Lee Haney reflects on his career and answers what was his greatest Olympia challenge of all battles.
Lee Haney stands tall as one of only two people to hold the world record for most Mr. Olympia wins. He has eight titles shared alongside Ronnie Coleman. Two very different competitors who are both legends. Two competitors who will forever be remembered in the history of the sport. But what was Haney’s biggest challenge of all his years competing at Mr. Olympia? What was the moment he felt he could potentially lose during his reign? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Lee Haney answers the biggest battle he fought on the Olympia stage.
When looking back at a legend’s career – it’s easy to paint a broad picture of an athlete who never struggled. For Lee Haney, his eight Mr. Olympia wins seem like they were no contest. He was the best of the best who easily won due to his extreme superior physique. But was that really true? Is that how Haney himself sees his own legendary past?
When we sat down for a video interview with Lee Haney – we wanted to ask him that very question. What was the hardest battle fought during his time competing at the Mr. Olympia? Funny enough – Haney actually does make it all look easy. He claims that there was no Mr. Olympia battle during his eight years of victory where he felt threatened by the other competitors. There was no one battle that made him struggle or doubt his status as champion.
Those are definitely confident words. And Lee Haney recognizes this – which is why he goes on to elaborate his mindset during his reign as the Olympia champion.
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Lee Haney on the Olympia stage holding the Sandow trophy (above).
“I don’t say it to brag or to boast. My goal was to always try and be better than the Lee Haney of the year before,” Lee Haney states in our interview.
“So I never looked at – I heard some people say ‘well did you compete against so-and-so.’ No, I never competed against so-and-so. I’ve always competed against me. I figured if I can be better than the previous Lee Haney of the previous year, then that would put me in a place to win.”
In a way, it’s that kind of mentality that makes Lee Haney the kind of champion he eventually became. He had such confidence in his winning physique from the previous year, he felt that he only needed to improve upon himself. Haney needed to beat the best competitor on the stage. That turned out to be himself year after year. So he only worried about improving himself.
Lee Haney also reflects back on his somewhat early retirement. Ending his career at 31 years old – a time when now some bodybuilders are just beginning their pro career. Did he ever consider making a comeback?
You can get Lee Haney’s answer on that plus his full comments on his Olympia battles in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.
*Header image courtesy of Instagram