Sergio Oliva’s candid assessment of Lee Haney within the realm of bodybuilding history offers a fascinating glimpse into the nuances and dynamics of the sport. Oliva, a legendary figure himself, not only acknowledges the personal camaraderie with Haney but also expresses a discerning perspective on Haney’s Mr. Olympia victories.
In Oliva’s evaluation, the crux of his argument revolves around the idea of proportionality, a fundamental criterion in the aesthetics-driven world of bodybuilding. The phrase “a man with a back, but no arms or calves” encapsulates his critique of Haney’s physique, emphasizing a perceived lack of symmetry and balance in certain key muscle groups.
The reference to “the old days” adds a historical context, hinting at a shift in bodybuilding standards over time. Oliva seems to imply that within the competitive landscape of his era, where aesthetics and proportionality held paramount importance, Haney’s physique might not have stood out as decisively.
However, Oliva does acknowledge that Haney “may have deserved some Mr. Olympias,” offering a nuanced perspective that recognizes Haney’s merits while still challenging the unanimity of his victories. The phrase “not with the guys HE competed against” suggests that Oliva believes the competitive field played a role in shaping the outcome, highlighting the subjective nature of judging in bodybuilding.
The closing assertion, “But, he knows. Everybody knows,” injects an intriguing element of shared understanding within the bodybuilding community. It implies a collective awareness of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies involved in competitive bodybuilding, where competitors themselves are cognizant of the factors influencing outcomes.
In essence, Sergio Oliva’s commentary on Lee Haney reflects not only a personal perspective on an esteemed colleague but also underscores the dynamic and evolving nature of bodybuilding standards, subjectivity in judging, and the unspoken awareness among competitors regarding the complexities of their craft.