Bodybuilding Legend Flex Wheeler Will Receive 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award
Wheeler will join an exclusive club of bodybuilding and fitness luminaries.
In the late 20th century, Ken “Flex” Wheeler was a bodybuilding icon. Years after the end of his competitive career, he’s about to receive another honor marking his place in the strength and fitness sport’s history.
On Sept. 25, 2022, during the final day of the Arnold Sports Festival UK, promoters announced that Wheeler will be the recipient of the 2023 Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. The reveal of his honor was made during the finals of the 2022 Arnold Classic (AC) UK bodybuilding competition with the living legend present. The icon will officially get the esteemed award in a ceremony that will take place around the time of the 2023 Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH, next March.
First awarded in 2000 to Joe Weider, the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award is a recognition of an individual’s significant contribution to bodybuilding and the general fitness world. Winners have ranged from bodybuilding legends like Frank Zane (2003) and Bill Pearl (2004) to Hollywood fixtures like Sylverster Stallone (2010) and World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) Paul Michael Levesque or “Triple H.”
Wheeler’s honor undoubtedly comes partly from a result of an impressive output as a bodybuilding titan. The highlights of Wheeler’s competitive carer are his four Arnold Classic titles (1993, 1997-1998, 2000). Notably, Wheeler was a Mr. Olympia runner-up on three occasions (1993, 1998-1999), but he never stood atop the podium.
After years away, a 51-year-old Wheeler made his last competitive appearance in the Classic Physique division at the 2017 Mr. Olympia. He would finish in 15th place at the contest, where now two-time Classic Physique champion Breon Ansley captured the first of his major titles.
Wheeler has dealt with various health problems over the years. For example, in 2003, he received a kidney transplant. Later, in 2020, he would get a right-leg amputation due to life-threatening circulation issues. Wheeler would receive the inaugural Olympia and Inspiration Courage Award in 2020, given to a person who exemplifies courage when facing adversity. The legend now spends much of his time coaching, often working directly with 2022 AC UK winner and rising star Andrew Jacked.
At the time of this writing, Wheeler has not commented on the news of his receiving the 2023 Arnold Classic Achievement Award in public. Instead, his social media appears to be rife with various pictures and clips about personal fitness responsibility and succinct celebrations of athletes he works with. There might not be a better testament to why Wheeler will get this bodybuilding and fitness honor next March.
Featured image: @arnoldsportsuk on Instagram