Two 7-time Mr. Olympias: Phil and Arnold in 2023. / Instagram
Phil Heath is 43. He’ll turn 44 on December 18. There was speculation at the start of this year that the 7-time Mr. Olympia might return to the Mr. Olympia this November to once again go for record-tying #8. Who started that speculation? He did when he appeared on Jay Cutler’s podcast and said: “I was at Planet Hollywood [during the 2022 Olympia weekend], and a lot of people were just taking pictures and stuff. It does get old. It feels good though. This is different for me….You’re right, I’m going to get questions about a comeback, and I am going to come back. Hey look, all I gotta do is train for three months and see what happens. If I like what I see, then I like what I see.”
What did that mean, exactly? Coming back to compete in the Mr. Olympia? Coming back to Mr. Olympia shape? Something else? “The Gift” was purposely vague. But the best interpretation was that he was going to train and eat like a pro bodybuilder for three months and decide then if he would return to the Olympia stage this year. Well, he seems to have done the first part and decided against the second, while not ruling out a return in some future year.
In a video posted today, Heath said:
“So everyone’s dying to know if yours truly will grace the bodybuilding stage once again. Not this year….This summer, I do plan on looking as if I am doing an event, if that makes anyone happy. I’m just going to let nature take its course. I’m sitting around 255 pounds right now. I’ve been a lot leaner [than usual], and I feel like everything has been working really well.”
Phil Heath won seven consecutive Mr. Olympia titles from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, he was attempting to tie the record held by Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman, but he placed second behind the late Shawn Rhoden. He then took a year off, and placed third in the 2020 Mr. Olympia behind Big Ramy and Brandon Curry. That was his last bodybuilding contest.
There has been some speculation that Heath may enter the Arnold Classic, a title he never won. But it seems most likely if something truly tempts him back on a stage in posing trunks it would be the chance at tying bodybuilding’s ultimate record with an eighth Mr. Olympia victory. If he was to accomplish that next year or some year after that he would break another record: oldest Mr. Olympia winner. But that speculation can be put to rest, at least for this year. We know now, in 2023, Phil Heath will not be posing on a bodybuilding stage.