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The Road to Mr. Olympia (II) – The Game Changer

To read the first chapter of the trilogy, click here.
Mr. Olympia 1991 saw Dorian make his stunning entry on the world-class bodybuilding stage as he shocked the world at his first Mr. Olympia. He came in second only to the 8 times title holder Lee Haney, even managing to beat him in the muscularity round.

Now, with Lee Haney retired, he had a clear way up to Mount Olympus.

Mr. Olympia 1992

In 1992 in Helsinki, Finland, he came back to prove the world what his muscle and moral fiber were made of. After retreating in his Birmingham dungeon, the famous Temple Gym, to train for a year, he was able to add about 8 pounds of lean body mass before the upcoming Mr. Olympia.

He kept updating the Muscle and Fitness office back in Los Angeles, sending pictures of his progress every 6 weeks. Tom Deters, editor in chief of Muscle and Fitness Magazine, noted at the prejudging:

The gains Dorian was able to achieve are very rare. It is unusual to see an athlete of that level, one who has achieved that amount of extreme body mass and muscularity, make these type of improvements.

Tom Deters

Dorian was the one to beat in Helsinki. Coming hot on his heels for the 1992 title were Lee Labrada, a former second place in 1990; Shawn Ray, who got 3rd and 5th in the previous two years; Lou Ferrigno, who previously came second to Arnold Schwarzenegger and who was making a comeback after 17 years at 6’5 and 290 pounds; and also Kevin Levrone, who had just won Night of Champions and was the new kid on the block.

Dorian Yates preparing to pose on Mr. Olympia's stage in 1992.

After the showdown, the top 3 to stand on the podium were Lee Labrada, coming in at number 3, who had a respectable overall presence but couldn’t match the top guys, Kevin Levrone, Yates’ challenger, at number 2, who even though had good aesthetics, well-developed delts, biceps, and chest, was no match for Dorian’s muscularity, especially the back, lower back and lower part of the body.

The Shadow easily came in at number 1, to confirm the success he had the year before and to finally become Mr. Olympia himself.

The success was the crowning achievement of all the years of suffering and hard work. It was his destiny coming true. Looking back now, Dorian admits he always felt it was his destiny:

I had to do it, it was like life or death passion that I put into it. And now, I look back and it’s almost like I knew it was gonna happen. I had to make it happen but I almost knew that it would.

Dorian Yates

A Shadow Until The Very End

As Dorian was receiving the title, he had to control his emotions:

People always criticize me for not being emotional and not smiling while on stage, but I learned that at an early age when my dad died.

The first time I won the Night of Champions and the first time I won Mr. Olympia, if you look at the footage, you’ll see I’m biting my lip.

That’s to suppress the kid because I did feel like breaking down and crying because it’s the accumulation of all these years of training… but I had to control it because that was something I practiced for so many years and gotten quite good at.

Dorian Yates
The Shadow winning his first Mr. Olympia. He destroyed the competition easily with his mass and cuts.

After his crowning as the world’s best bodybuilder, Dorian celebrated with a diet coke and an ice cream. And unlike others who took vacations after competitions, he started training again the very next week for the next Mr. Olympia, always keeping one step ahead of everybody else.

Mr. Olympia 1993

In the Atlanta Civic Center in Georgia, U.S.A, a multitude of athletes were preparing to beat Dorian, the title holder. Shawn Ray, Lee Labrada, Kevin Levrone, and a new challenger, Flex Wheeler, who just won the Arnold Classic.

But then in 1993, Dorian won the title again.

1993 was really the year Yates declared that he was here to stay, it was the year he would change the sport forever. People hadn’t really accepted Dorian’s place on the scene yet because he was still a new guy.

His Shadow persona definitely contributed to this perception people had of him. In 1992, when he first won the title, they thought he might be just a one hit wonder.

The second time around though, he presented a physique that no one had ever expected. His muscle mass, combined with the conditioning that he was known for already in 1992, made him he came in looking like he was a giant from another planet.

The reason why everyone was surprised was that when you’re already at the top of your game, not many people think it’s even possible to take your performance to a whole new dimension.

In the 1993 Mr. Olympia, there were quite a few big guys walking around. But none of them can combine mass and shredding the way Dorian could. What separated the men from boys was the conditioning.

The ungodly training discipline that Dorian had enabled him to override his instinct and focus on cutting all the extra fat and water from his body, to achieve the muscle mass of a heavyweight bodybuilder with the conditioning of a lightweight one.

On stage in 1993, it was clear that everyone was competing for second place. Number one was reserved for Yates, and that gave him a great feeling. He was pretty sure he was going to amaze everybody, as you can see for yourself on his face in the famous photos taken 6 months prior to the 1993 Mr. Olympia.

The Yates shots were taken on July 20, 1993, in the reigning Olympia’s Temple Gym in Birmingham, England. He was 269 pounds of rock-hard, shapely head-to-toe muscle.

The judges placed Dorian Yates, Flex Wheeler, and Shawn Ray in top 3, and they were compared side by side. Even though Shawn Ray presented a respectable physique, the only real contented to Yates was Flex Wheeler.

Wheeler had great symmetry and conditioning. Some judges described his physique as being almost cartoonish because of his incredible muscle roundness, proportion, and separation.

Even though Flex had great aesthetics, he was simply no match for Dorian’s muscularity, which was in a league of its own. It was simply unseen before to combine that level of mass with such outstanding conditioning.

His back dwarfed everyone else’s.

His lats looked like wings, his chest was at it’s though so far, his arms could make Hercules envious and legs so big and cut they looked as if they were chiseled from slabs of marble.

Game Changer

At the 1993 Mr. Olympia, the Shadow forever changed the sport, ushering a new era of mass. Later on, Dorian Yates used all the knowledge he had accumulated to create the most powerful Mass Gainer: Game Changer Mass.

A powerful blend of protein, carbohydrates, and minimal fat designed to fulfill the need for additional quality calories for the mass-hungry trainer.

Game Changer Mass has no fillers, meaning all the calories contribute to building lean muscle tissue, NOT just general ‘mass‘.

Dorian recalls:

I was always ripped but the thing in 93′ was that my conditioning added to a size that no one had ever seen before. Perhaps they had seen big guys before but not super shredded at the same time, so it was a combination of all those factors and that’s a winning bodybuilder combination: proportion, muscle mass, conditioning. You gotta be able to show a good product as well.

Dorian Yates

Yates took the title for the second time in such a dominant way that everyone knew he was not going anywhere and everybody else better keep up.

This appearance in 1993 was a turning point of the sport. Starting from 1993 on, everyone stepped up their game to try to make up the difference. Dorian ended up dominating most of the 90s Golden Era of Bodybuilding and his legacy can be observed even today.

Talking about his competitors, Dorian remarked:

I got great respect for the guys that competed against me because they were all so good. And they respected me because they improved their game, they couldn’t take their foot of the gas because this crazy guy from England… who knows what he’s gonna come up with next.

Dorian Yates

Dorian Yates developed his own training system called Blood and Guts which is a powerful workout comprising of high-intensity exercises.

Some athletes, like Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, and later Phil Heath, followed in his footsteps and became mass monsters.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Posted by Adrien Hunt