10-year Friendship Rivalry between Mr. Olympias Phil Heath and Jay Cutler

Let's go back in time and review what has formed a 10-year friendship and rivalry between Mr. Olympias Phil Heath and Jay Cutler.


SEPTEMBER ’11    Twelve months later, Heath didn’t just get him. He became the 13th Mr. Olympia in dominating fashion. At a high-def 248 pounds, his was arguably the most impressive combination of, as he says, “freaky and pretty” ever seen on a bodybuilding stage. In contrast, the 258-pound Cutler was of. His lef biceps was torn and inflamed, his legs were downsized, his upper body was flat. Again, the two friends were alone waiting the announcement of who would take home the Sandow—but this time there was no doubt. Heath said, “Thanks for never letting our friendship get messed up by this whole industry.” Cutler nodded, and said, “You’re gonna be the king now. Are you ready?” The soon-to-be Mr. Olympia replied, “Yeah. I’m ready, because you showed me how to do this.” One week later in Mumbai, India, at the Sheru Classic, Heath beat Cutler again, but before then, backstage at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, he savored the moment of accomplishing it for the first time and securing bodybuilding’s ultimate title. “That was the best feeling of my life,” he said. “It was especially awesome knowing I beat a Mr. Olympia to be Mr. Olympia. It would’ve been different if he had retired and the title had been vacant and I had won that way. But to know I beat a four-time Mr. Olympia, a guy who was relevant over 10 years in bodybuilding, being top two, and such a good friend, that’s incredible.”

SEPTEMBER ’13    Last year, when Heath won again, it was the first of his five Olympias without his “big brother” in the lineup. He admitted it was strange not having his friend there. It seemed Cutler had retired, but the four-time Mr. O never officially said so. This year, he announced his return and his intention of collecting Olympia title number 5. Meanwhile, Heath is striving to do what Cutler failed to do twice and earn his third Sandow in a row, stamping this era as his dynasty. Cutler will be 40 when he steps on the stage on September 27, and it will be two years since his last contest. Can he regain or surpass his previous form? Heath, at 33, will be in his prime and in still only the seventh year of his pro career (by contrast, it will be 16 years since Cutler’s pro debut). Either man winning will be a tremendous story. But those aren’t the only intriguing plots. There’s Kai Greene, last year’s runner-up, looking to climb the final rung on the ladder. There’s Shawn Rhoden, who shocked the world with his dramatic new additions last year and his third- place finish. There’s two-time Arnold Classic champ

Branch Warren and that other Mr. O, the ageless Dexter Jackson. And what about Mamdouh Elssbiay, fresh of his victory at the New York Pro—can “Big Ramy” become the first man since Flex Wheeler 20 years ago to crack the O top three as a rookie pro? The 49th Mr. Olympia is shaping up to be the most exciting of all time. Two of the favorites will continue to be close friends, but this may be the final time they share an Olympia stage, and, as the past 10 years have proven, you never know what will happen when these legends clash.