Pro bodybuilding Gunter Schlierkamp reflects on beating Ronnie Coleman in 2002 just three weeks after he won the Mr. Olympia.

It’s no secret that Ronnie Coleman is one of the biggest legends in the sport of bodybuilding. His eight-time Mr. Olympia reign is stuff of legend and his mass monster physique is touted as impossible to match – even decades after his prime. Yet somehow in 2002, Gunter Schlierkamp defeated Coleman at a bodybuilding show just three weeks after Coleman took his fifth Sandow trophy. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Gunter Schlierkamp details the moment he defeated Ronnie Coleman in his prime and just how he pulled it off.

Gunter Schlierkamp is a bodybuilder who is beloved by many fans in the history of the sport. He may not have earned an Olympia win – but his mass monster physique was impressive and earned him a spot as an icon in bodybuilding. But there is one fact that might be shocking to fans who don’t know Schlierkamp’s career in detail. In 2002, just three weeks after Ronnie Coleman won his fifth Mr. Olympia title, Schlierkamp defeated Ronnie Coleman.

Of course, Ronnie Coleman had been defeated before. It’s well known that Coleman struggled to place high initially before dominating the field. That being said, after he started winning the Mr. Olympia year after year – Gunter Schlierkamp is the only bodybuilder to have defeated him during his reign. How did he do it?

We asked this very question to Gunter Schlierkamp during our latest video interview. His answer has little to do with some sort of mysterious trick – and more to do with continued hard work mixed with a boost of extreme confidence.

Gunter Schlierkamp faced off against Ronnie Coleman at a pro show in New Orleans three weeks after the Mr. Olympia. During the Olympia show – Schlierkamp placed fifth. This his first time making it into the top five at Mr. Olympia. Afterwards, famous bodybuilding journalist Peter McGough came up to him backstage. With extreme excitement, McGough stated that Schlierkamp should have placed in the top five the previous year. His placing in 2002 was vindication of the mistake that the judges made sleeping on him last year.

This news from such a trusted voice in bodybuilding made Gunter Schlierkamp ecstatic. So when he went into the New Orleans show just three weeks later – he had extreme confidence in his own ability going into the show. Not only that but he felt the energy of the fans. Any self doubt was thrown out the window. Mix that with continued hard work – and Schlierkamp found himself with the best conditioned physique he ever had.

Contest timing is always important as well. We asked Schlierkamp if he felt that Ronnie might have peaked at the Olympia only to be off three weeks later. Gunter Schlierkamp dismissed this idea. In his opinion, Ronnie Coleman looked better at the New Orleans show compared to the Mr. Olympia. By that notion, Schlierkamp believes to not have won by luck – but by pure hard work and will power. He didn’t defeat Ronnie on an off day. He defeated Ronnie at the top of his game.