Heading into the 2008 Mr. Olympia contest, the one name being tossed around as a wild card was Phil Heath. The man known as the Gift was making his first appearance on the Olympia stage, but has had a very productive year. Winning the IFBB Iron Man and finishing second to Dexter Jackson at the Arnold Classic had the 28 year-old in line for a good finish in Las Vegas.
Two days before the Olympia, Heath remained humble about his chances. â€œAny time that you have the opportunity to be mentioned like that, it is a privilege,â€ he said. â€œEspecially being a rookie, with the build up, to be in my position (being picked as) in the top six going in, for me, itâ€™s an honor and a privilege.â€
Sneaking into the top six became more likely once three solid competitors had to drop out due to injuries, including the runner-up last year, Victor Martinez. Although he acknowledged their capabilities, Heath felt confident enough to believe that he would finish high either way.
â€œI did beat Branch (Warren),â€ he said. â€œI did beat Kai (Green) this year already. It definitely makes it a more competitive battle. Theyâ€™ll be terribly missed. I think they would have definitely changed the outcome.â€
As Bob Cicherillo introduced Heath at the after party, he made a short statement that seemed to sound like a prediction. â€œPhil Heath will win this thing before too long.â€
Finishing in the second runner-up position on his first attempt, that seems to be a good possibility.