Dorian Yates breaks down what made Ronnie Coleman so special and a top legend in the sport of bodybuilding.


Ronnie Coleman has long since been considered one of the greatest bodybuilders in the history of the sport. This is largely because of his massive physique and equally impressive conditioning. But in the filming of Ronnie Coleman: The King, we asked other pro bodybuilding legends what quality gave Ronnie that extra push to become the best. How did he achieve one of the most massive and shredded physiques of all time? In our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview, Dorian Yates reveals the most important quality that made Ronnie Coleman special.

Our full interview conversation with Dorian Yates during the filming of Ronnie Coleman: The King couldn’t all make it into the final film. That’s why we’ve been releasing extended segments from our GI Vault to give further insight into not only Ronnie but the sport of bodybuilding as a whole. One question we asked that didn’t make it fully into the film: “What made Ronnie Coleman special?”

Dorian Yates gives a standard answer to start. It’s obvious when you see photos or video of him competing. Ronnie Coleman had an insane size and insane conditioning to match. He accomplished a level of shredded physique thought impossible for a bodybuilder that size. There’s no special insight there – it’s all on face value. Anyone can see what made Ronnie a legend in the first place.

But then Dorian Yates answers further. There’s a certain quality behind the muscle and conditioning that took Ronnie Coleman a step above the competition. Of course, hard work and genetics play a large role. But that’s not what Yates is referring to during our conversation.

“Trying to find a picture of me smiling when I was Mr. Olympia… you’ll be hard pressed to find those because it’s tough, you know?” Dorian Yates states in our interview. He continues:

“And I didn’t feel like smiling because I was in a war. It was a war with myself and everyone else and so on. But Ronnie managed to do it all the time with a smile on his face so I think he’ll probably be remembered for that.”

Dorian Yates continues to detail how Ronnie Coleman made time to meet every single fan during expos and after competitions. When many other legendary and top tier athletes were tired and ready to go home – Ronnie always made time for the fans.

It seems that this powerful positivity that Ronnie Coleman maintained is directly responsible for his place in history. The hard work, the genetics, the dedication – these are all important. But it’s his positive attitude that helped him get through even the most grueling of moments.

His positivity pushed him through the heaviest workouts, the hardest of injuries, and even now barely able to walk he looks back regretting nothing. That kind of positive attitude let him soar not only to victory but to changing the sport forever.

You’ll never see a bodybuilder with the kind of size and conditioning that Ronnie Coleman maintained (although Big Ramy came mighty close this year). You’ll also never see another bodybuilder with the kind of boundless positive attitude that Ronnie had either. Both seem separate but are integral to each other. It’s what made him The King.

You can watch Dorian Yates’ full comments in our GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. You can also watch Ronnie Coleman: The King on digital today! Click here or the banner below to stream or download!

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Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.