GILES ‘TIGER’ THOMAS
Photographer and journalist since 1995, former UK Market Manager for Ronnie Coleman Signature Series
King of ALL freaks? Hmm, I’d like to say this is a tough one to answer, but my Dad didn’t raise no liar, no sir. It’s pretty easy. Why? I’ll tell you.
Let’s break it down. We have the new Mr. Olympia, Big Ramy. He’s big; the clue is in the name. For seven long, agonizing years, we waited, we hoped that Egypt’s finest would, pardon my French, get his shit together. We saw him storm to victory at two New York Pro victories, one year making even 2007 Mr. Olympia runner-up Victor Martinez look positively, well, “not so big” next to Big Ramy. (Did I mention the clue is in the name?) But this was Ramy with still many improvements to make; the structure was all there, the size was certainly there (hoo-whee), but the balance was “off,” the conditioning, inconsistent. Seemingly, his team – at that time – wanted Ramy to live up to the name; they wanted him to be the biggest thing who ever stood on an Olympia stage.
I remember legendary industry photographer Kevin Horton, fresh back from his trip to Kuwait, raving to me over the phone at how he had just shot Ramy at a whopping 150kg bodyweight. That’s 330 pounds, my friends. “If he nails it, Giles, he will win the Olympia,” Kevin stated boldly. Well, that was six or seven years ago. For the following few years, we grew weary, the conditioning was – to be fair - hit and miss, the same physique strengths and weaknesses were being presented onstage. We lost faith; well, some of us did anyway.
Let us fast-forward now to the 2020 Mr. Olympia. Ramy – receiving the special invite – came in like a Stealth Bomber, with no pictures, no videos, nothing. Just quietly working away with Chad Nicholls and staying at his friend Dennis James’ house in Arizona, reportedly posing three times a day for Dennis, steadily grinding away. No fuss, no noise, like a ninja. A big one. On December 19th and 20th in Orlando, Florida, a 289-pound completely rebooted version of Ramy was unveiled. The conditioning was fixed; the leg separation, better. The size? Unmatched by anyone else in that contest. Ramy won/steamrolled the Mr. Olympia, the 16th man to do so.
But what about Ronnie Coleman? KING Ronnie Coleman? After all, in the land of freakdom have we all lost our tiny, feeble minds and simply forgotten what he brought to the stage? I was lucky enough to see Ronnie in his prime, on stage. The first time was in 1996 at the British Grand Prix, at two Mr Olympias (2001 and 2002, definitely not his best years, but still, damned impressive) and also at the 2004 British Grand Prix. Ronnie was over 300 pounds in that one. Shredded. The muscle bellies, the fullness, oh my. It was a site to behold, we all gasped in the audience. ALL of us. King Coleman at his all-time freakiest. For me? Nothing even comes close to that. Not Ramy, not anyone.
But – just like Ronnie – Big Ramy took a few years to really hit his stride. Hell, Ronnie was getting nowhere in the Mr. Olympia for several years before he morphed into the G.O.A.T. My point is, let’s revisit this comparison in a few years, shall we? It was six years of even BEING Mr. Olympia before we saw Ronnie hit the 2003 Olympia stage at the likes of something never before seen on ANY bodybuilding stage that left everyone else fighting for second place. So, let’s talk then yeah, and then let’s see who really is – who truly is – the F.O.A.T. (Yeah, buddy).
EIGHT-TIME MR. OLYMPIA RONNIE COLEMAN SPEAKS!
Who carried more mass, you or Ramy?
I think I carried a little bit more than he did. I might be a little bit taller than him, too. At the 2004 Mr. Olympia I was 296 pounds, the year before I had been 286.
What differences do you see between your two physiques?
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Bodybuilding Nutrition 101
Class is in session with professor Milos 'The Mind' Sarcev!
All-in-One Complete Fat Burning Supplements Pills. Powder. New Non-Stim Powder
Anabolic Synergy for Max Muscle
Regan Grimes His Time Is Now!
For nearly two decades now, since Dorian Yates ushered in the era of “mass monsters," bodybuilding fans have been divided into two camps: those who prefer to see athletes with outrageous amounts of sheer size, i.e., the freaks; and those who favor aesthetics; bodybuilders with beautiful shape and symmetry.
The Brooklyn Beast Game Plan
COVID Knocked Akim Williams Down, But He's Back Up!
PERIODIZATION IN BODYBUILDING
Using Variation for Maximal Growth
REVOLUTIONARY MEAL REPLACEMENT
Dream Fat Burner, Muscle Builder or Medical Nightmare?
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Blessing Awodibu Is Out for REDEMPTION
CLASSIC TRAINING CAMP
"You should treat calf raises like squats or deadlifts, meaning give them the same focus and intensity. If you do that, your calves will grow."
JERSEY SHORE RONNIE FACING NEW ABUSE RAP
LIFE’S no picnic for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro — cops arrested the reality beefcake after they responded to a 911 domestic violence call and say they found bruises on his girlfriend, Saffire Matos!
AUCTION OF A RONNIE VAN ZANT PORTRAIT
MICHAEL CARTELLONE has given his musical talent to many a band in need of a professional drummer. He toured and recorded for acts as varied as Cher, Freddie Mercury, Adrian Belew and John Fogerty. He is the former drummer of ’90s hard rock supergroup Damn Yankees and German metallers Accept, and he is currently the drummer for Southern rock stalwarts Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The Right Move
New shops and showrooms bring exciting opportunities for local designers, makers, and arts organizations to sell their wares to home enthusiasts here and everywhere.
Think Like a Dog, and “Shhh!”
Meemo’s Farm, a prime bird hunting destination in north-central Michigan, was the setting for dog trainer Ronnie Smith’s “Foundation Seminar,” a two-day introduction to the “Silent Command System” of dog training. Participants ranged in experience from those working with their first dogs to professional handlers/guides to veteran trainers with more than 40 years of experience.
JERSEY SHORE FAMILY VACATION - Thurs., Nov. 19 on MTV
1968 Chevelle SS396 Vintage Drag Test!
As the lights come down, you squeeze the engine toward six grand, slide your leftfoot off the clutch, stab the loud pedal between the last yellow and the green, and bang!— 375 horses (a 425 Performance Rating via NHRA’s new system) launch you off the line for a near record run. Right? Wrong! At least that’s the way it was on every run we made with this month’s drag test vehicle, a ’68 Chevrolet SS396 Chevelle hardtop.”
It might not have been LaborDay, but the BMX world was anxious to finally return to the longtime Louisville tradition. ...and it was well worth the wait!
The Cutting of a True Citrus Classic
Yes. Rowdy is his real name. As his dad tells us, they’d first considered Rogue, but while watching a PBR rodeo, they saw a cowboy named Rowdy go eight seconds - and instantly thought that was a cool name.
Between the third and fourth straight at Star City BMX there is a small marsh, lined with tall cattails and filled with tadpoles.