FLEX: YOU, RONNIE COLEMAN, DORIAN YATES, LEE HANEY, AND ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER–ALL OF YOU AT PEAK FORM–WHERE DO YOU FINISH?
PHIL HEATH: Top three, at the least. Top three all day. I’m trying to figure that one out. I would like to put myself at No. 1—I mean, only two of us, me and Coleman, have been in a two-day Olympia, and it’s a different challenge. Can’t just go by pictures and video, because there was no high-def photography, and it can be hard to see the detail, if there is any detail. My peak against theirs? For now, I’m going to say I finish second. For now.
FLEX: WHAT IS YOUR SECRET FOR DEALING WITH THE COLD OF WINTER IN THE NETHERLANDS?
WILLIAM BONAC: There is no secret. You just have to dress warmly when you’re outside and when you’re on your way to the gym, and you’ll be OK.
FLEX: DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-CONTEST RITUALS OR THINGS YOU DO BEFORE YOU STEP ONSTAGE FOR A CONTEST?
WILLIAM BONAC: Sure. I pray before contests—I ask God to protect me against any harm and to get me on and off the stage healthy and whole.
FLEX: HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BODYBUILDERS AND SOME OF THEIR FANS?
SHAWN RHODEN: I don’t think love/hate is really what’s behind it. Athletes are displaying physiques that are difficult to develop. It’s a combination of a lot of things—diet, training, genetics, discipline, all that. The people who are throwing out the worst of the comments, I think it’s because they can’t accomplish that kind of look on their own—it’s beyond what they can achieve, either because of one of those factors I mentioned before or for some other reason. It’s upsetting to them. The fact is that only a small percentage of the population is going to have all those factors working for them, and they’re not part of that small percentage—and it makes them mad.
FLEX: WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?
JUAN MOREL: I’m very thankful for my family—my wife and daughter. I wouldn’t be complete without them. I’m thankful for the life I have—with bodybuilding, I pretty much get to do what I love, and on top of that I’m lucky enough to have fans who support me.
FLEX: DO YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR POSING EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE TO KEEP IT FRESH?
JUAN MOREL: The answer to that is yes, I think so. But in 2017 I did five shows, and I kept to the same routine for all of them! If I had won and made it to the Olympia, I would have developed a new routine, but that turned out not to be an issue.
FLEX: WHEN YOU’VE REACHED THE OLYMPIA STAGE FOUR YEARS IN A ROW, IS THERE ADDED PRESSURE TO CONTINUE THE STREAK?
STEVE KUCLO: For sure, there is pressure—but sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward. There is nothing like getting on the Olympia stage, which is the Super Bowl of bodybuilding and the pinnacle of what we as professional bodybuilders work our butts off for. I feel I need to make some bigger changes that require time to rest, grow, and train in order to bring an improved package. I am still young by bodybuilding standards— just turning 32—so I have time on my side. I plan to try to qualify for the next Olympia at the Arnold in Ohio to start off the 2018 season.