The Blade Vs. The Gift
For a year, Dexter "The Blade" Jackson, 39, and Phil "The Gift" Heath, 29, are the champ and the top contender, the king and the next in ascendance to the throne. Our play takes place in the midst of that year. Through mutual respect, the once bitter rivals have forged a friendship that is always at risk of shattering again.
In The Gift's words, they share "pretty, but freaky" physiques — and yet, there is only one king. As the Coleman versus Cutler rivalry fades into history, The Blade versus The Gift is now bodybuilding's greatest drama. On this February day, the battle heated up before the clash of iron even began — and the conflict never waned. The war for bodybuilding's crown will be decided, ultimately, on the Olympia stage.
The Blade On The Gift:
"There's a lot of joking between us, but that's my boy. I love Phil to death. He's a good guy. We joked a lot, even today. This is not me. I don't sit around and joke and talk. When I train, I train hard and get serious with it. But it's a trip to train with the guy.
There's no mistake about it, he's going to be one of the best ever. He's going to be Mr. Olympia soon. Maybe not this year, but I'm sure he's going to push me. And he could possibly beat me, but I'm going to give it 100%, and I think I can pull off one more. But next year... I doubt if I can pull off three in a row.
I mean, look at this guy, he's unreal. It's just an honor to be here training with him."
The Gift On The Blade:
"This whole experience has been amazing. Today, I think a lot of the trash-talking came from my excitement of being around Dexter. I think he understands that when I razz him, it's just because I respect him. And in so many ways, I want to be like him, because he has had such a tremendous career.
I'm excited now that I can go home and say I trained alongside Dexter, and I wasn't some guy who had to beg him to train. We were peers in this situation, and we were able to push each other and have fun doing it. That was the best part of it.
When I go back to Denver and he goes back to Florida, we're going to be training our butts off to beat each other, but at the end of the day, we respect each other for what we've accomplished and where we're at."
For a ringside seat at the ultimate workout between iron rivals and for the inside scoop on all upcoming action at Joe Weider's 2009 Olympia Weekend, pick up the October issue of FLEX, on newsstands now.