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#BBGOAT: Flex Wheeler vs. Sergio Oliva

The #BBGOAT (BodyBuilding Greatest of All Time) is MAXS.COM.AU’s knockout competition to determine who the fans think is the greatest bodybuilder of all time. We started with our top 16 of the Greatest Bodybuilders of all time and now we’re asking YOU to do the hard work – that is, narrow it down to one. Set up in much the same way as a tennis tournament, each week you’ll see head-to-head match-ups, with the winner of those progressing to the next round to square off with their next challenger. From 16, we’ll go to 8, to 4, and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest bodybuilder in history!

We’re talking Coleman vs. Columbo; Phil vs. Flex, Arnie vs. Jay – It’s time for the fans to have their say! You’ll be able to cast your vote below.

Round 1 continues with Flex Wheeler vs. Sergio Oliva.

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Flex Wheeler

  • Nickname: The Sultan of Symmetry
  • Born: August 23, 1965
  • Height: 5’10” (177cm)
  • Weight (On-season) 240lb (109kg) (Off-season) 275lb (122kg)
  • Pro Debut: IFBB World Amateur Championships, 1990
  • Best Win: FBB Arnold Classic Champion, 1993, 1997, 1998, and 2000
  • Predecessor: Vince Taylor
  • Successor: Kevin Levrone

By The Numbers: Pro Comps: 31 | 1st Places: 16 | 2nd Places: 9 | 3rd Places: 2 | Arnold Classic Wins: 4 | Mr. Olympia Wins: 0.

Flex Wheeler competed for the first time in 1983, but it was not until 1989 that he secured a first-place trophy at the NPC Mr. California Championships and earnt his pro card. Wheeler took out a number of contests including 4 Arnold Classic win. However, after narrowly missing out on first place at the 1993 Mr. Olympia he was never to take the crown – he also placed second in 1998 and 1999.

In 1994, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that could have left him with lifelong paralysis. Falling back into depression again, he started training from scratch, returning with remarkable speed to bodybuilding’s top tier. In 1999, Wheeler discovered that he had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a form of kidney disease. Despite press speculation as to the cause of the failure, Wheeler pointed out that the condition is hereditary, although drug use probably accelerated its onset. Wheeler announced his retirement from competitive bodybuilding in 2000, but continued to compete until 2002.

Sergio Oliva

  • Nickname: The Myth
  • Born: July 4, 1941
  • Height: 5’8″ (173cm)
  • Weight 225lb (102kg)
  • Pro Debut: 1966 Mr. World, 1966
  • Best Win: IFBB Mr. Olympia 1967-1969
  • Predecessor: Larry Scott
  • Successor: Arnold Schwarzenegger

By The Numbers: Pro Comps: 37 | 1st Places: 10 | 2nd Places: 6 | 3rd Places: 0 | Arnold Classic Wins: n/a | Mr. Olympia Wins: 3.

After winning the first show he ever entered back in 1963, the bodybuilding was soon abuzz with gossip about a Cuban bodybuilder that could out lift the best Olympic weightlifters. His bodybuilding success came thick and fast, turning pro just three years later in 1966 and winning the Mr Olympia crown the following year in 1967. Oliva went on two winner another two consecutive Olympia titles, including 1969 where he beat Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold later went on to tell the story of his 1969 Olympia encounter with Sergio – “Then for the first time, I saw Sergio Oliva in person. I understood why they called him the Myth. It was as jarring, as if I’d walked into a wall. He destroyed me. He was so huge, he was so fantastic, there was no way I could even think of beating him. I admitted my defeat and felt some of my pump go away. I tried. But I’d been so taken back by my first sight of Sergio Oliva that I think I settled for 2nd place before we walked out on the stage… I never like to admit defeat, but I thought Sergio was better. There were no two ways about it.”

The remainder of Sergio’s bodybuilding career was filled with both success and controversy. After being banned from competing in the ’71 Olympia, he returned in 1972 only to take second place to Arnold. Sergio was later disqualified from the 1973 IFBB Mr. International that he actually won, causing him to sever all ties with the Joe Weider controlled IFBB and continued competing for other world bodybuilding federations. He won the World BodyBuilding Guild (WBBG) Mr. Galaxy in 1972 and 1973, the WBBG Mr. Olympus in 1975, 1976 and 1978, the WABBA Professional World Championships in 1977 and 1980, and the WABBA Professional World Cup in 1980 and 1981. After a 12-year hiatus from the IFBB, Oliva was invited back and came out of retirement to compete in the 1984 Mr. Olympia. Finishing in eighth place, “the Myth” still sported an extremely impressive physique and V-taper. His final show was a year later at the 1985 Mr Olympia, where he once again took 8th place.

#BBGOAT First Round

#BBGOAT Second Round

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