|Getbig Interview: Shawn Ray
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Shawn Ray has a lot to say. So much so that we split this conversation and interview up into two parts. Controversial, arrogant and outspoken, Shawn's views differ greatly from many, including myself, and have often amazed and irritated many with his stand at various places - at press conferences, on the bulletin boards, in the magazines, in seminars. After 17 years with Weider Publications, Shawn has entered into a new phase in life with his departure from them, and entered into a new contract with Vyo-Tech. Shawn is also considered one of the best pro bodybuilders of our time, having placed in the top 5 of the Mr. Olympia contest an amazing 12 times in a row. Here, in part one, we learn about some of Shawn's controversial views in some questions that many of us wanted to know about, and also about his personal life, and the way he feels about becoming a daddy. Part two will continue with questions on steroids, moments in bodybuilding, the DEA, and much more.
Shawn Ray - Part One, notes by Ron Avidan
- So why have you left Weider Publications?
Well, I turned pro winning the Nationals in 1987 in October, and by January 1988, I signed my first contract with Joe Weider, the man himself, at which time, it was the beginning of my contracted career. So you've got to figure, I was with Weider from 1988 to 2005. That is 17 years. In 2004, Joe Weider sold his company to AMI Publications for $350 Million Dollars, I have spent my entire professional career under contract with Joe Weider and his company. My last contest that I competed in was 2001. In 2005, they were under new ownership, and they were kind of going in a new direction, they were looking for athletes that were competing, and I hadn't been competing in three years. They are trying to find the right mix for the company. I had signed with Joe Weider, and with Joe Weider no longer at the helm, they came in with new people, new vision, new direction, and with me not competing since 2001, I needed to move into a new direction as well. So I think it was more of a business move on both sides.
On March 1st, my new contract with Vyo-Tech Nutritionals, out of Beverly Hills, California will kick in, it is a two year deal for me to represent their line of supplements full time, as their spokesperson So the timing couldn't of come at a better time. Shawn Ray, the retired ex-competitive bodybuilder was headed in one direction, and Weider/AMI heads in a different direction ? I am working more on the seminar circuit, I am promoting and marketing my Muscle Camps around the world, while I am preparing for "Life after" professional bodybuilding.
I come from the last golden era of bodybuilding, With me turning pro at such a young age, I had one portion of history being linked to Lee Haney and Rich Gaspari. I lived through another portion of history through the Dorian Yates - Leee Labrada era, and ushered in the new wave of bodybuilders with the end of the 1990s with Paul Dillett, Flex Wheeler, and Chris Cormier - and now I aam seeing the changing of the guard now with the tail end of Ronnie Coleman's career and guys like Dexter, Jay and Gustavo. So I had a good run, a great business relationship with Weider. I watched bodybuilders come and go being sponsored and represented by different supplement companies and magazines, bouncing around, trying to find the right mix. Joe Weider supported my beliefs, supported my outspokenness, allowed me the freedom of speech, and with that, I was never afraid to hold my tongue in a press conference, in a magazine interview, or in a confrontation with the IFBB or the judges. So while people considered me the outspoken, the cocky or arrogant one, what I
had was the assurance and support of Joe Weider regarding, "Freedom of Speech."
- Why did you stop competing in pro contests?
In 2001, I knew on stage that year at the Olympia that I would not be back. I had just received my second consecutive 4th place finish following the 2000 Olympia, and the irony of this situation was that, going into the 2001 Olympia, Kevin Levrone was not a registered member of the IFBB nor did he have a contract to compete in the 2001 Olympia. And it wasn't news. Every knew about this. So much so that the week of the contest, Wayne DeMilia and Jim Manion made a consorted effort to let every know that Kevin Levrone would not be allowed to compete in the Mr. Olympia should he show up. For the two reasons above. That is fine - Kevin is a top five guy, one less person I don't have to worry about
- theoretically, he eliminated himself. That being said, we go on to compete in the show, and they allow Kevin Levrone in to compete at the 11th hour.
The answer I got was 'the powers that be' allowed Kevin in. I didn't know who the 'powers that be' were? All I knew was that I did know who was the IFBB Vice President, and who was the head judge of the Olympia. Wayne Demilia and Jim Manion. And when they say someone is not going to be allowed in because of a rules violation, I expected those rules to get enforced. Which they weren't. Kevin wound up in 3rd place, I wound up in 4th place. A week after the show, Jay Cutler failed the diuretics test. He threatened a lawsuit, then the federation goes and throws out all of the
drug tests, which I thought was ridiculous in and of itself. They said it was because the lab was not an IOC accredited lab, because their registration had expired? All that was mumbo jumbo, nobody in the federation on the athletes side heard of the drug facility having to be an official IOC lab without us being an Olympic sport. And the lab registration being expired sounded like smoke and mirrors.
Needless to say, Jay Cutler did fail the test, and everyone knew it, the results were made public - so that had Jay been eliminated since the rules were violated ? I would of moved up. Had Kevin not been allowed to compete because of the rules by the IFBBs own standards, I would of ultimately wound up in 2nd place.
- So was it a financial decision or a person one?
From that perspective, knowing that these rules could be broken, bent, or changed in the face of what the IFBB rulebook says, I knew that there was no where else for me to go on the competitive stage, because if they can do this to me in front of 5,000 fans, in front of all the 197 registered bodybuilders, when they can threaten you if you don't compete once you sign that contract with a $5,000 fine, or when you can be suspended when there is a break in the Code of Conduct stating you can't criticize anything, or for the athletes to be careful with what we say and how we act, and there is punishment if we fail a drug test. Only when this happens, there is no punishment at all?
I was 36 years old, I was done playing games, I thought that I went as far as I could go, and I witnessed enough politics at that stage in my life that I didn't want to play anymore. I had enough. If the Mr. Olympia rules went to the letter of the law they way the handbook was written, I would have been in 2nd place.
- Does it bother you that you never won the Mr. Olympia?
It doesn't bother me because I understand how I never did. How Flex Wheeler never won, how Kevin Levrone never won, and how Jay Cutler and Dexter have yet to win. Certainly, there has been Mr. Olympia's in my time that were deserving of a
championship, but I have always felt, and I will take this to my grave, that the lack of rotation of the judges stopped several great champions that had the capability to hold the title of Mr. Olympia from becoming Mr. Olympia. Simply because there was no checks and balances. There was not a steady rotation of opinions. And when you don't change opinions, you wind up with the same results.
That's how I believe, you wind up with an 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, 6-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, and 7-time
Mr. Olympia in Ronnie Coleman in "Consecutive years!" Mathematically, those numbers are impressive. But if you have the same people choosing it, it is easy to see how those numbers would size up. There is no doubt in my mind that Kevin
Levrone was a Mr. Olympia bodybuilder, Flex Wheeler was a Mr. Olympia bodybuilder, and in 2001, Jay Cutler could of beaten Ronnie Coleman had there not been a diuretic test.
There is no doubt in my mind that in 1994, I was Mr. Olympia. And in 1996. And a strong argument for 1997. What they
didn't allow me to achieve on stage, I think worldwide, the fans have spoken. In the poll that Flex Magazine did, titled 'Who is the uncrowned Mr. Olympia', I came out on top by the fans. Unanimously across the board, my body of work, my popularity, my contracts that I have been able to get - speak volumes regarding what I have accomplished on stage. I didn't need the recognition of 12 judges to say that I was Mr. Olympia. What I did need was the respect of my peers, the writers, photographers and the fans. Throughout my career, I think that I have gotten that.
- Did you want to become and IFBB or NPC judge?
I have always said that I would rather be part of the solution than part of the problem. But until they clean house, and get rid of the old guard, I would rather not be a part of that system. And I say that because the majority of the bodybuilders, when their careers are done, and the judges have had their say, they don't come back to be a part of the problem. Part of the problem is that once you become a judge, you have a lifetime tenure meaning that you can be a judge for life, meaning select judges have the opportunity to judge the Mr. Olympia, while other judges that are easily as qualified, never have that opportunity.
Part of the Mr. Olympia judging problem that leaves fans wanting more or booing at the end of the show is that it is an international contest, with bodybuilders from around the world. When you look at the body of judges, across the board, you have about 7 to 8 American judges, and 4-5 European judges. The judges that are on that panel are not reflective of the people that make up the IFBB, which stands for International Federation of Body Builders. So, I have a major problem with the fact that there is an over whelming influence of American judges on a stage of international bodybuilders.
That's how Dexter Jackson, Darrem Charles, and Kevin Levrone can go outside of the United States, and win every show, and then they wind up at the Mr. Olympia, where the judging panel is 70% American, and they don't have a chance to win. If it is truly an international contest, then it should be just like the Olympic games, where you have a representative representing different countries. Are you kidding me that we have to have 7-8 American judges, and then you throw out three highs and three lows. All that does is throw out all of the International judges scores. Until they remedy that situation, make that judging panel rotate every single year, don't have consecutive years judging from the judges, and involved other judges that are qualified from other pro shows, we are going to continue on with this monopoly of Mr. Olympia's, which come in the form of 5'11", 260 pounds plus. It's not representative of what the world wants to see; it's not representative of the body of bodybuilders that make up the industry. Now we are at 5"11", and 290 pounds. Where does it stop?
- Why did you quit the Athlete's Reps position in the IFBB?
I walked away from the Athlete's Representatives position after the former vice president Wayne DeMilia had me jump through hoops to get a majority vote. Now this is how I had to get it. I had to contact bodybuilders globally to obtain a signature from them that said the wanted me to represent them in the three meetings that the IFBB had per year on how they make up the rules and regulations of the sport. I sat in on a couple of meetings until the Olympia came around which was the biggest meeting because it influenced exactly what it was going to happen in 2005. I spent
five months gathering eight bullet points that were most important on the athletes agenda. I constructively wrote out a letter, and submitted it to the IFBB, Jim Manion. We are supposed to go over the bullet points at the
Mr. Olympia and they sent me an email with the time that they set at 9:30pm Wednesday night, following the Athletes meeting.
I showed up at the Athletes meeting, and they told me the meeting had already taken place at 4:30pm before the Athletes' meeting. But no one told me, no one sent me an email stating the change, no one called me on my cell phone. The irony of this change was that the only reason that the IFBB had all the contact information of the pros was that I supplied them with that information. Now, they didn't even use that information to call me on my cell phone, and
I have a second home in Las Vegas. I was also at the Mandalay Bay at 12 noon; yet when they had the meeting and sat down, I was informed later on by another athlete's rep that no one even bothered or decided to call me and find out where I was, and I was in the building. It led me to believe that they didn't want to address the issues that I had that the athletes were concerned about, I think it was a snow job, and then I thought I have too many other things that I can do instead of running around here chasing my tail trying to make the federation listen to the concerns of the athletes.
- But why quit?
The worse part about it is that if they are going to give me the run around when it comes to these meetings and these issues, there was absolutely nothing that was going to get resolved. This meeting was supposed to resolve these issues for 2005. That why we were bringing it up to the table in October 2004. So they told me they were going to send me the "Minutes" from that meeting. I spoke with two women athlete's representatives that were there in the meeting, and they did not address any of the 8 bullet points that I had. What's worse is that I never got a phone call from October through January 2005 from Jim Manion, the IFBB Vice President and I Bob Cicherillo is my witness! I never got any kind of response on anything from the IFBB until mid January after I wrote the letter of resignation. That being said, if they truly wanted to work with the athletes, they knew I was willing, ready and
prepared to work with them.
- Have you ever received the minutes from the meeting?
I have never gotten the minutes. All I got was an email that showed the issues that they addressed for the 2005 Season, none of which had any of the bullet points that I had brought up, like guaranteed prize money. Darrem Charles is still owed $7,000 from his win in Florida in April 2004. Craig Richardson is still contemplating whether or not he should bring a lawsuit against the promoter in Florida because he hasn't been paid his money. Another issue was related to the promoters changing the prize money after they had advertised it, like the GNC Show of Strength did. The IFBB
should stand up for and guarantee the prize money for which they competed in. Barring the drug test, the athletes would also like to received their prize money on stage. If there is no drug test, there is no reason why they
should not receive their money on stage. But yet, at the Mr. Olympia contest, it took Dexter Jackson six weeks to get his prize money. So these are some issues the athletes are concerned about.
They also want to know how the judging selection process is done. I was a veteran of that stage for 13 years, and in the IFBB for 15 years. To this day, I don't even know how they go about choosing the judges. The reason the athletes are concerned is because they want accountability. There is no checks and balances and no accountability. I fought long and hard to get the judges names on the scoresheets, which they did, but now the athletes want more. They want to
know how these judges are being selected, and why these judges are judging the same contests selectively. They want a chance to compete, but as long as you have judges being hand picked, and consecutively chosen to judge,
they are going to continually believe they are up against the same battle, because if a judge doesn't like you today, he probably won't like you tomorrow, and he probably won't like you next year. You have a better
opportunity to compete with all new judges than with the same old judges.
- So who do you think is going to be the Men's Athlete's Rep now?
Well, Bob Cicherillo says he wants to be the voice for the athletes, but nobody in this industry has a more bigger mouth or experience than I do in competing in the Mr. Olympia. I think what I represented to this federation was change and like anything, there is a lot of people that are resistant to change. Rather than work with me on behalf of the athletes to progress harmoniously, the federation was working against me by patronizing me and trying to steer me in a different direction to the point that they felt they didn't need to deal with it. These issues now are going to resonate in
2005 because you are going to have more athletes unsettled and more unhappy. Just like the prize money for the pro Ironman. For 15 years, the prize money has not been changed. The reason they added more money this year at the 11th hour was because I started complaining about it over a year ago. Suddenly, mysteriously, $4,000 appears from Russ DeLuca of Bodybuilding.com, but the $3,500 that I raised about a month before the show was turned down?
I can only try and do so much. When I raised $10,000 to give away to the best performance on stage for the Mr. Olympia, I was forced to give it away behind closed doors at my own seminar in front of 70 people, rather than on stage in front of 5,000 people where it rightfully deserved to be given away. And then I did it for the second year in a row.
I am wondering whether or not I am going to be doing it again for the third year. If this is truly something that the athlete's want, they are going to have to fight to get it the proper recognition that it deserves, which would be on stage.
In November 2003, Jim Lorimar called me and wanted me to give away the $10,000 Best Power Award, and left me in charge. By January 2004, Wayne DeMilia had me removed from that award, and told Jim Lorimer that he could get the Rock, L.L. Cool J, Tom Arnold and Sylvestor Stallone to be the judges for that award, and as it turned out, none of them actually were judges for it. King Kamali ultimately won the award by some mysterious judges and dubious people that had nothing to bodybuilding, including a choreographer. The award was watered down ? not one athlete was in
agreement of that award.
This year, at the 2004 Ironman, I offered to raise money and present the "Shawn Ray Best Presentation Award" but contest promoter, John Balik chose to change the name of the award from the Shawn Ray Best Presentation Award to the "Vince Gironda Award." I thought, it is your show - do with it what you will. He chose to give away $1,000 rather than the $3,500 that I would have been able to give away. That only hurt the actual person that won the award, and it
hurt so much, that he gave the prize money and award away to the sixth place finisher, who wasn't at the time getting any money.
And that is what is going to start happening down the road. Some of these bodybuilders will take a stand and fight for what they want ? or they will start staying away from these shows. They will stop competing at the smaller show, and the people who will get hurt will be the promoters and the fans. So I think that it is high time that the federation start recognizing and working with people that are trying to do something and better this sport, and put some
money back into the athletes pockets instead of keeping the money away from
the athletes. That is all I was trying to do.
Bob Cicherillo has an upward climb and big shoes to fill, and needs a megaphone to be heard, but I wasn't going to compromise anything if it meant that I couldn't represent the athletes wholehearted and without bias. I think that the federation saw "Shawn Ray" and they didn't see the athletes rep, that was part of the problem of me being a representative. I think they somehow felt that I had my own agenda when in fact, all I wanted to be, was a spokesman representing the athleetes. And that's a hard row to hoe. I was dealing with people that I have criticized my entire career, I was dealing with a system that is resistant to change. I am not holding Ben Weider accountable for any of this, because Joe and Ben Weider and myself have always had good communications. I am talking about the "Blue Blazers"
that are running the federation.
- Why don't you promote your own NPC or IFBB show in the future?
I am not a contest promoter first of all. I am former bodybuilder, looking out for the best interests of the athletes. So when they say 'promote your own show or raise your own prize money', I say 'I can raise $10,000 with a
few phone calls to give away an award that a guy can win in two minutes on a pro bodybuilder stage'. A promoter promotes. A promoter that says 'It's not in our budget - we don't have it - the money's not there - we don't
have the sponsorships', they need to consider on how they are getting their sponsorship dollars, and how they are promoting their shows. I have never said that I can do a better job than some of the promoters. I am still
working on behalf of the athletes, I am the voice of the athletes, because the athletes are intimidated - because the very people that they would be complaining to are the very people that would wind up judging them and
holding their future in their balance. I know what its like to go on stage and not get paid. I also know what it feels like to go on stage and win, then later you feel like you are going to pay Uncle Sam more money than you won just to
cover your expenses.
- But you quit the position!
Yes, I quit from the official representation. I walked Richard Jones into the Weider Headquarters and helped negotiate a two year contract, who was in a bidding war with Muscular Development. I consulted with Mark Dugdale about
how to go about obtaining his Weider contract. Troy Alves, Garrett Downing - all of these guys have contacted me - even Quincy Taylor, asking me for my advice, asking me for my opinions, on business. I have taken
bodybuilders around the world on Muscle Camps where they earn money and get recognition.
My experience on the stage is not going to get locked up in my closet with my posing trunks just because I am done competing. I am trying to educate these athletes so I could share my wisdom and experience with them so that they don't get taken advantage of while they are at the prime of their career. That means working beyond the scope of competing on the bodybuilding stage. Advice regarding securing deals with supplement companies, with gyms, with sports clothing lines, and also what shows strategically to compete in that would benefit them the best. I helped them
with guest appearances and posing routines. I still get phone call to make appearances, I
am only one person that could be in one place, so I refer other bodybuilders to go to
a certain promoter, place or gym, and I need to know the character of these
I also need to know their commitment to their physical condition. I have not abandoned these athletes. If nothing else, I have made myself more available individually, not collectively for the athletes. I am in constant
communication with pro bodybuilders as they come in and out of California, and even on the road, I helped Frank Roberson with the ins and outs of what to ask for on a guest posing exhibitions, how much to charge a
supplement company for his services. I am still very plugged in with all the bodybuilders. That doesn't mean I am a promoter. And I am not an agent! There has not been one bodybuilder that I have gotten a guest posing
appearance, a contract for, or taken around the world that I have gotten one dime from. I help put money in their pocket - in exchange - I am helping put some money into my pocket - we are working together.
- Some people have called you an arrogant ass!
Sure! There's absolutely no doubt that I am arrogant, and that arrogance comes from the confidence in the belief in myself to do what I say I am going to do. I have always put my money where my mouth is. People say to me
instead of sitting back and complaining, do something about it. Well, I tell you what I did do. When I said I wanted to make up an award, I put up my own money and then I asked other people to match it. When one of guys went
down with a kidney problem, I put up my own money and asked his colleagues to help pitch in. The people that are pointing fingers and using derogatory adjectives are not the people that know Shawn Ray. The true character of a
person is what he does when he is down, or when somebody else is down. I don't just point out the problems of bodybuilders - I help bodybuilders solve their problems.
I also call a spade a spade. And when I see this
unfairness, it would be outside of my character to go along with that, which is why every single year, I will challenge the IFBB to rotate the judges. I remember this one line that stood out in my mind, and this is going back to
when President Ronald Reagan said to Mickael Gorbachev. He said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" He challenged him on national television, and everybody heard that. The next thing we saw was that wall came tumbling
down. I stood up in the face of the IFBB judges two days before the biggest show of my life, and I told them "Change the judges. Put your names on the scoresheets. Move closer to the stage. Put partitions between you. Throw
away the pencils, and write the scores in pens. Go digital". I asked for them to be accountable. And as they become more accountable, I am now saying "Raise the prize money!" By the way, the previous points I just made, I have witnessed them being addressed because of my Big Mouth!
- Don't you have any ulterior motives on all of this?
In 2003, for the Olympia, when I raised $10,000 for the Best Poser Award, Wayne DeMilia wouldn't allow me to give it away on stage. I said, you know what, instead of giving way $10,000 to one person, why don't we give away
$2,000 to the 5 guys who don't get anything, the ones who finish out of the top ten. There were 15 guys in that show that year. He would not allow that, so instead I gave the $10,000 to Melvin Anthony a day after the Mr.
Olympia. Wayne DeMilia, on the 11th hour, at the press conference, accepted Kerry Kayes offer of $1,000 from Dorian Yates Approved Nutrition, to the guys who finished out of the top 10, and Wayne said he would match
it with another $1,000 for each athlete. This is two days out before the 2003 Mr. Olympia. I had been talking to
Wayne months before the show? Wayne could of easily been able to give every guy who placed out of the top ten that year $4,000. So as far as I am concerned, he deprived five people out of $2,000 so that one could get
$10,000. That was a travesty. Was that an ulterior motive?
I consider myself a smaller version of Joe Weider in competitive bodybuilding. I try to help those I can or those in need. I made what I could out of bodybuilding. I made a great life for myself and for my family, but I
don't take that stuff, I dont keep it for myself. I am learning now that I am no longer buried in the gym, and buried in the competitive world, and focused only upon Shawn Ray, that there is more satisfaction in me "Giving" then
there is in taking. And that is where I have grown up over the years. I can look back over the past few years where I have given up my time, given of my finances, given of my wisdom, to bodybuilders coming up behind me because
I know how good bodybuilding has been to me. I also know what Joe Weider taught me coming in this business, that it you cannot take it with you!
So, every chance I get, I try to pay it forward, I try to give it back, because I got so much more than I ever thought I would get from the sport of bodybuilding. Through my own blood, sweat and tears - my
sacrifice and my time. Nobody's given me anything. Trust me when I say this - Joe Weider never gave me anything except an opportunity and friendship. The wealth that I have amassed, the success that I have, lies squarely on shoulders of
Shawn Ray, and my own dedication to the sport. By the grace of God, I have had an injury free career, and have spent it in the top 5 in the world. I would have not traded one year getting ready for 12 consecutive Olympia for
anything in the world because it helped make the fabric of who I am. Now, that I can look back and still see that I have not given a portion of what I hope to give back to the athletes - by trying to open doors for
them, and trying to encourage, not deterred them,
I am also trying to change the face of bodybuilding as we know it today because right now we are on a
collision course with self destruction from the inside out. That means that the people running the infrastructure of professional bodybuilding are running it into the ground. They are running the fans away, they are
running the bodybuilders away. We have seen bodybuilders going to jail, we have bodybuilders doing recreational drugs, we have bodybuilders with kidney and heart problems, and they are not even 40 years old yet? All of this to
please a look the judges want and it is simply unrealistic. They have raised the bar so high that the bodybuilders need to be protected from themselves because of the criteria the judges have for them to be a champions. All I am trying
to do is get some opinions and judges changed, and institute a tenure on how long a judge can judge. I don't believe that if you judge for 5 years on a pro level, you can judge for 20 years on the pro level. Otherwise,
that is like saying that during the Reagan years, since things were run financially well, we should keep him on as president. I think that people change, opinions change, athletes change, interest in sport changes, and we need to change with it. This is the only sport that I can look back to the Lee Haney era
in the 1980's, and see judges that were judging then still judging now? That is the biggest travesty we have in professional bodybuilding.
- Lets change topics. Lets talk about family. How did you meet your wife Kristy?
My wife had trained off and on at various gyms, and I had seen her around but she was always dating someone else. In 2001, I caught her when she free and I was not seeing anyone. We started dating and it kind of got serious in early 2002. She knew of my background being a pro competitor, as she was also a competitor, so we
had similar backgrounds and lots of things in common. Once I had made the decision not to compete anymore, it gave me an opportunity to change my focus from Shawn Ray to her. Through my relationship with her, I have grown leaps
and bounds as an individual that is not self focused on himself, as I was a lifetime bachelor. Through this relationship, I have had to discover what Shawn Ray wants. It is a nice balancing act to have someone as strong,
independently established as her come into my life, and balance me out.
- How did you know that you wanted to marry her?
She had characteristics in her that I saw in myself. Very self maintained, disciplined, organized and professional, and she didn't need me. I think that was an attribute of self sustaining that I really liked. I had
always run into girls that I dated that were co-dependent or need something regarding finances or too much of my time and I think that when I found someone that was just as independent as myself, but just as
needy in certain areas, I felt like this might be an area that might be worth exploring. I wasn't looking for it, but it seems that it just happened to work out the way that it has. In that time from when we first met until now, we have had our ups and downs here and there, but I only have myself to blame because there's an
adaptation you have to make when you invite a life partner into your life.
So there has been serious growth in me since engaging and marrying her, and desiring her to be the mother of my future kids.
- How did you feel when you found out that you will become a daddy?
It felt like my life was becoming complete. I am coming into my 40th birthday in September of 2005. We are in the second year of our marriage, we are going to have a child. 2005 is going to be a big year for me!
I think that if I had a script back when I was 30 years old, I think this is
the way I would have written it because I am equipped mentally for what God has in store for us.
Today, bodybuilding does not absorb my life and consume my time, which is why I was single for so long, and why I put marriage and family off for so long. I didn't leave pro bodybuilding wanting. I emptied myself out on that
stage. I left all that I had in the gym.
When Kristie came into my life, I said that I was ripe for this. I don't know if I was ready, or had all the tools, but through a learning process and a maturing process, by the
time I am 40, I will be well on my way to being the kind of man I always wanted to be. I think my walk spiritually is strong, as we are active in our Church, I am enrolled in Bible Study classes, setting myself up for fatherhood so that I am learning what the true meaning of life is.
Watching my nieces and nephews grow up - watching my best man and best friends have
children - I have seen what that experience does to a person.
- So how many diapers have you changed?
I am not a diaper person, but when it comes to mine and my own, I think it will be an easy transition. If anybody has ever raised an animal before, the love that you have for it has got to be a hundred times more for
another human being, especially when it looks like you and you've created!
The love that I had for my pet, my dog Diablo, the nurturing aspect of it, I raised my puppy to
a full grown adult dog, before having to put him in the ground and send
him home to heaven, I can only imagine how much more magnified that experience will be with a human life form that I helped created!
- Have you ever been peed on? Or pooped on?
I have been peed on by my dog, but as far as a person is concerned, I can only imagine that this is part of what they say is like an "Eighth wonder of the world." It is one thing to hold someone else's child because you can
always give him back, close to door, go on with your life, but this is a responsibility that I am looking forward to because I think that I am at a stage in my life where the maturity, finances and experience level there to
try and be the best father that I can be. I have been actively in the past years, trying to be the best husband that I could be. It makes things interesting because I am reading books that I normally wouldn't read, and
I am engaging in conversations that I ordinarily, I would never converse in.
But all that is in preparation for what is to come. My dad always said, "just wait until I have kids, and be careful what you wish for." This should
be the defining moment of my life, in terms of going to the mountaintop. Nothing for me was higher than winning the National Championships in 1987 where I could say, at that point and time, that I was the best amateur
bodybuilder in the world. Not in California, not in the USA, but in the world! Competing in front of 5,000 screaming fans is a very big rush, but I cannot imagine what I am going to feel like when I see my kid being born.
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