I don’t see how I won’t be heavier this year,” he said, in between greeting fans. “I still have fewer than 10 years of training under my belt, so how can I not put on more muscle at this year’s Olympia?” Point well taken.
When I walked out of the Orleans Arena last September, a couple of fans approached, predicting Heath would have a run of at least five more Olympia wins. Six Sandows?
That sure has a Jordan-esque ring to it?