IN THE HOT SEAT: KAI GREENE:
At the 2012 Mr. Olympia, Kai Greene unveiled a physique that many in attendance felt was at or near his all-time best. With a streamlined waist and fine detailing, the contest became a two-man duel between Greene and defending champ Phil Heath. Despite Greene’s best efforts, Heath retained the title and a week later and halfway across the world, the outcome was identical at the Sheru Classic. But, as Greene says, “2013 is another year” and the No. 2 bodybuilder on the planet is focusing only on the Olympia. And unlike past off-seasons, Greene has been staying remarkably lean. His eye-popping condition for guest posings, especially compared to his fellow Olympia-bound competitors, has generated plenty of talk about what could possibly go down at the big O. We sat down with the Predator and got the full scoop as we count down the weeks leading up to Ultimate Nutrition presents the 2013 IFBB Joe Weider’s Fitness and Performance Weekend, brought to you by Bodybuilding.com, September 26–29 in Las Vegas, NV.
“I’m inspired to imagine what my best will actually be, and I’m eager to share that with the world.”
ON HIS FIRST MR. OLYMPIA IN 2009
The opportunity was amazing considering that there was a time when being on that stage was almost unthinkable. You spend a million moments getting ready and once it happens, you’re only onstage for a few minutes and then it’s all over. Up until that point, the [magazine] write-ups weren’t very favorable and I got the sense that I was still on the outside looking in. I felt like I was the guy who wasn’t invited to the dance but came anyway because I knew somebody who was. But still, there was the expectation to do exceedingly well. There was a lot to prove [Greene placed fourth].
ON PLACING SEVENTH AT THE 2010 MR. OLYMPIA
The fact that you went from being uninvited to having the red carpet almost rolled out for you was a significant change. All of a sudden, in the days leading up to the show, every phone call was a new opportunity. The world was a bright and beautiful place that was responding to the brilliance of the opportunity that your efforts seemed to represent. But the day after the show, the experience was quite the opposite. No one returns your phone calls because they’re busy celebrating with the people that did better in meeting the expectations of what was expected of them. I remember feeling intensely embarrassed. But I chose to use that experience to help me move forward in a positive way. Often times, life and death are spoken of in the same breath and it’s really important how you choose to look at things because sometimes you may think it’s harmless, but a negative, hopeless way of thinking can lead to self-sabotage and self-destruction and the inability to realize your brightest dreams. I have to say I was fortunate enough to have had some experiences along the way that really went a long way toward putting things in their proper perspective. You learn that even what you may first perceive as being negative can contribute to empowering you in a positive manner. The setback is temporary to the desired end result—if you have the right mind-set and the will to get the necessary work done.
ON SECOND PLACE (DOES IT REALLY SUCK?)
Honestly, it’s always easier to judge when you’re not in the middle of it. I know from experience now that there’s a lot more information that has to be considered. Ultimately, everyone wants their best efforts to be rewarded, but I don’t think that we possess the ability to be as impartial as we like to think we can be. I’d love to be able to get the response that I’m praying for, but even if that doesn’t happen, I still need to be OK with that and recognize the opportunity available to me. I believe everything prepares you for the next level in your life. For example, what kind of road did you travel on your way to becoming Mr. Olympia? If you haven’t been through anything, what is the message you can impart? If you’ve gone through some hardships and you’ve been fortunate enough to be a better athlete, a better person because of them, you’re much more capable of recognizing the opportunity available to you in that moment, and that message of hope is something you can impart to someone else who might be able to use it. They see that you struggled before you experienced success, and that can be an inspiring observation for a person who is still on the road, a road that can at times test your limits, to achieving their own goals.
Kai accepting defeat at the hands of Phil Heath in 2012.
ON GOOD FRIEND SHAWN RHODEN
I’ve been fortunate enough to be in touch with Shawn Rhoden for the past few years. I remember he was dealing with particularly trying situations, and being there for him and encouraging him not to give up, to see the bigger and brighter opportunities that lay ahead of him. That’s the thing with this thing we call life: It really does take something extra to see beyond difficult moments and stay focused on the bigger promise ahead. The fact that he