Flex Flex UK - January 2018 - Page 15

something on your mind and you’re at a press conference, what better place to say it? You saw Ramy. Ramy’s was a little more rehearsed, if you ask me. It sounded like it wasn’t really something he wanted to say, but he did anyway. I mean, the guy basically said that he was going to be the best Mr. Olympia champion of all time. That’s really a big statement. [Laughs] I don’t even think he realised what he said. But at the same time, I was thinking, “Finally, someone wants to say something.” I’m not going to ridicule another athlete for believing in himself or wanting to be the best. I’m OK with it. What’s the significance of seven Olympia wins for you? Obviously, you’re tied with Arnold Schwarzenegger now. Seven definitely means without a shadow of a doubt that I’m a Hall of Famer. And you have to throw me in there as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Because I’ve faced adversity, and I’ve gone against multiple second-place people. To defend against various people throughout your legacy is important. It really means to me that I’ve been able to persevere through life’s challenges and truly be a champion. To be seven-time Mr. Olympia in this climate that we live in, with social media and this and that—no disrespect to the other athletes, but they couldn’t do it. Because the expectations are far greater than what we saw back when Ronnie and even Jay were competing, because of how social media is. The pressure is there. Everybody has a phone. I mean, I’m literally there last night, in Las Vegas [four days after winning the Olympia], having a night where I can go get something to eat, and I figure I’ll go play some blackjack for an hour. And someone took a picture of it. I’m the face of the sport, and that comes with a lot of pressure. You can’t hide. And if you’re an introvert, like many bodybuilders are, you’re going to have to change your DNA. So, aside from anything I just told you, to be able to walk around and say, “No matter what happens to me from this day forward, I’ve tied Arnold been as dominant on the Olympia stage as anyone in history. What do you need to do to be considered the GOAT in bodybuilding? Will it take nine Olympia wins and passing Haney and Coleman? Or 10 maybe? I think I’m in it. But the timing of when Arnold was the champion was important. A lot of new things emerged— not just with the magazines, but supplements were just starting to take form. He was illuminated in the magazines so heavily that it made him look like a Schwarzenegger,” is something. No one else can say that except Coleman and Haney. That’s it. I take that with great pride. god. That’s why people remember him, because of how he was portrayed. And he beat a lot of amazing athletes. He was a very strong-willed, confident- slash-cocky guy. He was very focused and very driven. I think people look at champions by their attitudes and how they approach things, and how they make people feel. You and most everyone else still refer to Arnold Schwarzenegger as the “GOAT” (greatest of all time), but at what point do you enter that discussion? You’ve JANUARY 2018 | FLEX 13