Popular Bodybuilders Who Never Won Mr. Olympia Title
Every pro bodybuilder has at one point dreamed about being crowned Mr. Olympia, it’s the pinnacle their hard work, dedication, and the sport itself. It’s the ultimate reward for all the sacrifice they made over the years. However, as one Immortal Scotsman played by a French actor once famously said; “there can be only one”.
Yeah, The Kurgan(played by a very young Mr. Krabs) was all sorts of cool and badass but in the end, Connor MacLeod is the one that beat him and won The Prize with a little help of a bitchin’ soundtrack by Queen. Same thing here, there are many many many bodybuilders in the world and only a selected handful won the title. In fact, since Larry Scott won the inaugural Mr. Olympia title back in ’65, only 14 guys have won that title. So today we will look at some guys that were/are super popular among fans(I’d argue the guys on this list are even more popular than some Mr. Olympia winners) but never really got the chance to capture the elusive title of Mr. Olympia.
1. Dennis Wolf
Let’s start things off with the “Big Bad Wolf”. He first started competing in 1999 and as of 2018, he is STILL competing. His best Mr. Olympia ranking was in 2013 when he came in 3rd which is a huge ranking taking into consideration that the top two were the 7x time champ Phil Heath who has just started his winning streak and eternal “People’s champ” Kai Greene.
2. Markus Ruhl
The German Nightmare, Markus is one of the mass monsters that started to pop up on the bodybuilding scene back in the early 2000’s. He is best known for his simple yet amazing quote that summarizes bodybuilding quite well; “I don’t do this to be healthy, I do this to get big muscles.” Despite being an attraction everywhere he went he never really ranked that well. His best ranking at Mr. Olympia was 7th place back in 2000. These days he’s enjoying retirement and does coaching.
3. Lou Ferrigno
Big Lou is part of the “Golden age” era of Bodybuilding alongside Arnold, Franco and the rest of the Venice beach crew. Excluding Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou is the only guy from that generation that made it in mainstream media. He played The Hulk in the 70’s, then he was Hercules then Sinbad and from that point on he starred in the bunch of other movies and tv shows. Lou has won a ton of stuff while competing but never quite got the title of Mr. Olympia. He was second 1974(with Arnold being the champion that year), then in 1994, he was second in the Masters’ division.
4. Tom Platz
Platz was known by one thing-his massive quads. Seriously, he was called quadzilla and insane volume with heavyweights, here’s him doing 500lbs for 23 reps. I dare anyone to try and recreate this.
Even though he had very impressive looking quads and solid physique overall he never really ranked high. His best Mr. Olympia rank came in 1981. where he ranked third. After that top 3 ranks in 1981, he never really made any top 5 ranking at Mr. Olympia.
5. Victor Martinez
The Dominican Dominator, Victor has a very rich amateur and professional bodybuilding career. In the early 2000’s, during the era of Ronnie Coleman’s domination, he reached top 5 at the big stage several times, peaking at 3rd place in 2006 and being runner-up at 2007.
6. Günter Schlierkamp
The German giant, always sporting a million dollar smile, always the tallest of the bunch but never good enough to get a top 3 place on the Mr. Olympia stage. He has a very rich bodybuilding career and his best placing was 4th place in one of his last competitions ever in 2005.
7. Nasser El Sonbaty
Bosnian Egyptian, known by his nickname The Professor. The late great professor competed from 1990 all the way to 2005. Nasser’s best position was all the way back in 1997 when he placed second losing to some guy you might have heard of- Dorian Yates.
8. Kai Greene
I’ll go on a limb here and make a certain claim. When it comes to modern bodybuilders and popularity-Kai is probably one of the most popular guys around. He was in Stranger Things, he is doing podcasts, he does motivational speaking…he once had sex with a grapefruit. Despite Kai having legit arguments for being crowned #1 several times, it just wasn’t meant to be. In 2011. he was bested by Jay Cutler and Phil Heath then in 2013. and 2014. Phil Heath once again took the first place. He’s been beefing with IFBB for a few years now and because of that, he hasn’t competed since 2016.
9. Flex Wheeler
Arnold Schwarzenegger once described Flex as one of the best bodybuilders he had ever seen and he has won the Arnold Classic competition 4 times(a record at the time) even Ronnie Coleman sang Flex Wheeler’s praise but all that wasn’t enough for Flex to win a Mr. Olympia title. He got second place three times during his competitive prime in the nineties.
10. Shawn Ray
Last but not least is Shawn Ray. Shawn had a three-decade-long career in bodybuilding and despite placing in the top 5 several times., he never won the Mr. Oympia title. However, from 1990 all the way up to 2001, each time he competed he placed in the top 5! Now that’s quite an accomplishment.