by Christian Duque
A new Netflix series titled "Breaking The Olympia" is said to be in the works and will include 7x Mr. Olympia Phil "The Gift" Heath. I just watched an interesting interview clip between the legend and Giles "Tiger" Thomas from Muscular Development. In the interview, Phil insists that he doesn't want to cry about the past, but it's clear that he somewhat despises Generation Iron and its portrayal in the main film. Heath, who had historical fights during his tenure as the world's largest bodybuilder, was almost eradicated in 2016 and eventually overthrown by Shawn "Flexatron" Rhoden in 2018. Although he was injured and unscathed, Phil gave everything he had in 2018, but it wouldn't be enough to prevent the Flexatron train from falling from Phil's oppressed opposition. The 7x champion really fought, although his efforts proved hopeless in the face of Rhoden's onslaught.
After his defeat, the ex-champ was operated on and concentrated on the gym. Many thought he would return in 2019, but speculation was put to rest at the Olympic press conference. Phil was very loud, criticized Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, probably through proxies, and underwent a PR revision at the same time. He was very busy interviewing cutters, promoting his Phil Heath Labs, and publishing content that at least suggested a possible return. No question if Phil wants to come back and his heart is in her, he can do it very well, but it won't be a cake run. What is interesting, however, is Phil's memory of the past.
In the part of the interview I saw, Phil said to Giles that he felt that the portrayal of Generation Iron had brought him both a bad name and a good fortune. Unlike documentaries that only tell the story, Generation Iron wanted to follow the traces of Pumping Iron. Indeed, many saw a direct resemblance in terms of advertising and the reactions of the people who saw them. It was a very successful picture, with great resources and an excellent plot. Besides, if Phil got off like a paragraph, it may have been part of the plot, but it's his voice that I hear, his mannerisms that I see, and his usual approach to things.
When Phil talks about how easy it is to fire Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and boasts that he beat him with a perfect score, it's not the result of video splicing. The fact is, Jay spotted Phil; He was very supportive when he defeated him in 2010, he was extremely supportive when Phil won, and Jay made sure that he treated Phil as he probably wished Ronnie had treated him. However, this relationship has suffered over the years. Phil has stopped showing Jay the respect Jay deserves – at least that's how I saw it from my position in the media. It wasn't Generation Iron's fault, any more than you can blame the film for Phil's behavior compared to Kai Greene in 2014, Shawn Rhoden in 2017, or his word war with then social media superstar Luimarco. When a person wins the Sandow, it's like winning the Stanley Cup or the World Series. The last thing you expect is for the champion to clap a phone while his entourage runs aimlessly after him. It looks bad and the whole world has seen it.
Generation Iron didn't make Phil the bad guy, he did it all on his own. There is a reason why he needs a PR revision and why he only does softball interviews. Nobody calls him about his antics and nobody denies his victim mentality. I think a big part of why Phil had such a low tolerance for criticism – whether constructive or not – is because he was the first Mr. Olympia to reign at the height of social media. I give him a lot of credit for it and I have forgiven many of his gimmicks. Most previous champions never had to endure this level of trolling and Phil was definitely trolled, but he did everything wrong. If you are the best bodybuilder in the world, if you earn big prize money, collect big checks from sponsors, collect the money for posing guests, for seminars and for appearances in business and then abuse it on social media or other media The message boards are just something you may have to deal with. The fact that he blocked so many people doesn't say much about how much he expanded the sport.
There are some legitimate handles Phil could have. For example, the Iron generation, who brought forward the story that Kai lived and had to fight in his cramped little apartment, was a total Hollywood fluff. We have seen this approach in countless videos with Kai's old sponsor, Muscle Meds, MD, RX and others. It is very marketable. The idea that The Predator Arnolds won and lived like a poor man is silly. The idea that he got monthly checks from supp companies, magazines and gigs while going to the dollar store to buy copied Tupperware is also silly. Pinning this peasant against an employee, Phil Heath with college education and privilege, is a legitimate reason Phil could choose with the film. Apart from that, Phil had to know that this would happen, because that's how Kai marketed himself the longest. Why should Generation Iron be different? If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Like Kai, Phil also had to portray a fictional page for himself – a personality made for television, if you will. When Heath said he realized when he was wrong and that he showed a little humility from time to time, it was completely inaccurate. A humble man would not have made fun of how Kai Greene signed a poster or when Pro Supps brought out a graphic with her then-sponsored athlete Shawn Rhoden. A person who admits that they are wrong would not be to blame for the bad reputation he has earned throughout his career for a film half a decade ago. I can't sit still and be indifferent when I see media in the industry queuing up to passively interview someone who is actively trying to rewrite history and blame others for their misfortune. I'm also not sure how the film helped him win more Sandows, as he said in the MD interview, but I don't usually think too much about what Phil says. I think he's very smart, very motivated, but he's also a classic businessman. Kai Greene also talks a lot of crap, don't get me wrong.
The bottom line was Generation Iron entertainment. It went very well and as a result sequels were made and it became an important website in the media world. I don't remember that Phil was ever upset about how he was portrayed in Generation Iron. In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone involved loved it. The thing is, Phil may have to create a drama so that people pay attention to him, so that there is some interest in the production he is leading. He was eventually accused of shadowing Brandon Curry to get hits, much like many 90s stars did. The fact is that Phil could follow the example of these old farts because he sees that he will get a few more interviews. When was the last time Jay Cutler talked crap about Phil, Shawn or Brandon? Never. On the other hand, with the support of Dave Bourlet, Jay has a hugely successful YouTube channel, a supplement line that people like, and a calendar full of gigs. On the other hand, Phil conducts interviews on the computer, takes selfies in the gym and deals with brokerage conventions.
I'm sorry, but let's say the obvious. Softball interviews, rewriting history, shadowing current champions, and playing the victim sum up Phil Heath's efforts for 2020 pretty well. The year still has eleven months, so hopefully there won't be much of it anymore. Will he ever come back on stage? I would say no. It's so much easier to talk about than standing up against Brandon, William and hopefully Shawn Rhoden soon. This is how Roelly Winklaar prepares for the Olympics all year round. Do you really think Phil wants to be 110% next to The People’s Champion? I do not believe that! I'm pretty sure we'll see Phil up there when Kai comes back, which will never be.
I'm not particularly fond of Breaking The Olympia, but since I've already subscribed to Neftlix, I'm going to take a look and write an honest review. I hope it's good and I wish Phil all the best. I definitely don't hate the guy, I just wish he would take some responsibility and have his past. I used to be a fan and would love to do it again, but I am a journalist and have stayed true to my craft.
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