The Colossus of Colorado, Phil ‘The Gift’ Heath posing in Barbados.
Photo by George Alleyne

The Barbados 2017 Darcy Beckles Bodybuilding Invitational Classic, Bikini & Fitness competition literally got a lot more muscle when the Reigning Mr. Olympia, Phil ‘The Gift’ Heath, turned up for a guest showing.

His performance was an interactive session as he stepped down from stage to mingle with the crowd at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre Saturday giving some daring women an opportunity to pose and feel the muscles of the man who continues to hold the Olympia title, which he has retained for a record ninth time.

The Colossus of Colorado also shared inspirational thoughts with his adoring fans.

“When you go through life and you go through hardship, just remember all you have to do is give it your best. Choose a positive attitude, be grateful for what you have in life and know you get to breathe fresh air. Something that a lot people sometimes cannot and feel sorry for themselves,” he said.

The man who has been the world number one body building professional for the past seven years straight added, “you cannot just be the average version of yourself. You have to say goodbye to that. If you want that promotion or that relationship you always wanted to have or the nice house or car, you have to say goodbye to that person”.

Heath’s visit to Barbados was during his out of season period, a time when the pros go easy on their training before jumping back into the hard routine for competition.

As a result his muscles, though massive, were not as ripped and defined in the chisel-like image fans were accustomed to seeing him during championship poses.

This brought him some criticism from one of the daily newspapers.

“The fans saw full pecs, round huge shoulders and his titanic thighs, but those expecting a truck load of [sharply defined] muscle only got a teaspoon full,” wrote a reviewer in the Nation newspapers.

“It was a let-down after all the hype as fans were surely expecting much more from one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.”

That absence of clear-cut muscle was lost on fans who mobbed the world champion at every opportunity, and anyhow enjoyed keen competition among the Barbados and other Caribbean posers.

Though not the biggest of competitors, Barbadian Shaquille Lavine displayed enough to edge over the larger Antiguan Olly Martin and win the men’s Invitational title.

Another Antiguan, Kim Ephraim, however turned the tables beat Barbadian Shakira Douglin for the overall bikini fitness title.

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