Every few years in the sport of bodybuilding, we see anomalies. In 1983 we saw the huge imposing frame of a 5-foot-11, 23-year-old Lee Haney storming to the Mr. Olympia and taking a stunning third place, beating three-time Mr. Olympia (1977-1979) Frank Zane (4th) and the roaring crowd favorite Bertil Fox in fifth. One year later, at 24 years old, Lee won his first of eight Mr. Olympia titles, a run only matched by the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time, not an actual goat) himself, Ronnie Coleman. In 1987 we saw a 21-year-old called Shawn Ray storm to victory at the NPC Nationals in Miami, Florida. Back then, the 20-somethings were making an impact, plenty of times.
BIGGER IS BETTER, RIGHT?
As the sport developed into the ‘90s and into the start of the new millennium, we saw a growth in physique development in both size and conditioning. The kinds of bodies we were seeing on stage were simply taking more and more time to build. Dorian Yates, in 1993, at 257 pounds, took Lee Haney’s all-time high and best of 250 pounds (at the 1991 Mr. Olympia in Orlando, Florida) to a whole new level with an increased level of hardness and dense, granite muscularity. The game had changed – and it kept changing. Ronnie Coleman, a decade after Dorian’s shocking physique and second win in ’93, and – when you thought the impossible had been achieved – along came Ronnie and he smashed the boundaries of human muscularity. But Ronnie that year was 39. It simply took time for a body that size to be assembled and to truly smash the body’s muscular limitations. Then, finally, in 2018, Shawn Rhoden won the Mr. Olympia at a record age of 43. Hell, even Dexter Jackson was still competitive at the 2020 Mr. Olympia, at age 51.
THEN ALONG CAME BIG VLAD …
Whilst conducting research for “MD Global Muscle,” OK, when I say research, I mean “scrolling through Instagram” (same thing, kinda); being an eager muscle-hound journo, we are always looking out for the next big thing. Potentially, anyway. When I began writing for MD back in 2010, MD bossman Steve Blechman announced my joining the team by noting: “This is the man that discovered Zack Khan,” a monstrous 280-pound bodybuilder with 23-inch arms from the UK (by way of Kashmir, Pakistan, originally) that set the bodybuilding world alight with his hilarious personality and – of course – insanely freaky physique. As I scrolled on IG, I came across another eye-catching physique. Tapping on his profile, the first thing I noticed was “Team Oxygen.”
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WHO IS THE KING OF ALL FREAKS- RONNIE OR RAMY?
When Big Ramy was crowned Mr. Olympia last December, it was the first time a man over 250 pounds had held that title in over a decade. At 290 pounds, we hadn’t seen such a mass monster rule the sport since the days of Ronnie and Jay. Ronnie Coleman remains the heaviest man to ever win the Mr. Olympia at a bodyweight of 296 in 2004. Comparisons between the two colossal men, Ramy and Ronnie, soon sprung up everywhere online and in social media. Who is the king of all freaks? To answer that, we sought out the best-qualified men to answer that question: Giles Thomas, Ronnie Coleman himself, and the only man to coach both champions to Mr. Olympia wins, Chad Nicholls.
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