Alex: Hey, what’s up, everybody? Alex Rogers from Protein Factory. And in this podcast, we are going to be talking about the  Mr. Olympia 2018.  And to help me with that, we have Coach Ken here. Hey, what’s up, Coach?

mr olympia 2018


Ken: Hey, what’s going on?

Alex: Not much. Not much. We have the Olympia coming up. Back in the day, I remember watching guys like Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman, all those guys. One time, actually Ronnie Coleman had something where you could train with Ronnie Coleman and I sent one of my employees down to train with him. It was pretty cool. And we had like video and stuff going on. It was pretty interesting. But the Olympia is next month. What date is that?

Ken: I want to say it’s around the 15th, 16th, 17th, somewhere around there. I know it’s like six weeks out, so we’re getting real, real close.

Alex: Okay. So I haven’t been really too hip on the Olympia. I haven’t been paying attention to current events. So what’s the latest and greatest with the  Mr Olympia 2018?

Ken: So I think the latest and greatest is there’s history in the making with Phil Heath. He’s the reigning champion and he is one of these guys. It’s kind of controversial. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for being a Mr. Olympia. And I say that because people still resonate with Ronnie and Dorian, Lee Haney, Schwarzenegger. They were like very well-loved people. But for some reason, Phil, he is just one of those guys that’s a great champion. In my opinion, I don’t see why he won’t be the best to go down in history because he doesn’t have too many flaws. But as far as…his physique speaks for itself, hut his personality, a lot of people just don’t like him. I think he comes across as cocky. He comes across as very sensitive. But he’s taken a lot of heat from a lot of people. And I don’t blame him to some extent. He wants to, like, be cool and try to fire back. But I think with social media, times have changed. Back in the day, Dorian Yates was nowhere to be found. He just popped up one day. Everyone’s like, “What the hell happened? Whoa. Who’s this guy?” But Phil is in the limelight. He’s got a company himself. He’s got a brand himself. He’s been on numerous magazines.

So I think that there’s a lot of hype around it, but I think the biggest hype right now is overshadowing a little bit of Phil Heath’s seven times in a row chasing a record to tie… I think it’s Lee Haney and Ronnie. He’s going to tie them if he wins again, which I’m sure he’s going to. But the bigger hype around the Mr Olympia 2018 right now is the people’s choice award. And what’s going on is they’re letting the people choose who they feel is the best person, like they think they’re the people’s champion, and the biggest name popping up is Kai Greene. And as cool as I think that is, I think it’s great for Kai Greene. It’s great for the sport. The downside is it doesn’t count against the judges’ scores for getting your trophy and winning.

And the hard part for me has always been I think Kai Greene is a cool guy. He’s very well-spoken. He comes from a very dark, deep past where he’s been in juvenile and all kinds of bad things happen to him, family abandonment, all that kind of stuff, but he’s turned into a very good human being, and I think that’s cool. He’s a very artistic person. He makes a living at his artwork. But it sounds like they want to drag out the story. It’s always the story behind Kai. He deserves a win because of his story type thing. And I just don’t see that as being… How does that make someone a champion because you have a good story? We’re competing against the physique against the physique, not the story. Phil has a story too. Maybe it’s more fortunate. And Kai always says he has his gifts. If you take his gifts, “I work hard.” Well, he’s not been able to beat Phil yet, so he’s backed out of Olympia, I think, last year or the year before. He’s been offered money, from what I’ve heard, to go this year and he still said no. So this could be a very controversial, interesting year to see. I think it’s going to be televised this year too on a certain network, things like that. So I think it’s a lot of hype behind Mr Olympia 2018, and we’re getting very close.

Alex: Wow. Hey, I’m looking at the qualifiers. How come Kai Greene is not listed on the website?

Ken: I think it’s because he is…he’s just not…

Alex: He didn’t qualify? Because he’s not…

Ken: No. No. Well, once you’re in Olympia, on the stage, I think you’re automatically qualified if you win, or I think it’s like top. I don’t remember the exact ruling, but I know if you win, you’re going to have lifetime. You can always come back no matter what.

Alex: Okay.

Ken: But there’s some stipulations on rankings now, so if you didn’t compete this year, you didn’t get enough points, you can’t repeat. So there’s some guys that have made it, some guys that have not made it, and he’s just not qualified, so… But he’s been offered money to come and just show up…

Alex: Oh, wow.

Ken: …which for me, I think, is a little bit unfair. It’s very political to me. But I don’t make the rules and I know it’s going to be a lot of hype behind him. He’s going to draw a lot of traffic and money and it’s becoming a business, which we all understand that. But at the same time, Kai is Kai, and Kai is going to do what he wants to do. I think he should step away from bodybuilding. I don’t think if he shows up, he’s going to be built. He hasn’t done it yet. He’s been in great condition. Let’s see what happens.

Alex: Who’s the judges on the Mr Olympia 2018? Is it like three or four judges? Who is it?

Ken: I know Steve Weinberg is one of the top. He’s the head judge. I want to say Sandy Williamson. She is up there as well. They’ve been around for a long time and I think this might be the first year. If anyone out there knows, let me know. I haven’t really followed the backend stuff of the judging, but I’ve heard they’re going to change some of the judges because what happens a lot of times is there’s complaints of “Well, Ronnie won one year and then won the second year with the same judges. The same judges for the next five years, well, there’s a biased opinion.” So they’re supposed to rotate some judges in and out, which creates more controversy because then it’s like “Well, Phil could have won again.” If he wins, it could have been “Well, if they didn’t change the judges, he would have won again.” If he wins, that’s fine. He has new judges. Now he should be a conquering champion. But there’s a lot of ins and outs this year, controversy, everything, it’s going to happen at the Olympia.

Alex: Who’s the top three guys that are going to place besides Phil Heath?

Ken: Well, Phil normally gets straight ones across the board. I don’t want to say he’s untouchable, but Big Ramy. They keep claiming that he’s going to win. He’s tried a few times. He hasn’t been able to do it. I think that Ramy is just too damn big. The biggest guy normally doesn’t win. There’s always been a lot of big freaky guys out there that just don’t win. Phil is not the biggest guy, but he’s the roundest, the fullest, the most detailed, and his physique is polished from head to toe. To find a weak point, I finally, after seven years, eight years, found one weak point, but you really have to look at it. It’s he has a smaller chest, but it’s not so small that it deters from the overall package, what he brings. Now, someone like Ramy, he’s like 330 pounds right now and Phil is 250 pounds. I mean, that’s a huge difference. But I think Ramy is just so grotesquely huge. He can’t win.

And you always have Dexter Jackson who already shows up in impeccable condition. He’s already won once. He’s always in the running. And we have… Let’s see. Steve Kuclo is looking very good, very dry, but his legs are a little on the small side right now from the last picture I’ve seen, but that can change. He’s still got six weeks to prepare. Looks like he’s drying out early and going to fill up later. We have Bonac who has done very, very well. He beat just about everyone but Phil, so I can see him sliding into second spot. And he already beat Ramy once. I could see him beating him again. But there’s some other guys in the mix, so it’s kind of a toss-up between the 4, 5, 6 spot because there’s a lot of good guys in this class. The top 10, they could all fit in that spot. So it’s going to be pretty cool. We’ve got Brandon Curry. They always say if he knows to condition, he’ll be Mr. Olympia, but I’ve heard that for 10 years. So we’re going to see. There’s some very good competition out there this year.

Alex: All right. What about the other events in the Mr Olympia 2018? Do you pay attention to like the bikini or the figure or the fitness?

Ken: No. You know, I’m more of a bodybuilding guy. I just don’t really… I don’t know. I think it’s cool. I like it. It’s just I don’t follow those classes too much. I do follow a little bit of men’s physique. I started to get a little bit in the classic because I work with men only. No offense to women. It’s just something I found that’s just better for me. It’s a better dish.

Alex: Right.

Ken: And I think there’s Durst. I know that Julianne McNamara retired. Now, she has spent four years. She’s been the reigning Miss Physique Olympia, but she’s stepping down now. What I heard was John Romano and Dave were talking about it at one of their podcasts the other day. They said that she’s stepping down because she’s going to get killed by the upcoming talent. So whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. That’s hearsay to me because it’s their opinion, which I think is a good opinion, but there’s no proof saying that someone’s going to beat her, if they haven’t beat her yet. They haven’t showed up on stage. But there are a few girls out there. I think there’s a girl. I want to say Shanique or something. Two or three girls, these physiques they have are just pro. They have these massive round deltoids, these super tiny waists, these big, firm quads. So it’s like a new… I guess you could call it a new generation of physique women that are coming out right now. Some of the bigger girls, they look like physique girls. So they’re getting bigger too. Men’s physique, I think Jeremy Buendia is going to repeat again. He’s definitely stepped up his game. He’s getting better every single year. As far as the classic, I’ve always been a Bumstead fan. If he doesn’t win, I think it’s a shame because I think his physique is pretty amazing. Mental. But he hasn’t won yet, so…

Alex: Okay, so give me give me your prediction for Mr. Olympia 2018. Who’s going to win?

Ken: I wish I had my computer in front of me. I could pull up the page to see. I would say Phil number one, Bonac number two. Let’s see. Who else have we got? Bonac. Kai is not going to be there. I’m going to say Dexter, maybe Ramy. Let me see here. I just pulled it up. Maybe we have Nathan de Asha, Charles Griffen, Phil Heath, Dexter, Kuclo. It’s challenging because Shawn Rhoden, Cedric McMillan are amazing physiques but you never know what kind of condition they’re going to come in. So I’m going to throw my six out. I’m going to say Phil Heath. I’m going to say Bonac number two. I’m going to say it’s a toss-up for me with… I’ll put Ramy three and I’ll put De Asha to four. I think Dexter five. And number six, I think someone like Rhoden or McMillan or Kuclo is going to slip in that spot. I like to see Steve Kuclo slip in that spot. I met him a long time ago and the guy is just fricking massive and he keeps getting better and better. We just never know his condition, but the last two years, his condition has gone very good. He just won a show this year. Hands down, really, really good. So that’s my top six for now.

Alex: All right. Cool, man. Cool. Well, are you going, by the way?

Ken: No, I’m not. I’m not. I’ve only gone one time.

Alex: Oh, really?

Ken: Yeah. I’ve only gone once. I’ve been to a lot of shows in different states and things like that. I’ve only gone to Mr Olympia once. It’s one of those things that kind of creeps up on you throughout the year and you go, “Oh, yeah. Olympia is coming up,” and you don’t realize you can actually go and buy a ticket. To me, it’s like out of sight, out of mind.

Alex: Yeah.

Ken: I stay engaged in sport and watch off season. And I watch a lot of videos and updates, just [inaudible 00:12:05]. I like to keep doing more.

Alex: Yeah. Back in the day. I used to go. I used to go because I have a booth there. I go there.

Ken: Yeah, sure.

Alex: But I never… Yeah, it was fun. Vegas is fun for a couple of nights, you know? That’s about it.

Ken: Mm-hm. Yeah, I know.

Alex: After two nights, you’re ready to go home.

Ken: Yeah. I’m going to throw out some names out there, some guys who didn’t make it this year.

Alex: Yeah.

Ken: There’s one guy I want to say. I know Josh Wade. He’s actually a local guy here at Sacramento. Josh is a very good bodybuilder. He’s been working very hard for a long time. He’s placed number one in the placing, but I don’t think he made the cut. Here are some other guys, like Akim Williams, Sergio Oliva, Jr., Dela Rosa, Yamagishi Hidetada. Who else? Maxx Charles, Roman Fritz. These guys didn’t make it, but these are some guys that are very good bodybuilders, like Jose Raymond. I don’t think he made it. Lionel Beyeke. These guys didn’t make. That’s a group of guys that are…some are on the downside. Some are on the upcoming side. These are huge talents. Better watch out for some of these guys.

Alex:  What’s the difference between the men’s open and the Olympia?

Ken: Well, the men’s open is the Olympia, so it’s an open class, meaning that you have to qualify to be there. It’s an open class. Now, you also have the 212 class. I think they have the 212 class too, so…

Alex: Mm-hm. Cool. All right, man. That’s about it. Oh, yeah. It’s about 40 days away, the Mr Olympia 2018.

Ken: Oh, good. Yep.

Alex: That’s about it. Okay. All right. Cool, man. Anything else?

Ken: Well, I guess anyone that’s out there, if you want to voice your opinion, I’d love to hear who you think your top six is. You can always pick your favorites, but sometimes your favorites don’t even place where they should. But it’s always good to hear the public, like what do you think of Phil Heath? Do you think that he’s a deserving champion? Post your opinion below. I think that it’s good to talk about these things as well if you want mixed opinions about Phil. I personally think if he wins one more and he’s tied with Ronnie, I think overall he has the best physique of all three. But in a social media era, I think it’s been a lot harder for him to obtain that compared to what it was in the past. I’ve heard a lot of controversy on who is the best overall. Was it Ronnie, Dorian, Phil? I heard [inaudible 00:14:39] talking again about…they didn’t talk about Phil. They talked about Lee Haney and they talked about Dorian Yates. They didn’t really say much about Phil. So I think it’s kind of sad.

I met Phil twice. I had a couple of conversations with him on his first show and I go, “Well, Phil, what’s it like?” He just won a week prior. He goes, “You know, I really don’t know. It’s not even hit me yet. I have another show coming up in a week.” He was doing, I think, Dubai show. And I said, “Really? You have nothing to say about what it feels like?” He goes, “No. It’s just it’s too overwhelming.” He said It’s amazing, but at the same time, it takes a while to sink in, like to feel that he really just beat every single human being on the planet, that he had even had a close chance of getting on a stage, winning a show, winning multiple shows, and actually getting to the Olympia and place and then actually winning. I mean, that’s got to be overwhelming to some extent. And he’s like, “Yeah. It’s crazy.” But I think he’s handled himself pretty well so far. But I love to hear everyone’s opinion about Phil Heath. I think he’s a great champion. I think he’s redeemed himself from the last speech he had last year about taking credits from a lot of people for what he did. But I give him credit too because he stands up for himself. Everyone says he can’t do this, he can’t do that, and every year he still produces the same physique. He’s always consistent and not too many people ever really come close to beating him. I think that’s pretty cool.

Alex: All right, man.

Ken: All right, bud.

Alex: Yeah. We’ll continue this. Maybe we’ll do weekly podcasts or something before it comes up. [inaudible 00:16:14] before it comes up, because he still has 40 days away, so I’m sure other stuff will come up that we could talk about and…

Ken: Absolutely.

Alex: …and come back. So yeah, maybe next week we’ll see you again.

Ken: Sounds good.

Alex: All right, man. Nice talking to you.