The annual Lee Haney Games is taking place on Saturday, November 11, at the Georgia International Convention Center. A fitness competition created by former Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, 63, this event allows athletes and fitness enthusiasts to show off their hard work and qualify to compete in a national competition.
One of the more prominent fitness competitions, especially in Georgia, The Lee Haney Games celebrates its ninth event this year.
“We’ve continued to grow over the years with audience participation and the caliber of athletes,” said Haney, a resident of metro Atlanta. “Several of our athletes who have entered the games have gone pro. It speaks well to our contest and who is competing.”
Haney is known as one of the top bodybuilding competitors in the world, winning Mr. Olympia eight times. He currently holds the record for the most Mr. Olympia wins, along with Ronnie Coleman, both beating out Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record of winning seven times.
One of the successful athletes who’s competed in The Lee Haney Games is Keone Pearson from Middle Georgia, who just won the 212 Divison for Mr. Olympia. Another known competitor is Lenda Murray, who won eight Ms. Olympia titles.
The competition allows men and women to compete in several categories including Men’s Physique, Men’s Classic Physique, Men’s Bodybuilding, Women’s Bikini, Women’s Wellness, Women’s Physique, and Women’s Fitness.
“The Men’s Physique is more of the beach body style of physique with the shorts that come below the knees. They have to have nice abs and nice shape, but they’re not as big. Then you have the Men’s Classic Physique which is guys who are a little bigger. They have the shorts that come above the thigh. They have a medium-sized physique which is more muscular than the Physique category,” Haney said.
“From there, we have Men’s Bodybuilding, which is for guys who are bigger and more muscular. They wear the posing briefs and they’re the largest of all of the categories.”
Haney describes that he comes from what was called the “classic physique era”, where there weren’t many categories, so he and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been considered Men’s Classic Physique during that time.
The Lee Haney Games started back in 2015 as an evolution of fitness events that Haney started doing around 2007. The initial events targeted families and youth with activities such as obstacle races. The official creation of the Lee Haney Games brought in the physique competitions.
Due to COVID-19, signature activities such as strong man, powerlifting, and arm wrestling, were let go. However, Haney says that they will be coming back in 2024 along with other activities.
Additionally, The Lee Haney Games serves as a fundraiser for the Haney’s Harvest House a 501(c)(3) organization that provides a mentoring program for boys eight to seventeen years old in the Metro Atlanta area.
“Haney’s Harvest House is a nonprofit organization where we established a mentoring program for young boys. Our program is called Raising a Modern Day Knight and we teach the characteristics of authentic manhood like serving, obedience, perseverance,” Haney said.
“We have a group of awesome people who make this happen. We started back in 1995 and we’ve continued to group since that time. We have an organization that exists at the Rock Church of Atlanta in Forest Park, GA, and another at The Connection Church in Jonesboro, GA Also, under these programs, we have a group of young men who came through the program and are now running it.”
Through these programs young boys are provided life lessons, participate in community service, and given fitness and health information, as well as access to a fitness facility.
Haney continued, “One of our guys is one of the commanders over the NATO division in Poland and another one has been in the Air Force for seven years, so we can be proud of our young boys.”
The Lee Haney Games will also be live-streamed for those who cannot attend. The event is made possible with the help of local sponsors which include Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Jantanna, Bey & Associates, Allan Vigil Ford, Southtowne Chevrolet Buick GME, and more.
Registration for all competitors ended on Thursday, November 9, however attendees can purchase tickets for The Lee Haney Games by visiting https://www.leehaneygames.com/.