Ronnie Coleman is a former member of the 21st man mountain. He ruled the world of bodybuilding starting in 1998 and held the Mr Olympia title for eight straight years.
Ronnie Coleman transformed the game and rose to fame as a fitness pioneer. But his fixation with bodybuilding has rendered him wheelchair-bound.
According to fellow weightlifting champion Kevin Levrone, Ronnie’s physique and power at his best “were not human.” He remarked, “You don’t have a chance of looking like him. It’s a gift from God. It’s a gift of genetics.”
Ronnie gained the moniker “The King” as a result of his unstoppable run. But when Ronnie confessed he could never walk unassisted again, the fitness community was struck with shock and sadness.
‘The Netflix documentary Ronnie Coleman: The King’ chronicles Ronnie’s rise and collapse. The former world champion is unable to stand up by himself. He is shown trailing his three and four-year-old daughters around the home on crutches.
Ronnie claims that repeated surgery on his back and hips are to blame for his current health issues. According to doctors, it’s also a result of degenerative wear and strain from the lengthy training period.
One poignant scenario had Ronnie saying, “I just get up on a morning, and you know, takes a minute for me to get going. I just got to get used to it.”
Ronnie had back issues since he was a little child. However, he didn’t allow the discomfort to stop him from winning the world championship. He acknowledged that while dealing with a herniated disc, he worked out and triumphed in several tournaments in a row.
Ronnie’s legs became numb as a result of the ensuing operations and nerve damage, which continues to bother him now. Four screws in his back snapped, breaking his own bones in the process, necessitating one surgery.
The former world champion required oxycodone, a potent opiate pain reliever often used by cancer patients. He needed it at its utmost dosage due to the excruciating agony he experienced throughout his recovery.
Ronnie said, “I’ve been in pain for so long now I’m just used to it. I take the pills too, helps a little bit.”
He said that the agony is “usually a nine or a ten” on a scale of 1 to 10.
“When I do appearances my pain level goes up to 12 or 13. Some was unbearable. If I’m in a whole lot of pain I just sit when I do appearances and people take pictures. For the most part I always try to stand up.”
Ronnie disclosed in 2020 that his most recent three operations cost him a staggering $2 million (£1.6 million).
“Every surgery I’ve had done was like $300,000 (£244k) to $500,000 (£407k) so the last three surgeries I had almost spend $2m,” he told Ron Harris of Muscular Development.
Ronnie is grateful and upbeat in spite of everything. In a recent Instagram video, he could be seen exercising his legs in the Metroflex gym where he first began. He is still receiving therapy.
Ronnie said: “I may have a little trouble with mobility but I still train legs twice a week every week. I miss doing squats… but at least I have some leg strength left.”
Coleman enthusiastically informed his fans that he will soon be able to walk after his most recent therapy in September of last year.
“God is truly blessing me this time around because he knows that I definitely need the inspiration because lately I’ve been semi-depressed after all my surgeries,” he wrote.
“I’m really in a state of shock because after the same results after the same surgery you kinda get use to being not able to walk and come to expect it.”
Ronnie founded a supplement business after retirement that generates an annual revenue of $15 million (£12.2 million). Despite his health issues, he is happily married, has four children, and has a positive attitude toward life. He claims that if given the opportunity, he would repeat the whole process.