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|— Bodybuilder —|
|Nickname||Sultan of Symmetry|
August 23, 1965 |
Fresno, California, United States
|Weight||(On-season) 210-225 lbs.(106 kg)
(Off-season) 265-275 lbs. (122 kg)
|Pro-debut||IFBB World Amateur Championships, 1990|
|Best win||IFBB Arnold Classic Champion, 1993, 1997, 1998, and 2000|
|Successor||Kevin Levrone (1994)
Ronnie Coleman (2001)
Kenneth Wheeler (born August 23, 1965, Fresno, California, United States), known as Flex Wheeler, is a former American IFBB professional bodybuilder. Wheeler won the Arnold Classic a record four times. Wheeler was described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the greatest bodybuilders he ever saw.
Wheeler grew up in poverty in Fresno, California. As a child, Wheeler experienced child abuse and suicidal tendencies. He struggled in school due to dyslexia, but excelled in sports. Wheeler began training in martial arts, and started bodybuilding as a teenager after discovering weightlifting. He is on record as regarding himself as a "martial artist first, a bodybuilder second". Wheeler has remarkable flexibility, including being able to do a complete splits, which led to his nickname Flex.
After a short career as a police officer, Wheeler focused full-time on becoming a professional bodybuilder. He competed for the first time in 1983 but it was not until 1989 that he secured a first-place trophy at the NPC Mr. California Championships. He placed second at the 1993 Mr. Olympia, narrowly missing a win (something he was to repeat in 1998 and 1999). He is a 5-time Ironman Pro winner, 4-time Arnold Classic winner, and has won the France Grand Prix, South Beach Pro Invitational, Night of Champions and Hungarian Grand Prix.
While Wheeler had the reputation of being arrogant and overconfident, he attributed this to a need to compensate for his introversion and insecurity as a child and young man. In 1994, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that could have left him with lifelong paralysis. Falling back into depression again, he started training from scratch, returning with remarkable speed to bodybuilding's top tier. In 1999, Wheeler discovered that he had Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a form of kidney disease. Despite press speculation as to the cause of the failure, Wheeler pointed out that the condition is hereditary, not a result of drug use. Wheeler announced his retirement from competitive bodybuilding in 2000, but continued to compete until 2002.
Since retirement, Wheeler has focused again on martial arts, his specialty being Kemp-Kwon-Do, a variant of Kempo and Tae Kwon Do. In 2003, he received a kidney transplant; he then went on to participated in a demonstration fight at the 2005 Arnold Classic. In 2007, Flex was interviewed by freelance journalist Rod Labbe for Ironman Magazine's Legends of Bodybuilding series. Entitled "Yesterday and Today," it covers his extensive career and reveals how people can conquer adversity and triumph against incredible odds. Wheeler currently serves in an executive position as the Director of Media and Public Relations for the Sports Nutrition Company All American EFX, based out of Bakersfield, California. He also manages their sponsored athletes and can be seen in advertisements for the company.
- Height: 5'10"
- Off-season Weight: Around 245-255 lbs.
- Competition Weight: Around 230-235 lbs.
- Arm Size: 56 cm (22 in)
- Leg Size: 79 cm (31 in)
- Chest size: 142 cm (56 in)
- 1989 California Championships (Light heavyweight, 1st)
- 1989 Nationals (Light heavyweight, 5th)
- 1990 Junior Nationals (Heavyweight, 2nd)
- 1991 Nationals (Heavyweight, 2nd)
- 1992 USA Championships (Heavyweight & Overall, 1st)
- 1993 Ironman Pro Invitational (1st)
- 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (1st)
- 1993 Mr. Olympia (2nd)
- 1995 Ironman Pro Invitational (1st)
- 1995 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (2nd)
- 1995 South Beach Pro (1st)
- 1995 Mr. Olympia (8th)
- 1995 Grand Prix Spain (5th)
- 1996 Ironman Pro Invitational (1st)
- 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (2nd)
- 1996 Night of Champions (1st)
- 1996 Canada Pro Classic (2nd)
- 1996 Florida Cup Pro (1st)
- 1996 Mr. Olympia (4th)
- 1997 Ironman Pro (1st)
- 1997 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (1st)
- 1997 San Jose Pro (1st)
- 1998 Ironman Pro Invitational (1st)
- 1998 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (1st)
- 1998 Mr. Olympia (2nd)
- 1999 Grand Prix England (2nd)
- 1999 Pro World (2nd)
- 1999 Mr. Olympia (2nd)
- 2000 Mr. Olympia (3rd)
- 2000 Hungarian Grand Prix (1st)
- 2000 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic (1st)
- 2000 Ironman Pro Invitational (2nd)
- 2002 Mr. Olympia (7th)
- Teamflexwheeler.com Official site
- Flex Wheeler Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine Interview
- Bodybuilders.com Flex Wheeler profile
- Flex Wheeler Gallery
- Muscle: The Myostatin Connection as seen in Flex Wheeler
- Allamericanefx.com Official company site
- Flex Wheeler photos
- http://www.criticalbench.com/Flex-Wheeler.htm retrieved December 3, 2008
- Flex, Wheeler; Cindy Pearlman (May 2003). Flex Ability: A Story of Strength and Survival. Hay House. ISBN 1401901735. Unknown parameter