Haney was on prime of the game. He needed to be remembered on prime.
Lee Haney crafted a dynasty on the prime of bodybuilding within the Nineteen Eighties. To this present day, the famous person’s eight consecutive Mr. Olympia titles (1984-1991) are solely matched by fellow health legend Ronnie Coleman (1998-2005). Theoretically, Haney, who retired in his early 30s, may’ve vied for extra Olympia victories. As an alternative, he stepped down after 1991.
On Mar. 29, 2023, throughout a YouTube episode of The Lee Labrada Present, Haney joined the eponymous host to debate the exploits of his profession. Labrada, who was a two-time runner-up to Haney’s title (1989-1990) is probably going a really perfect candidate to assist Haney look at his profession in hindsight. Probably the most notable tidbit may need been the icon explaining why he didn’t pursue extra Olympia greatness after establishing himself as unprecedented royalty.
Like some elite bodybuilders, Haney described the strain of sustaining his grip on the game. From training to a psychological battle, Haney stated he efficiently navigated tough waters for years. He made it clear he didn’t need to proceed making such a sacrifice as he weighed his choices after his 1991 Olympia triumph.
A part of Haney’s rationale was additionally concerning the concept of staying on prime and being remembered on prime.
“Once we’re on prime, there’s nowhere else to go however down,” Haney defined of his early resolution to retire from bodybuilding. “So, the strain of how do I keep right here? What can I do completely different to deliver a greater package deal? All these issues run by your thoughts and, if you happen to don’t hold it collectively, that may actually create a number of stress.”
On the identical time, whereas Haney was distinctive, he made clear he didn’t love bodybuilding per se. For a short while, he simply had an impeccable dedication to his craft.
“I checked out bodybuilding in such a manner that it’s my job,” Haney continued. “I didn’t worship the craft though I needed to be the perfect at it. It wasn’t the tip of the world as the best way I checked out it.”
Finally, the 63-year-old Haney clarified that he nearly thought of retiring after his seventh Olympia victory in 1990. Although, that exit would’ve left the famous person merely tied with Arnold Schwarzenegger for Olympia wins. It took encouragement from Haney’s spouse Shirley to maintain pushing earlier than he hung up his posing trunks.
The remaining was literal bodybuilding historical past, as Haney would take his eighth consecutive win in 1991 for the Olympia file. The file would stay untouched till Ronnie Coleman’s record-tying eighth title in 2005.
“After I acquired to the seventh [Olympia win], I assumed to myself, seven is a file,” Haney began. “Arnold [Schwarzenegger] didn’t do seven [Olympias] in a row however he did do total. I had a dialog with Shirley, and he or she was like, ‘What are you speaking about, stop? You gotta do eight. What’s the matter with you?’”
Nowadays, Haney seems to be basking in his retirement. Over three many years since he final stepped on stage, the dwelling legen doesn’t appear to have any reservations about his resolution.
Not that he ever did.
“I by no means regretted having not competed once more. As a matter of reality, I by no means gave it one other thought.”
Featured picture: @lee_haney_official on Instagram