Ronnie Coleman is regarded as one of the most successful bodybuilders in history, winning the Mr. Olympia title for eight consecutive years from 1998 to 2005. Along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Coleman is regarded as the most dominant bodybuilder and has been the winner of 26 IFBB professional titles.
Besides being a professional bodybuilder, Ronnie Coleman also served in the police force. Here's everything to know about the cop career of the famous bodybuilding legend.
Ronnie Coleman's journey from a cop to bodybuilding
Born on May 13, 1964, in Monroe, Louisiana, Ronnie Coleman started with very little. However, his energetic nature and love for football helped him gain a scholarship to attend Grambling State University in Louisiana. Apart from playing as a middle linebacker for the GSU Tigers, Coleman graduated with a BSc in Accounting.
Initially, Ronnie did not plan on becoming a professional bodybuilder. After graduating, he relocated to Texas, hoping to find better employment opportunities. He worked different jobs in a bank, then at Domino's Pizza.
Every other job he applied for required experience which he did not have, and then, one fine day, he saw an advertisement in a newspaper about a vacancy in the police force.
This caught his attention because the ad highlighted that no experience was required. He eventually went on to become a police officer in Arlington, Texas. Coleman served on the force for many years, from 1989 up to 2003, and for some of the years, he balanced between being a cop and Mr. Olympia.
There were several reasons why Ronnie did not give up his job as an officer - free medical, life insurance, great work-life balance, and retirement benefits being a few of them.
During his time at the police station, his friend and fellow officer, Gustavo Arlotta, convinced him to start training at a nearby gym named MetroFlex. The gym owner, Brian Dobson, who was himself a bodybuilder, first spotted Coleman and asked him if he had ever considered bodybuilding.
Initially reluctant to take up the sport due to requirements like steroids, medication, and diet, Dobson convinced Coleman by offering him a free gym membership if he competed at the Mr. Texas competition in 1990. Dobson went on to train Coleman and both competed at the event.
Coleman said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast:
“What a lot of people don’t understand is you see me big up there, but it took a long time for me to get there I didn’t get there overnight. I put on … between five and 10 pounds (2-4.5kg) of muscle a year, and that came from all that heavy lifting (and) a lot of eating, a lot of eating.”
Coleman not only went on to win the heavyweight and overall category but also beat Dobson. He was 26 at the time. He won the World Amateur Championships (held in Poland) in 1991, and the Canada Pro Cup in 1995, three years before his first Mr. Olympia title in 1998.
The overall course of his career took a toll on his body as he underwent severe injuries since 2007, including two hip replacements. He continued to train despite his condition.
Considered the Michael Jordan of bodybuilding, Ronnie Coleman eventually retired in 2007 due to several injuries. Some of his surgeries had such poor outcomes that they restricted him from walking without support. Since his retirement, he has had two hip replacements and ten injuries, on which he has spent almost $2 million.
He now uses a wheelchair while traveling but does not regret his choices and determination to be the best bodybuilder in the world, which he successfully converted into a reality.
There is also a documentary inspired by his story called Ronnie Coleman: The King on Netflix. Currently, the 58-year-old Coleman continues to work out and shares a good amount of weightlifting content on his YouTube channel, which has almost 1.5 million subscribers.