“Never Worshipped Bodybuilding”: Despite Winning Most Mr. Olympia Titles Ever, 63-Year-Old Legend Makes an Unheard Confession

Published 04/19/2023, 11:45 AM EDT

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The history of bodybuilding boasts of several iconic athletes that have dominated the highest stages with their champion ideologies. One bright example is Lee Haney, the eight-time Mr. Olympia, who equaled Ronnie Coleman for most title wins. In an interview with former Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, on his self-titled show, the athlete revealed a truth about himself that is unmatched by other personalities. 

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Haney explained that he never worried about the results; not even losing. He believed that everyone who’s reached the summit has worked their best to perform. Besides, the sport was not the only priority in his life. The IFBB champion stuck with his ideology and dominated the stage til 1991. 

Lee Haney disclosed his extraordinary mindset

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The 63-year-old pro got candid and chatted with Labrada about their bodybuilding days. He eventually highlighted a particular aspect of himself while competing. “One thing I never did never was in fear of Lee is that who won or who lost, I never worried about. I never felt that way about any of the competitions,” he declared. Haney justified the revelation by implying that every athlete had worked hard, and those who worked hard “enough” were rewarded with a bonus, the title. 

Moreover, the G.O.A.T emphasized that “it’s not the end of the world.” The most striking statement was, unlike several others, he never revered the sport. Thus, the athlete claimed, “I never worshipped bodybuilding, I never worshipped the sport. So I was going to shake hands with you or Rick or whoever, Mike Christian, whoever won!” 

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“I never internalized uh it’s got to be me to win, I never did, I never lost sleep, you know that,” the 5’11” pro added. Host and co-athlete, Labrada promptly backed his stance with his personal experience. The 63-year-old bodybuilder turned author shared that he recently had a similar conversation with his son; about the rewarding aspects of bodybuilding. According to him, “it’s an intrinsic reward in and of itself.” An athletic hero back in his days, Haney once opined on the state of new-age bodybuilding. 

Lee Haney once opened up about his views on the modern generation of bodybuilding 

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Days ahead of the 2022, Mr. Olympia, the former pro held high expectations for a few athletes. He shared his opinions about the 2019 Mr. Olympia winner, Brandon Curry. “I like Brandon Curry. I like Brandon. I like the way he tapers and so forth. We talked. I would like to see a little bit more muscle separation.”

Moments later, his insights gravitated toward the sport’s development over the years. Haney hinted that the sport has become more commercialized and the athletes have goals distinct from the ones from his time. “The magic and the mystique — I think it’s been a bit lost….” he shared. 

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Watch This Story: “Pancakes, Egg Whites, Bacon”: Bodybuilding Legend Ronnie Coleman Spent $136,875 on the Same Breakfast for 25 Years

It is evident that the sport has been subject to a series of changes over time. Nevertheless, the essence of the game remains unhindered along with the objectives of the athletes. What do you think? Tell us in the comments. 

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Written by:

Tiyasa Biswas

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Tiyasa is a sports writer at EssentiallySports, with a keen focus on ice hockey. She is as fascinated by the speed of the ice hockey players as she is by the surges of the surfers in the high seas. Drawing inspiration from legendary figures like Walter Gretzky, the iconic GOAT of the Edmonton Oilers, Tiyasa's writing reflects her admiration for the tenacity and grit displayed by athletes in the face of challenges.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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