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Thread: RONNIE’S FIRST OLYMPIA WIN – and the Chad Nichols/Flex Wheeler connection

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    Mass Monster Peter McGough's Avatar
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    Mar 2012

    Default RONNIE’S FIRST OLYMPIA WIN – and the Chad Nichols/Flex Wheeler connection

    In another thread Kevin Levrone (see link below) talks about getting a pre-Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman into shape. Here’s Ronnie discussing the run-up to his first Sandow victory in 1998 and the Chad Nichols/Flex Wheeler connection.

    Peter McGough: Ronnie, at the 1997 Olympia you were ninth, and when doubts arose as to whether Yates would defend the title, the only ones seen as probable successors were Nasser El Sonbaty, Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray and the most favored guy Flex Wheeler. You were never mentioned but in the May contests of 1998 you came in bigger and harder and beat Levrone in two out of three contests. In previewing the 1998 Olympia I added you to that list of four as someone who could win the Olympia. I wrote, “With Flex Wheeler as the apparent popular choice to be the next Mr. O, Coleman has one clear advantage over the other leading contenders. He is the only one who can take on and beat Wheeler in a back double biceps comparison.”
    Ronnie Coleman: Hey, Peter, you ain’t as dumb as you look.

    Nobody could be that dumb Ronnie. Any road up. In early ’98 you started to work with Chad Nicholls. Was that move fundamental to your success?
    The improvement in 1998 was totally to do with Chad. He changed my diet and training philosophy. He got me doing a whole lot more cardio. From an hour a day he upped it to two hours a day. Which was a lot for me to fit in because I was still working full time as a police officer. He increased my protein intake substantially and cut back on carbs. He changed everything so much it made me think that up to that point I’d been doing everything wrong. I didn’t realize how little I knew. In fact the 1998 Olympia was the first time, due to Chad’s guidance, that I’d really nailed down the carb loading process. Before Chad I was just kidding myself that I knew what I was doing.

    When you started to work with Chad did he say you could be Mr. Olympia?
    No he never did. I guess maybe because he was looking after Flex and Nasser as well as me – the guys who were top three in the show. [Laughs] He couldn’t be telling all three of us we were going to win.

    Who’s the greatest bodybuilder you ever competed against?
    Flex [Wheeler]. He had that combination of full muscle bellies, shape, condition and mass. He’s like the bodybuilder’s bodybuilder.

    Of all the guys you competed against who were you closest to?
    Again it would be Flex by quite a distance. Not many people know it but Flex taught me a lot about the sport of bodybuilding. Again it goes back to what I said earlier about getting smarter by learning from the smartest guy in the class. After a couple of years of being a pro I thought here’s Flex winning all these shows, he must know a thing a or two about this game. So I asked him certain things and he gave me information that helped me get better. He was helpful in a way that took me from top six to winning contests. He helped me win that first Olympia. When he got working with Chad Nicholls I asked him who is this guy, how is he helping you? Flex explained and gave me Chad’s phone number and said call him. I’m sure at the time Flex wasn’t thinking, Now wait a minute I give this guy all this help and he ends up taking the Olympia ahead of me. I guess he didn’t see me as a threat until it was too late. He never said he regretted giving me the info. It’s a bit like Jay Cutler and Phil Heath. Phil was the student who eventually beat his teacher.

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