Phil Heath has gone out of his way to criticize the one figure in bodybuilding that seemed untouchable, but it will not effect his future as the reigning four-time Mr. Olympia. Since Arnold Schwarzenegger had previously criticized the IFBB judges – and even mentioned league president Jim Manion’s name while doing so – the man known as “The Gift” will defend his title in September without worrying about any politics coming into play.
One would think that blasting Schwarzenegger would be career suicide, but Heath seems as if he is taking shots at The Austrian Oak as part of his newfound “stardom” tour with being on TMZ and Bloomberg TV. Perhaps Heath feels that he can finally become the “next Arnold” that everyone has been waiting for and is not satisfied just winning Sandows at this point in his career.
Heath may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. He knows exactly what he is doing and Schwarzenegger has gone (in some people’s eyes) from hero to bully and Heath’s strategy is apparently to go after the biggest kid in the schoolyard – even if that sours some people on him.
The first salvo was fired by Heath in a video posted by NPC News Online when Frank Sepe asked him about Schwarzenegger’s wide midsection comments. He responded:
“I think what the new fan did was attach themselves to that comment more than the people that have been in it for a long time.”
We politely disagree and feel that the longtime fans are the ones who have been complaining about this the most and obviously longer than the ones who were not even born until after Dorian Yates – the first massive Mr. Olympia – took over from the more aesthetic Lee Haney.
“I think that all of the judges got it right at the Arnold,” he continued, “and they get it right at the Olympia. The guys with the distention didn’t place well so you guys (sic) gotta stop with this whole ‘who’s aesthetic and who’s not’ because the guys’s who are winning already have it.”
That is debatable, as Dexter Jackson (the winner of the 2015 Arnold Classic and on four prior occasions) did get the nod in 2013 with a distended gut and Heath has also been criticized for having one at times, as well. While both have quality physiques, they are not totally exempt from this, either.
That was miniscule compared to the Facebook post (on Heath’s verified account) when he responded to someone by dismissing their request for Heath – being a potential ambassador for the sport as its top athlete – to lead the charge, if you will, to bring bodybuilding back to the days of the aesthetic physique and that Schwarzenegger was correct:
“I believe you’re wrong, as our sport generates more fans daily than ever before with more pro shows all over the world. More fitness businesses than ever and companies due to the heavy influence of bodybuilding. I, for one, have benefitted by even being accepted on Bloomberg TV doing a segment on “Street Smarts,” so (sic) not so sure if your post is valid enough to refute my reality. I also think that it’s at times the athletes’ inability to train our breathing more than you think, as we are all much larger than our predecessors ever were. Oh, and Arnold, as we know, had no legs. So let’s remind ourselves that.”
Heath has deservedly been taking some flak for the last remark on the various bodybuilding websites and leave it up to Muscular Development’s Bob Cicherillo to avoid the topic by joining the attack on Schwarzenegger. We understand that he is the IFBB athlete’s representative, but these posts on the MD forum seem to go in line with Cicherillo’s head-in-the-sand public stance on the entire HGH gut issue.
When one of their forum members brought up the possibility that a modern day Schwarzenegger would in fact have bigger legs because he would have been using the current steroid regimen, Cicherillo replied:
“Allright Counselor…I’ll retort. Arnold might have (sic) substancially bigger legs with todays supps…but would his waist be larger as a result…?”
C’mon, Chick. You can’t even say ‘drugs’ and have to call them ‘supps?’ Whatever. Then he replied to another post that stated (correctly) that Schwarzenegger possessed a tiny waist:
“Dont know about “tiny”…small for HIM perhaps.”
It appears that a good majority of the industry has turned their collective backs on Schwarzenegger not because he complained about the waistlines on the competitors (which he has done in the past without the same fallout), but because he took it up a notch by putting it directly on the judges and Manion and telling media outlets to do the same.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We will be posting a follow-up article regarding the overall anti-Schwarzenegger sentiment that has been prevalent in many media outlets in the bodybuilding industry.