Flex Wheeler Receives 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award: “What More Could You Ask For”

Flex Wheeler 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award

Bodybuilding legend Flex Wheeler gives emotional speech as he receives the 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award.

To many, Flex Wheeler is one of the most legendary bodybuilders to ever compete in the sport – despite never winning a Mr. Olympia competition. Tonight at the 2023 Arnold Classic, Flex Wheeler’s legacy was capped by receiving the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Flex Wheeler is often seen as the pinnacle of bodybuilding physiques. His career lasted over 20 years, holding his own against an era of bodybuilding’s best talents such as 8x Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, 6x Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates, and 4x Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler. Wheeler has won the Arnold Classic four times throughout his career and placed runner-up at the Mr. Olympia three times.

Flex Wheeler is also well known for the long series of struggles and medical troubles that followed him throughout his life. These health problems eventually led to Wheeler having his right leg amputated. In 2022, Wheeler also revealed that his kidneys started showing early signs of failure. Most recently, he detailed the harrowing experience he had under a new drug treatment he was prescribed.

Flex Wheeler honored with the 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award

It was announced earlier this year that Flex Wheeler would be the recipient of the 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. Just before the final results were announced – the organizers of the Arnold Classic showed a video chronicling the life, career, and accomplishments of Flex Wheeler.

Upon receiving the award directly from Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, Flex Wheeler held back tears as he delivered a powerful and emotional speech:

“I just want to get some business done before all the snot and tears come out of my eyes too much. First, I want to give honor to God without him we wouldn’t be here. Next, I want to give honor to Joe Weider, without him, none of us would be here and exist without this sport. Jim Manion when I turned pro in 1992, I had the honor of Joe and Jim walking me out on stage, and Joe told him, ‘You better give this kid a contract,’ well, he did. Thank you so much…

“If it wasn’t for the NPC there would not be an IFBB, and we would not be standing here right now. Jim Lorimer — it’s bittersweet to accept this without this you here…

“I never won the Olympia, but I had the honor of this man [Arnold Schwarzenegger] here calling me one of the greatest of all time, and that’s better to have than that recognition. The gratitude of fellow colleagues, what more could you ask for… I was built for this.’ God truly built me to last. ”


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Flex Wheeler thanked Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Manion, and the late Jim Lorimer. Wheeler also brought two of his children onto the stage with them and credited them with making him the man he is today.

Wheeler ended his speech stating that he went through a wide variety of ups and downs between his medical problems and the roller coaster of his professional bodybuilding career. However, he looks at the man he is today and ends on an optimistic note. He claimed that he would not change a thing. He is proud of the man he is today not only because of his successes – but also through what he’s learned from surviving the hardest of challenges.

You can check out our full coverage of the 2023 Arnold Classic right here to get the latest updates, exclusive interviews, and results from this weekends big event!

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.