by Matt Weik
In a very emotional message on social media, Dexter Jackson brought the news of his retirement after the 2020 Mr. Olympia contest. He was a bit constipated and rightly so – bodybuilding has been the driving force behind this man for decades. At 50, it is clear that Dexter Jackson is not getting any younger. Nevertheless, we look at this man with uncertainty if he is really human.
When the word "bodybuilding" is spoken, there are names that flow from your tongue in relation to who the big ones were / are in sports. The Dexter Jackson name will be anchored in bodybuilding forever. Nobody has achieved as much as Dexter and I don't think anyone will ever do it. Dexter's name could stand forever as a bodybuilder with most professional victories in the history of sport.
Dexter Jackson has nothing left to prove
For the past 20+ years, we've been blessed with Dexter's presence in bodybuilding. Dexter Jackson has always been one of the most complete and consistent bodybuilders ever to enter a competitive bodybuilding phase. It's hard not to see Dexter's midsection as an industry icon. It didn't matter which show Dexter went on, you always knew he would get in shape.
Dex’s career started in 1992 and in 1999 we finally saw him on a pro stage for his debut at the Arnold Classic. Dexter Jackson has five Arnold Classic Ohio titles, three Arnold Europe titles, one Arnold Australia title, two Arnold South Africa titles, and one 2008 Olympic title, where he defeated the great Jay Cutler.
With the family tree that Dexter carries with him, there is nothing more to prove. Sure, he mentioned there are still a couple of shows he wants to attend in 2020 that he'd like to win, but the fact is that victory or nothing changes the legacy this man has created.
Would it be great to see Dexter win all of the Arnold Classic he will be this year and then go to the Olympics at full steam for his second Sandow Trophy? Absolutely. Do I think things are going exactly as I said? No. But you can't tap the fact that at 50, Dexter does things in the bodybuilding world that people in the 20s or 30s NEVER do or achieve. Dexter Jackson figured out how to have a long lifespan in sports. And if the younger generation is smart, they would buy a meal for Dexter and sit down to find out how they could hold out in sports for as long as he could.
There will never be a Dexter Jackson in this sport again
As I sit here and write this article, I smile when I think of Dexter Jackson's career. All the victories, the clapping between competitors, the bombs of knowledge that he would drop in relation to training and nutrition, the DVD that he put together with Alex Ardenti with the title "Dexter Jackson: Unbreakable" – which is 100% true , Dexter has been truly unbreakable throughout his career. It didn't matter what was thrown at him, he insisted.
As the industry is today, no one will ever beat the victory record that Dexter Jackson set. Far too many bodybuilders just focus on the Olympics and nothing else. In the meantime, Dexter never ventured too far from the form of the competition, which allowed him to take part in several shows and win each year. The fact that he stayed mostly conditioned is probably why he was so consistent since he didn't have much weight to lose out of the off-season, as some of these other bodybuilders have to do.
Dexter is really unique. There are passionate bodybuilders on stage – and then there is Dexter Jackson. He is a completely different breed. One that will never be duplicated.
What's next for retired Dexter?
I could be wrong, but I just don't see Dexter driving into the sunset and completely leaving the sport. If I had to guess, I would expect him to do a couple of shows with his name every year, and I can see him training or coaching some of the aspiring bodybuilders.
Dexter has such a passion and love for sport that I can't see him sitting on his couch doing nothing and distracting himself from bodybuilding. It is in his blood. I just don't think Dexter is the guy who plays golf and hits the tee every morning at 7am to get 18 holes. The gym is his haven and apparently his second home. Except for Arnold, I'm not sure there is any other person out there who has looked more inside a gym than Dexter Jackson.
To be honest, it would be a shame if Dexter left the sport for good. I can understand that after more than 20 years, bodybuilding puts a strain on the body and that it may want to step back and relax a bit, but I don't see that it lasts long. Like Arnold, I believe that for Dexter, the gym is a way to clear your head and do some things – much like it is for many of us.
Thank you and good wishes in retirement
As a longtime bodybuilding fan, I just want to thank you, Dexter. They have inspired many of us to go to the gym and push up. You entertained us every time you stepped on the stage and I stand by my word that there will never be another Dexter Jackson in this sport – never. I wish you all the best for your retirement later this year and hope that we won't see you at a trade fair for the last time. Only next time will it be in the crowd with all the other fans and spectators. Cheers, my friend, and good luck this season.