Putting on my game face
From the Flex 2001 July Issue: I keep hearing rumors about my health.
They started flying because of my demeanor onstage at the 2000 Mr. Olympia contest. Some people decided I must be ill because I was not smiling. It is crucial that my fans understand two things. First, I am not ill, and second, my facial expression does not always equate to my mental state at the time. I do not smile constantly during contest because I am engaged in competition rather than in entertainment. A bodybuilding contest is much more of a sporting event than a “show”. As with other professional athletes, our job is to compete to win. No one complained that Michael Jordan was not smiling when he made the winning basket in the NBA finals. No one expects Randy Moss to smile as he outleaps the defense to catch a touchdown pass. Similarly, I do not always smile when I am called out in a comparison against Ronnie Coleman or Dorian Yates. My mindset is focused on presenting every fiber of muscle in my physique, not near my mouth. In fact it is difficult for me even to state how I “feel” during a contest. When fans or journalists ask me what I am feeling when I was standing beside Dorian Yates at the 1997 Mr. Olympia, I am baffled as to how to respond. As far as I recall, I didn’t have any kind of ” feeling”. I didn’t feel great or normal or equal. When you are an athlete in the heat of competition, you focus on your performance, not on your demeanor. I say this because I want all my fans to understand that I do think about them and that my performance onstage is for them. But at the same time, I am not the type of athlete who can smile all the time onstage, like Gunter Schlierkamp. After saying all this, I also want people to know that when I am making a guest appearance or signing autographs, I enjoy nothing more than interacting with my fans. That is when I smile and put on a show.