Flex Wheeler opens up about never winning the Mr. Olympia.


Flex Wheeler is widely considered to be one of the best bodybuilders of all time. This is an impressive feat considering that he was never awarded a Sandow Trophy at the Mr. Olympia. Sometimes a competitor’s physique can outlast any trophy – and that was certainly true for Flex. But how does he feel looking back? Does he regret or have ill will for never winning an Olympia? It doesn’t seem so. Quite the opposite actually. Though he wouldn’t have felt this way at the time, looking back today Flex is relieved that he never won. But why? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Flex Wheeler details how winning Mr. Olympia would have potentially sent him over the edge.

It might not be as well known among fans but amongst other athletes it was understood that Flex Wheeler was a hard man to deal with in his prime. His laser focus on winning competitions turned him inward. He only focused on himself and due to that his personality would come across selfish and aggressive. He was in it to win it and wasn’t happy with anything less. At least, that’s how Flex himself describes it.

We spoke with Flex Wheeler during the filming of Generation Iron 2 but a lot of his full interview ended up on the cutting room floor. That’s why we are releasing another unseen sequence for our GI Exclusive Vault segment. In this clip, Flex reflects back on his professional bodybuilding career. Specifically, he looks back on never having won the Mr. Olympia.

He describes a person that he argues is very different than the man sitting in the interview currently. He explains that he had many “issues” during his prime competing. Many athletes would say to him that he was very hard to be around.

While his past self might not agree, Flex Wheeler now has hindsight to see that he was almost better off not winning the Mr. Olympia. He has more confidence now that true greatness doesn’t come from a trophy – it comes from your own personal success and place in history. “You aren’t a champion just because someone, like a judge, says you are,” Flex states in our interview. He just may be right. History has now proven that many fans consider him to be one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. It seems that the Mr. Olympia title ultimately didn’t matter.

But Flex Wheeler goes on to explain that he would have perhaps fallen over the deep end had he won all those years ago. That his personality and his undealt with “issues” would have been too much upon becoming an Olympia champion. He explains:

“I’m wise enough now, if you and the viewers go back over some of the questions that you asked me and some of the things I was honest about, I had issues that I had to deal with. And that’s not being the best in the world. I’m very, very confident that if I would have succeeded at becoming the best in the world, I wouldn’t have been able to handle myself. You know, I have friends from back then… they jokingly tell me now, they wouldn’t tell me back then because I was a different type of beast back then, but they tell me now man, ‘Damn Flex. You were hard to deal with man. You were hard to be around with back in the days. It’s a pleasure to be with you now but…’ So I get it. I get it. That truly would have probably push me over the edge. I don’t think I would have been able to handle myself.”

What exactly Flex Wheeler means by “not being able to handle myself” and “pushed over the edge” isn’t explicitly stated. But it does seem that Flex believes that winning the Mr. Olympia would have been worse for him overall. Now that history has been kind to his accomplishments and his physique – it seems that perhaps in the end he was right.

You can see Flex Wheeler’s full comments about losing the Mr. Olympia in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above! If you want to relive the best moments of Generation Iron 2, it’s available now on digital! Click here or the banner below to own your digital copy today.

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Derek Dufour
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.