For whatever reason, it seems as though there is a dramatic changing of the guard when new Mr. Olympia are crowned. In the transition from one legacy to another, the men “holding” court as it were for the reigning champ change just as quickly as the champ, as if the passing of an era with a champion also signals a passing for the competitors waiting in the wings. That is, however, unless you’re discussing a couple of competitors, most notably the inimitable Kevin Levrone.
Kevin Levrone has always been an enigma. Rather than cutting for a competition, the golden-skinned Levrone bulked for shows, gaining 15-20 pounds of muscle to compete onstage. Although he made his money competing in bodybuilding, Levrone preferred to spend his time on his avocation, music, performing in a rock band called Fullblown. When not on stage with his band, Levrone’s 5’1’’ and 250-ish pounds competed in 65 pro shows, only finishing outside of the top ten twice, during his 2016-2018 comeback while in his 50s.
In his prime, Levrone only finished outside of the top five once in 63 shows. Though he never won the Olympia, Levrone only failed to make the podium in 2016, when he only had five months to prepare. He placed second at Mr. Olympia four times- behind six time winner Dorian Yates in 1992 and 1995 and behind eight time winner Ronnie Coleman in 2000 and 2002 behind Ronnie Coleman. After failing to best Ronnie Coleman with what is indisputably his best-ever condition in 2002, Levrone decided to turn his attention to other pursuits, most notably acting. Levrone then landed a speaking role in the horrendous film Redline, famously funded by a pizza delivery man-turned-billionaire who made his riches building the derivatives market that destroyed the economy in 2008, as well as small parts in other indie films and small tv shows.
Perhaps just to prove it was possible for him to regain his previous form, Levrone embarked upon a plan to retake the podium at the Olympia in 2016, though his 14 year layoff proved too much to overcome. He competed once more in 2018, finishing next to last in the Australian Arnold Classic, and decided to hang up his trunks for good at the age of 54. Though he could not regain his previous form entirely, Levrone proved that even in his 50s his physique was still serious and impressive, and that one of the winningest non-Mr. Olympias in history is a force to be reckoned with even in the latter half of his life.
Image Source: Reddit