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Freeman vs. Schlierkamp

We put these tall bodybuilders head-to-head.

Somehow in their collective 98 pro shows Toney Freeman and Günter Schlierkamp—the two best over-six-foot-tall bodybuilders of the 21st century—competed against each other only twice. Despite Freeman’s being only 3ó years older than Schlierkamp, their careers followed different trajectories. The latter made his pro debut at 24 in 1994 and posed for the final time at 36 in 2006. In contrast, Freeman debuted at 36 in 2003, and he’s still posing today at 48. Freeman has seven pro titles, while Schlierkamp has only one, but that one is worth seven, because it was over the reigning Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman in the 2002 Show of Strength.

Their records are otherwise similar. Though neither cracked the Olympia top three, both were mainstays in the Mr. O top 10. And as for their two clashes, the first was in Freeman’s rookie season (Schlierkamp placed higher), the second was in Schlierkamp’s final contest (Freeman placed higher). They never faced each other at their peaks—until now, in photos. Who is the best tall bodybuilder of the first 15 years of the 21st century? Is it the heavier but blockier Schlierkamp, who bested the legendary Coleman in the greatest upset in bodybuilding history? Or is it the X-man Toney Freeman, who has seven pro wins and is still going strong? - FLEX

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