U IS FOR UBIQUITY
Since making his pro debut at the Arnold Classic on March 6, 1999, Jack- son has been in seemingly every major contest, covering a span so long it’s encompassing a fifth presidential election. In this, his record 18th pro year, he’ll flex in his record 17th Olympia. He is bodybuilding’s all-time ironman.
V IS FOR VENICE
“It’s the most famous gym in the world,” he says of Gold’s Gym Venice. “There’s so much history here you just can’t help but get up for each workout in the Mecca.” The flagship Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA, has been his workplace for the past six years.
W IS FOR WINS
After this year’s New York Pro, Jackson’s 25 pro wins puts him only one behind Coleman’s record 26. The Blade’s tally includes two masters pro shows, but, even if we limit it to open contests, the all-time mark is within reach.
X IS FOR X-FRAME
Most bodybuilders who are both short and hefty are built like boxes. Think Branch Warren. Because of a wispy waist beneath broad shoulders and above full quads, the Blade carries his superheavy mass like a light-heavyweight. His silhouette forms a distinctive X.
Y IS FOR YOUTH
We rightfully celebrate his success as an elder statesman, but he was once a bodybuilding prodigy. After pursuing football, martial arts, and track and field in high school, Jackson, at age 20, entered his first bodybuilding contest, the 1990 Jacksonville Physique. Though he was a 137-pound bantamweight rookie, he took the overall title. Growing into classes, he progressed through the ranks. In 1995, at 25, he won the USA light-heavy class.
Z IS FOR ZENITH
In a career with so many titles and records, it’s difficult to pinpoint a highlight. The 2008 Mr. Olympia is hard to top. But there are also the record five Arnold Classic victories. His ultimate achievement may be yet to come—the record for most IFBB pro wins. That could be Jackson’s this year or maybe next year. Or perhaps he’ll still be adding to his tally several years from now, as the Blade continues, against all odds, to confound his greatest rival—Father Time.