Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Dean Coleman (born May 13, 1964) is an American retired professional bodybuilder. The winner of the Mr. Olympia title for eight years in a row, he is regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.[3][4][5] Alongside his eight Mr. Olympia wins, he held the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26 titles until it was broken by Dexter Jackson.

Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Coleman Invited Guest.jpg
Coleman during his public appearance in 2014
Personal info
NicknameThe King
Born (1964-05-13) May 13, 1964 (age 57)
Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)[1]
WeightContest: 300 lb (136 kg)
Off season: 315 lb (143 kg)[2][1]
Professional career
  • IFBB World Amateur Championships
  • 1992
Best win
PredecessorDorian Yates
SuccessorJay Cutler

Early life

Ronnie Dean Coleman was born in Monroe, Louisiana, on May 13, 1964.[2] He graduated cum laude from Grambling State University in 1984 with a BSc in accounting.[6] While there, he played football as a middle linebacker with the GSU Tigers under coach Eddie Robinson. After graduation, he failed to find work as an accountant and instead went to work at Domino's Pizza, where he would eat the complimentary pizza every day due to being so poor that he could barely afford to eat outside of work.[7] He then became a police officer in Arlington, Texas, serving as an officer from 1989 to 2000 and a reserve officer until 2003.[8]

Bodybuilding career

Coleman talking about his journey in October 2009
Coleman posing in October 2009

Coleman's fellow officer Gustavo Arlotta suggested he attend the Metroflex gym, owned by amateur bodybuilder Brian Dobson. Dobson offered Coleman a free lifetime membership if he allowed Dobson to train him for the upcoming Mr. Texas bodybuilding competition that year.[9] After training for Mr. Texas, Coleman won first place in both the heavyweight and overall categories. He also defeated Dobson himself. Coleman won his first competition as a professional, the Canada Pro Cup, in 1995. The following year, he won the contest again, then went on to win the 1997 Russian Grand Prix. He also participated in powerlifting competitions in the mid-1990s.[10]

His rise at the top in the professional circuit of bodybuilding was relatively slow: for his first participation at the Mr. Olympia contest (the most prestigious worldwide) in 1992, he wasn't ranked; then in 1994 he placed 15th, then 10th in 1995, 6th in 1996, and 9th in 1997 when Dorian Yates won his sixth and last title before retiring.[11] The following year, Kenneth Wheeler was favored to become the 10th individual Mr. Olympia titleholder, with predominant competition coming from Nasser El Sonbaty, Kevin Levrone, and Shawn Ray. However, Coleman—whose Night of Champions victory earlier in the year had considerably elevated his esteem in the bodybuilding world—brought substantial improvements to the stage and went on to defeat Wheeler by three points for his first Mr. Olympia win.[11] Coleman defended his title all the way through the 2005 contest, earning a total of eight consecutive victories and tying Lee Haney as the winningest Mr. Olympia in history. In 2001, he became the first man to win both the Arnold Classic and the Mr. Olympia titles the same year (only Dexter Jackson has repeated this feat, in 2008). Coleman's reign as Mr. Olympia came to an end in 2006 when Jay Cutler, the three-time consecutive runner-up heading into the contest, finally earned his first win. It was only the second time in contest history that a reigning multi-champion Mr. Olympia had lost his title (as opposed to retiring). The previous instance occurred when Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated Sergio Oliva in 1970. Coleman made his final Mr. Olympia appearance in 2007, placing 4th.

Coleman's success as a professional bodybuilder has led to many product endorsements and other opportunities in his career, which he has traveled the world to promote.[12] He has made many guest appearances at gym openings around the U.S. When training, he preferred to use free weights rather than machines in order to maximize his flexibility and range of motion. He has made three training videos: The Unbelievable,[13] The Cost of Redemption,[14] and On the Road.[15] In these videos, he gives tips for more experienced weightlifters, while warning against overexertion and improper form.

Coleman supports the Inner City Games, an organization co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991. He was the recipient of the 2001 Admiral in the Texas Navy Certificate Award from Texas Governor Rick Perry for outstanding achievements in bodybuilding and for the promotion of physical fitness.[16] In 2011, he launched Ronnie Coleman Signature Series, a company that provides sports nutrition and wellness products for bodybuilders and other athletes.[17]

The extreme weights Coleman used over the course of his career competing as a powerlifter and bodybuilder, such as squats and deadlifts with 800 lbs, took a toll on his body and he has undergone numerous surgeries since 2007. These include two hip replacements and various attempts at alleviating chronic pain from damaged intervertebral discs.[18] He has continued to train despite his deteriorated condition, but could only use light weights now to try to prevent muscle loss as of 2018,[19] and some of his surgeries (each one costing between $300,000 and $500,000) had such poor outcomes that he may never be able to walk unassisted again.[20] Coleman uses a wheelchair if he has to travel long distances. [21] However, he has said that he does not regret his choices and admits that he was determined to be the best bodybuilder at any cost; he said that, if anything, he regrets not having done even more to consolidate his legacy.[18]

In 2018, Vlad Yudin documented Coleman's life and career in the Netflix documentary Ronnie Coleman: The King.[7] For the film's credits, rapper Quan made a song called "Flexin' on Them (Ronnie Coleman)" inspired by Coleman's bodybuilding career.[22]

In popular culture

With his trademark high-pitched voice, some of the vocal gimmicks Coleman popularized in his training videos have become commonplace in the global bodybuilding community, especially after the advent of viral videos.[23] The most popular of these, which he regularly shouted to himself as a form of self-encouragement, include "Yeah buddy!", "Light weight, baby!", and "Nothin' but a peanut!"[24]

Personal life

Coleman is a devout Christian.[25] He met French-Lebanese personal trainer Rouaida Christine Achkar at a sports exposition in Paris in March 1998,[26] and they were married in Beirut on December 28, 2007. They divorced soon after.[citation needed] Coleman married American personal trainer Susan Williamson on April 11, 2016.[27] They reside in Arlington, Texas, and have four children together.[7]

In June 2020, Coleman revealed that he can no longer walk due to botched surgical procedures.[28] Saying that he may never walk again, Coleman blamed his problems on questionable surgeries and noted that his last 3 surgeries cost a total of $2 million.

Physical statistics

  • Height: 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)[2][1]
  • Contest weight: 287–300 pounds (130–136 kg)[2][1]
  • Off-season weight: 315–320 pounds (143–145 kg)[2][1]
  • Chest: 60 in (150 cm)[1]
  • Arms: 24 in (61 cm)[2][1]


Year Film
1998 Ronnie Coleman: The First Training Video
2000 Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable
2003 Ronnie Coleman: The Cost of Redemption
2006 Ronnie Coleman: Relentless
2008 Ronnie Coleman: Invincible
2009 Ronnie Coleman: The Last Training Video
2018 Ronnie Coleman: The King

Bodybuilding titles

Year Title(s)
1990 Mr. Texas (Heavyweight & Overall)
1991 World Amateur Championships (Heavyweight)
1995 Canada Pro Cup
1996 Canada Pro Cup
1997 Grand Prix Russia
1998 Mr. Olympia,[11] Night of Champions, Toronto Pro Invitational, Grand Prix Finland, Grand Prix Germany
1999 Mr. Olympia,[11] World Pro Championships, Pride Grand Prix England
2000 Mr. Olympia,[11] World Pro Championships, Mr. Brody Langley, Grand Prix England
2001 Mr. Olympia,[11] Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, New Zealand Grand Prix
2002 Mr. Olympia,[11] Grand Prix Holland
2003 Mr. Olympia,[11] Grand Prix Russia
2004 Mr. Olympia,[11] Grand Prix England, Grand Prix Holland, Grand Prix Russia
2005 Mr. Olympia[11]
2006 Mr. Olympia 2nd, Grand Prix Austria, Grand Prix Holland, Grand Prix Romania
2007 Mr. Olympia 4th

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ronnie Coleman".
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ronnie Coleman.
  3. ^ Robson, David (February 6, 2015). "An Interview with the Greatest Professional Bodybuilder Of All Time: 8 Time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie "The Greatest" Coleman!". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Robson, David (April 10, 2015). "Who Is The Greatest Mr. Olympia Winner Of All Time? A Critical Review Of Past Mr. Olympia Champions!". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "Mr. Olympia Part 3: The 6 Greatest Olympians of All Time". August 21, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Ronnie Coleman Stars of Bodybuilding". September 16, 2016. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ a b c Ronnie Coleman: The King (2018)
  8. ^ Campbell, Elizabeth (April 10, 2012). "Appeals court rules Arlington sperm donor doesn't owe child support". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ronnie Coleman Old Footage with Brian Dobson". YouTube. July 27, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Ronnie Coleman (January 29, 2014), Ronnie Coleman's First Power Lifting Competition, retrieved February 15, 2019
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mr. Olympia Contest Results". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Donnelly, Allan (September 19, 2008). "Flexonline Interview: Ronnie Coleman". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  13. ^ "Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable!: Ronnie Coleman, Mitsuru: Movies & TV". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Ronnie Coleman: The Cost of Redemption: Ronnie Coleman, Mitsuru: Movies & TV". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  15. ^ "Ronnie Coleman: On the Road: Ronnie Coleman: Movies & TV". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  16. ^ "Ronnie Coleman Launches Enterprise Venture". May 24, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  17. ^ "About Ronnie Coleman". Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Ronnie Coleman unable to walk after ANOTHER back surgery". Straight Talking Fitness. February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  19. ^ Jack Crosbie (March 3, 2018). "Ronnie Coleman Is Still Hitting the Gym Despite Several Surgeries". Men's Health. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Miller, Tom (October 23, 2018). "Ronnie Coleman: "I Might Never Walk Again" After Spending $2 Million On The Last 3 Surgeries - FitnessVolt". Fitness Volt. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  21. ^ Coleman: Wheelchair for Life!
  22. ^ "Flexin on Them Ronnie Coleman". Amazon Music. June 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "Ronnie Coleman Signature Series – Yeah Buddy Light Weight Baby Coffee Mug – White". Ronnie Coleman Signature Series. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  24. ^ "YEAH BUDDY - How the Phrase Started - Ronnie Coleman". YouTube. February 22, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  25. ^ Robson, David (July 20, 2005). "An Interview With Seven-Time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  26. ^ "MEET THE MRS". Flex Online. January 14, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  27. ^ "AFTER RECOVERY RONNIE COLEMAN MAKES MOVES TO ENTER NEXT PHASE OF HIS LIFE". Generation Iron. April 11, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  28. ^ Miller, Tom (June 10, 2020). "Ronnie Coleman: "I Might Never Walk Again" After Spending $2 Million On The Last 3 Surgeries". Retrieved December 2, 2020.

External links

Preceded by
Dorian Yates
Mr. Olympia
Succeeded by
Jay Cutler