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7 Greatest Bodybuilders Who Never Won A Mr. Olympia

Winning the Mr. Olympia is the dream of every pro bodybuilder out there. But like all dreams, not all of them become a reality, no matter how hard you try.

While bodybuilders like Arnold, Ronnie and Haney dominated the stage, other great bodybuilders were unfortunately left out in the process.

This goes to show that when it comes to the greatest bodybuilding title of all time, anything goes. Sometimes it all falls down to your competition, the judges, the year you’re competing in, your poses, or even sheer luck.

There can only be one champion when all of these phenomenal athletes are gathered on the stage to compete; only one can take the title home and be called the Mr. Olympia.

So along the way, since Larry Scott won the first ever Mr. Olympia contest in 1965, we had so many exceptional athletes with phenomenal physiques who fell out either due to what some may argue is an unjust oversight by the judges, or the fact that the people they competed against were just on another level entirely.

Today, we will take a look at 7 of who we consider to be the most talented bodybuilders with remarkable physiques and great impact on the sport, despite never winning a Mr. Olympia.

7. Flex Wheeler

Unfortunately, Flex was never able to beat out his long time friend Ronnie Coleman to a Mr. Olympia title.

He won numerous titles throughout his career, including the Arnold Classic, the Ironman Pro, and the San Jose Pro Invitational, but always fell short to Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates.

In addition to his impressive physique, Wheeler was known for his dynamic and creative posing routines, which helped to elevate him to legendary status in the sport. He retired from competitive bodybuilding sometime in 2000, but has remained active in the fitness industry as a coach, author, and motivational speaker. He continues to inspire and influence aspiring bodybuilders around the world, and is widely respected for his knowledge, experience, and dedication to the sport.

6. Bob Paris 

Bob Paris is another bodybuilding legend who never won a Mr. Olympia, despite having one of the most aesthetic physiques of all time. 

Paris was known for his impressive symmetry and proportion, as well as his sculpted muscles and chiseled abs. His posing routines were also legendary, and he was widely regarded as one of the most graceful and artistic bodybuilders of his time. 

Despite all this, Paris was never able to secure a Mr. Olympia title, with his highest placing being third in 1984.

5. Mohamed Makkawy 

Makkawy’s situation is very similar to Nubet’s.

Makkawy competed in the IFBB in the 1980s and 1990s and won numerous titles, including the Night of Champions and the Arnold Classic, and was known for his impressive mass and conditioning. 

However, Makkawy was never able to win a Mr. Olympia title, with his highest placing being fourth in 1984. Many believe that his impressive physique was overlooked in favor of more mass-oriented competitors, and that he deserved more recognition for his achievements.

4. Chris Cormier 

Chris Cormier won numerous titles, including the Ironman Pro Invitational and the Arnold Classic, and was known for his impressive mass and conditioning. 

However, Cormier was never able to win a Mr. Olympia title, with his highest placing being second in 1999. 

One reason could be the intense competition during the era in which Cormier competed. Throughout his career, Cormier competed against legendary bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, and Jay Cutler. 

These athletes were known for their mass and impressive physiques, which may have made it difficult for Cormier to stand out in the eyes of the judges.

Another factor that may have played a role in Cormier’s lack of success in the Mr. Olympia competition was his posing style. While Cormier was known for his dynamic and fluid posing, some critics have suggested that his routines lacked the traditional “bodybuilding poses” that judges were looking for.

Despite all of this, Cormier is still considered to be one of the greatest bodybuilders to ever grace the stage.

3. Francis Benfatto

Benfatto began his competitive bodybuilding career in the late 1980s, and quickly made a name for himself with his impressive physique and posing ability. He won several competitions in his early career, including the 1988 IFBB World Amateur Championships and the 1989 IFBB Arnold Classic.

Although he never won a Mr. Olympia title, Benfatto placed in the top five of the competition several times throughout his career. He was known for his signature posing style, which emphasized fluidity and grace over brute strength and mass.

Since retiring from competitive bodybuilding, Benfatto has remained active in the sport as a coach and mentor to aspiring athletes. He is widely respected for his knowledge and experience in the field, and continues to inspire and influence bodybuilders around the world.

2. Lee Priest

Stature may not have stopped the legend that is Priest, but his bodybuilding counterparts, namely Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman made sure the GiantKiller never never went all the way.

Lee Priest is another bodybuilding legend who never won a Mr. Olympia. He competed in the IFBB for many years and won numerous titles, including the Arnold Classic in 1997. Priest’s physique was admired for its impressive symmetry and proportion, but his relatively short height (he is only 5’4″) may have worked against him in the Mr. Olympia, where height and mass often play a significant role.

1.  Serge Nubret, “The Black Panther”

In a different year or age, Serge Nubret would have undoubtedly taken home a Mr. Olympia.

Despite his impressive physique, Nubret was never able to secure a Mr. Olympia title, despite placing second in 1973, and many believe he was unfairly overlooked in favor of more mass-oriented competitors, and a couple of factors can be blamed.

Firstly, during Nubret’s prime, the Mr. Olympia competition was dominated by other legendary bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, and Frank Zane. 

These athletes were known for their incredible mass and symmetry, which may have made it difficult for Nubret to stand out in the competition.

Another factor that may have contributed to Nubret’s lack of success in the Mr. Olympia competition was his focus on aesthetics over mass. 

So while Nubret was known for his incredible definition and proportion, he was not as massive as some of his competitors and as a result, due to the trend in bodybuilding towards more massive physiques in the 1970s this may have worked against Nubret in the eyes of the judges.

Conclusion

Do you think the IFBB should have had an unofficial Mr. Olympia category especially during Arnold’s and Ronnie’s iconic run?

Let us know!

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Comments to: 7 Greatest Bodybuilders Who Never Won A Mr. Olympia
  • February 27, 2023

    The change to Mass over Asthetics in my opinion, changed Bodybuilding for the negative, today the Olympia winners look like bloated, chemically enhanced monsters, gone are the days of emulating greek statues for symmetry and proportioned greatly exemplified by most of the above mentioned champions.

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