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DORIAN YATES AND LEE HANEY: MR OLYMPIA BODYBUILDING BATTLES
Powered by protein, passion and the drive to perform no matter what the cost, there are similarities in bodybuilding across the best of the best. Whether it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Lou Ferrigno or any other athlete, the dedication it takes to stick to that level of training and fitness plan is second to none.
With so much time, effort and energy put in, it’s no surprise that the level of competition and respect lives on well past the athletes’ time on stage. Two of the biggest names in bodybuilding are Dorian Yates, with six Mr Olympia wins and Lee Haney, with eight Mr Olympia titles. Below, we hear their stories and what it was like facing each other during the Mr Olympia competition and more from their respective episodes on the Escape Your Limits podcast.
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Lee Haney on Dorian Yates.
This is how Lee Haney, 8x Mr Olympia, enjoyed the bodybuilding battles with Dorian Yates, 6x Mr Olympia. He explains how athletes that face the challenge of survival rise to the occasion over all other competition.
“I really enjoyed competing with him,” says Lee Haney. “It was a great experience. I like Dorian; he was a very cool guy. We’re Facebook buddies even now. I had a lot of respect for Dorian. He had great genetic potential. You see his picture when he was a teenager? It reminds me of me when I was a teenager. Mr Olympians are born. You have to have the right genetic blueprint. Then you have to have the heart.
“Dorian didn’t come from the life of twiddly dee twiddly dumb. He had to be successful. He didn’t have a lot of choices. So he had to really sink his teeth into bodybuilding, as I had to. It’s either do or die. It was that way for all of us. It was that way for Robbie [Robinson].
“You find athletes who have to face challenges of survival; we rise to the occasion.”
Dorian Yates on Lee Haney.
The way that Dorian Yates rose to success was through initial dedication and physical prowess, matched and bolstered with mindfulness that overcame what he previously didn’t believe was possible.
“First Mr Olympia, [I had] a little bit of uncertainty. Lee Haney was already seven-times Mr Olympia winner, and I was going up against him. He was Mr Olympia when I started [bodybuilding].
“I was aware that I had to change my mindset, as far as my attitude towards Lee Haney. [I had to think] he’s not a god now, he’s a man, with two arms and two legs, and he lifts weights. At this point, my confidence was building because I knew what I’d put in and how hard I’d been training.
“I know that I’m training harder than him. I know I’m putting in more. So why not? So I went to compete in my first Mr Olympia and I got a close second. The next year I won it.
“After that, not wanting to sound arrogant because I don’t think I was, but I was fully confident that I was going to win.”
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