Olympia 2020: Phil Heath – “The Best Thing That Happened To Me Was Actually Losing In 2018”

Phil Heath opens up about his 2018 loss during the Olympia 2020 press conference.

One of the biggest things that fans were excited for at the Olympia 202 was the return of Phil Heath. Rewind to two and a half years ago and Heath had seven Olympia wins. He just needed one more to tie the world record for most Sandow trophies. In the end that didn’t happen. He lost to Shawn Rhoden in 2018 and then stepped down from competing.

While Phil Heath never officially retired, he was very quiet about his future plans. Fans were wondering whether or not we would ever see him again. Fast forward to today and we now have Phil Heath back at the Olympia weekend event. He’s hungry for his eight Sandow trophy.

Despite the excitement of Phil Heath’s return, many fans were curious as to what kind of Phil Heath we would see on stage. Would he be slightly off like the man we saw in 2018? Or would his year break give him a renewed vigor and improved physique? We still haven’t seen him on stage yet – but Heath has finally opened up in more detail about is loss and what his mindset is for this weekend. In fact, Phil Heath thinks that his loss at Olympia 2018 was a good thing for him.

“The best thing that happened to me was actually losing in 2018,” Phil Heath stated during the Olympia 2020 press conference. He continued:

“That was the best thing that ever happened to me. And then taking a step back – getting recovered and getting to really focus on the mastery of my self as man… When I was able to watch the show last year, I was able to find that spark. And that was something that I thought, wow, that’s all I needed.”

Phil Heath Athleticon Generation Iron
Phil Heath on the set of Generation Iron 1 (above).

While he doesn’t directly say it, it’s almost as if he was growing complacent with his continued victories. After winning seven Mr. Olympia’s in a row – it might become hard to feel the pressure the same way an athlete does fighting for their first title.

That’s why Phil Heath sees his loss as a good development in his life. He was able to reflect and suddenly look at his future in a different light. He’s no longer the returning champion. He’s no longer the regime. He now has to get hungry again in a way he probably hasn’t felt since his first few Olympia victories.

Will this translate to a new an improved Phil Heath? It’s hard to say. Phil Heath is still an older bodybuilder. While not old – he’s been competing for quite some time. Ronnie Coleman has just recently observed, in his opinion, that Heath is on the decline.

So while Phil Heath might have a renewed spirit, will his age simply catch up with him? A counter to that argument would come in the form of Dexter Jackson who has been a top 5 bodybuilder for quite some time despite being 50 years old. It’s only this year, in 2020, that he’s actually retiring.

So the end result here is that anything is possible. It’s interesting to see a more humbled Phil Heath compared to the confident and cocky returning champion of yesteryear. Until we see him step on stage Friday night for the pre-judging, we won’t know for sure what kind of shape he’s in.

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Regardless, the hype has now reached peak levels with the press conference underway. Phil Heath has spoken. He feels refreshed. He feels renewed. He feels ready to become a world record Olympia champion.

You can watch the press conference live (or if you’re reading this later, a replay) for free right here.

Also make sure to stick around to the Generation Iron Fitness Network for our full coverage of the Olympia 2020 weekend – brought to you by Nutrabio.

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.