Lee Priest
February 13, 2004

Lee Priest did not have a great last half of 2003, finishing in 15th place at the Mr. Olympia, his worst placing ever in a pro show. So is Mr. Priest finished. Hardly. Is he retired. Hardly. Lee Priest is coming back for the Ironman Pro and the other early shows poised to make sure that no one doubts his ability to be one of the best bodybuilders in the sport. Here are some questions and answers with Lee Priest.

Lee Priest, interviewed by Ron Avidan.

  • So I hear that you are competing in the 2004 Ironman Pro?

      Yes, I like doing the Ironman because it is a good local show and I have always liked the lighting there. As far as looking good, I am happy with how I look, so whether or not it is good enough, you never know until the day of the show, so you know that I can say I look fantastic now but I still have two weeks to go, so how I look now doesn't matter. It all matters on February 21st. If all goes well, and I show up like I look right now, I shouldn't have a problem in hopefully qualifying for the Olympia. But like I said, there's a lot of good guys in the show and things can change in a matter of a day or two, but as long as I look like the best that I can on that day, then I will be happy on how I look.

  • Any difference in your training this year?

      No, not really? Just doing the same as I normally do, but this time, I actually want to do this show whereas the Olympia, I didn't want to do it. On that show, I went for it half ass, so when it came time for cardio and dieting, you just sort of give it 60 or 70 percent. And when your mind is not in it, it makes a big difference. That's probably the main difference between the two shows.

      Right now I am training, 3 days on, 1 day off. But I think last week I trained for nine days straight. I am really not on any type of schedule, I train, then I do cardio. In the afternoon, I train, then do cardio. Body parts, I sort of go by how I feel. If it is a day to take off, but I feel like, hey I am not tired, then I go train. This morning, I did back, then an hour of treadmill. Sometimes, I get up at 5am, do the treadmill for an hour, then go to the gym. Tomorrow I am going to do chest, and maybe shoulders and triceps.

  • When did you start your training and diet for the Ironman?

      This time I started right after Christmas, about 8 weeks out. I always train throughout the year, but for contests preparation, I train twice a day.

  • Where do you train at?

      I train at home or at the Powerhouse Gym in Lancaster. At home, I have everything I need to train. I have a couple of Pro Spot machines in home, in a shed at the side of the house. People have called it different names, the shed, like the Pit Stop. I also have a tanning bed at home.

  • How much do you weigh at the moment?

      Currently, I weigh 202 pounds. For the Ironman, I will be around 200 or below that, I am not really worried about my weight. When I won the San Francisco Pro, I was 199 pounds. When I started my diet, I was in the high 230's.

  • High 230's. I am amazed that you can do that?

      People always get amazed at that. People always talk about me on how I get fat in the offseason, but I don't have any gurus helping me, like others do. I always do it myself, and come this year, you will see me in great shape at the Ironman. I can never understand why these competitors who turn pro by themselves, and all of a sudden, when they are pro, they need help with their nutrition or whatever else that they need. But I can't understand why they can't do it by themselves. It's just crazy. Like they need somebody else to blame if they come to a contest looking like shit. When I came into the Olympia looking like shit, I took the blame as I wasn't dieting or training correctly. But it amazes me that these gurus come in and do their diet for them. How long have some of these guys been in this sport. 10-12 years. You know how to do your own diet, you know how to train, you know you've got to do cardio, I don't need anyone to tell me how to do that or what foods to eat. I know to eat protein, carbs, low fat, watch the sodium. It still amazes me how some of these gurus are making a name for themselves because someone comes in shape. Like Gunter, he used to come in shape, but now if he did well, it was because of Chad, and if he didn't do well in his last few shows, its because Chad is no longer with him, and he can't get in shape. Stop putting so much emphasis on the gurus and do it yourself. My friend, Paul was working with someone, and he said, I don't really need it, but I am lazy, and I like somebody to tell me what to eat, and when to eat it.

  • How do you feel about the two late additions to the Ironman, Dexter & Craig?

      People are saying that Craig was in way before Dexter, but like me, in the beginning, I wasn't sure that I was going to be doing the Ironman. I was asking Lonnie Teper when is the deadline to decide, then the contract comes and you need to sign it by this time, and I took the risk. I kept thinking that if I sign the contract, and I come in looking like I did in the Olympia, I will be stuck doing the show, but I had to take that risk. So I think that it would be only fair that if there is a deadline, then everyone should abide to it. People are saying that it is up to the promoter, it is his choice, because coming down to the end of the line, if he gets more names, it's going to sell tickets. But I think that the promoter needs the names before the deadline to help to promote the show. If Chris signs up now, it's only going to be word of mouth that Chris is in it. The promoter won't have enough time to put it on the posters because it's too late, the show is too close. So saying that these last minute names are going to get more people to come to the show, well, it's too close. Not too many people are going to come for them because unless you read it on a bulletin board or website, or hear it through the grapevine or in a gym that such and such is in it now, but if the promoter had it by the deadline, the could of promoted the show better, on posters, on websites, and in magazines saying these people have signed, not these people are thinking about it. If you let guys just jump in, then lets just get rid of the deadline. Let's just get everyone to sign in at the last minute.

  • So are you coming to the Ironman with long hair, short hair, blue hair, red hair?

      Wow, like I tell people, it's only hair. It will grow back, it will grow out. The color I put in, it will wash out. I've never known such a sport where the fascination is with my hair so much. We like the flat top look, we like the hair long, we like it when it's this way. Get over it. For the Ironman, there won't be no surprises. It most likely will be normal white. Although I might come back to the night show with blue hair. I don't follow the crowd. I do what I want to do. In clothing styles and fashion, it's what I feel comfortable wearing. At the Olympia, my hair was with extensions, it did not grow that quick guys.

  • Will you accept an invitation to the Arnold Classic if you do well at the Ironman?

      If I won the Ironman or got second, and they invited me, then I will go, but I am not going to ask them, because I had the choice to do it or not, and I chose not to do it then, I just wanted to do the Ironman, and then the San Francisco so it wasn't on my agenda, but if they ask me, I probably would. But right not I need to think about the Ironman.

  • How is Twinlab doing with you? And the Arnold Classic Twinlab contest?

      Everything is good with them, as far as I know. I get to pick the winner of the Twinlab contest at the Arnold Classic. There are 4 finalists left, and I train with them on the Friday of the Arnold Classic weekend. The one I choose gets the $50,000 contract. Live like a pro for a year. I am going to make the finalists train legs, and see which one has the most dedication. They are going to meet me at the gym at 6:30 or 7am in the morning, instead of 11am as they wanted. If they want the contract bad enough, they will be there.

  • How come you didn't want to do the 2003 Olympia?

      To me, the Olympia is ok. I prefer the Arnold Classic, I think it's a bigger show. The Olympia might have the name, as people want to be Mr. Olympia, but now, I think the Arnold's a better run show and all around better contest. The prize money is the same and stuff like that. The Olympia, well, you just have to do too much, and all the stuff you have to sign away for, the videos, the meet the Olympians. There is so much to do when you just want to focus on a show and they have you running around doing everything so you can't compete, so I just don't prefer the Olympia. I am not one of those people that get into this sport. I mean, I enjoy training and I guess I like competing; some days it has its ups and downs, but to me, if I win the Ironman, just like I won the San Francisco show, it's not like winning the Olympia, but I am just as happy. I never got into the sport to be a top pro bodybuilder. I got into the sport because I like training and I wanted to build myself up to look like a cartoon on tv. I became a pro and I don't think I ever said once that I wanted to be Mr. Olympia because realistically I know it is never going to happen. So I don't really care about it. I just like competing in shows that I enjoy competing in. I don't do a show just because it has a title or a name to it. I am going to go back and compete again in the San Francisco pro show this year because I enjoyed it when I won it, and also before. I like the San Francisco area, they have some good ice cream and chocolate shops to check out when the show is over.

  • Why did you place so low at the 2003 Olympia?

      I looked like shit! What do you think? I wasn't dieting properly, I didn't want to do the show, and I told people months ahead that I just wasn't going to be ready because I knew, because my mind wasn't in it, especially when I am doing cardio, I am sort of doddling under the treadmill. When I was training, I was like 'nah', I don't fell like doing that. But I signed the contract, and the people on the bulletin boards say to me 'You can't drop out. We are going to Las Vegas to see you compete for all of your fans." I end up competing and then what is on the Getbig board. "How the hell can you go on stage looking like that." I couldn't win either way. But I have been competing in the pro ranks for 10 years now, so one bad showing in a pro show isn't too bad.

  • How do you feel bodybuilding is doing in 2003-2004?

      It seems that it is still in a standstill, it doesn't really seem that it is progressing either way. It just it, whereas other sports are getting bigger and more mainstream, and getting more money and more sponsors. This sport just seems to be stuck each year, we are just moving ahead maybe half an inch at a time while other sports move half a foot at a time. Although the Pay-Per-View at the shows is good.

  • How do you feel about people giving advice on web sites?

      You mean the actual people who know what they are talking about or just people who like to give advice. Well, you know, some of the people say that on the boards, this is an opinion board, and they are entitled to their opinion. It's just seems that some people like to bring other people down, to bring them down. You can give an opinion and be tactful, or you can be a total ass and just rip someone. Sometimes it is hard to get a compliment. You can be doing really well, and you come in really bad one show, and they trash on him. Sure, sometimes you deserve some of it, but what I hate most is the rumors, like when people come out and say that Sonny Schmidt died because of the steroids. Give me a break. Sonny smoked, it's like lung cancer. Million of people get lung cancer, but if you are in this sport, then everything is drug related. I remember once when I was training at Gold's Venice, and I was feeling under the weather, I had the flu, and someone asked a friend where's Lee. He said, he's not feeling well, he is sick today, and the guy said 'That's because of the drugs'. We bodybuilders are still human, we still get sick.

      I will say it again. I have had a lot of letter and emails from people. People who I speak to at contests, and amateurs, who come up to me and they give me their drug cycles, and I again am saying it, every time I see their drug cycles, it is more than what I have ever taken, it is more than what Paul Dillett took. I lived with Paul for a while, and I heard the rumors of what Paul was taking, and when I saw what he used, it wasn't even half of what people think. I think there is a rumor out there that because this guys supposedly takes these drugs, he looks like that, and if I can take that much drugs, I can look like him. The sad thing is that half of these amateurs are taking way more than the pros will ever take. So if you don't have it genetically, mentally, physically, sure the drugs will be a part of it, but if you don't have the whole aspect of it, your lifestyle, training, eating, resting, everything else - then take all the drugs you want because I am sure that there are people out there on the bulletin boards who like to badmouth people and use drugs, and look like crap. Everything is centered around drugs, drugs, drugs. Every other sport uses them but we get labled the most and if anything happens to someone in the sport, it is the drugs. Give me a break. Even when they talk about Flex Wheeler, some say that maybe the drugs helped bring that on to him. You know, maybe the drugs helped him by slowing it down.

      I had a friend in Australia, he was a nice guy, he ended up dying from AIDS. He would use a little bit of Deca and Growth Hormones to stay in shape and whatever. When he went to the doctor and found out he had AIDS, the doctor told him that because he had used those drugs, and he didn't know he had the disease, it added like seven years to his life. Many steroids are prescribed. And when they are given the right amounts, they are fine. You can abuse anything, and get side effects. You can abuse aspirin, you can abuse any prescription drug, and have all the problems in the world. If you use it correctly, you won't have the problems. It's just the abuse. People think 200 works good, 400 works twice as good, hey I'll get 600, it will work 3 times as good. They keep doing it and doing it until their body can't take it anymore. There's usually more to it than just drugs.

  • They say that your height is 5'3"? Does your height bother you?

      No, I am 5'4 ½ or 5'5". My height goes up in down in some magazines. I have seen myself as little as 5'2" in a magazine. No, it doesn't bother me. If you have seen my family, I am probably the tallest in my family, so nothing has stunted my growth at all, it had nothing to do with the drugs. I come from a short family. Then I read on the boards that because I am short and small, that's why I look bigger. If I am weighing 200 pounds, and my arms 21 or 22 inches, and you are 6'3" and your 280 pounds with 22 inch arms, I don't think that makes you a good guy. You've got the same measurements as a guy 5'5", you are not a big guy. You should be bigger than me if you are taller and heavier than me. You should have more muscle than me. I get tired when people ask me 'How do I feel about being a smaller bodybuilder". If my body measurements is like someone who weights 260 pounds, how does that make me small? I will take the short, I don't give a shit about being short but if I carry the same dimensions as someone taller than me, I don't see how that makes me a small bodybuilder.

  • Do you think it is hard for the judges to judge you vs. Gunter Schlierkamp?

      Probably, because we have different body parts, and sometimes the judges go for the big looking, taller looking guy, but sometimes it comes down to muscle. At the San Francisco Pro, I was 199 pounds, and Chris Cormier was 250 pounds, and I beat him. I guess that if you get the package right that day, a short guy can do well. Lee Labrada did very well, but sometimes the emphasis goes to the guys that weight the most, but to me, I gave up on the weight thing a long time ago. I don't even care anymore. It's how I look, and it all comes down to the illusion on stage. Some bodybuilders are saying "I'm 285. I'm 300". I don't give a shit what you are. That's just a number. Big deal. It's how you are going to look on stage that counts. I have been at expos and at seminars and people have come up to me and ask me what I weight, and they scoff, and then they say they are 280 pounds. But they are as fat as hell, so who cares about weight.

  • Some bodybuilders have said that they overdosed on Advil or aspirin? What do you think?

      Anything is possible. If somebody tells you something, I guess we can take them at their word for it. Sure, we can sit there and say 'Well, it's bullshit, he did these things, his problems are because of his drug use', but we don't know that. We don't have proof. Who are we to say? It's just all speculation. Because it makes your ego feel better than you can put him down for that. People like to tear people down instead of just saying if that's what he says, then that is what it is.

      I have always told the truth about the amounts of drugs I've taken. People have come back in my face, laughed at me, and called me a liar. Listen, I've got no reason to lie. These are the amounts I taking, and this is what I am taking. I don't give a shit if you know. I have always been honest about it from day one. I did some Tom Platz videos, they didn't cover my face up, I didn't give a shit if people see who I am, and know what I do. If you are going to take steroids, then do it safely. You don't need to take these stupid amounts that people say to take. I don't think I've ever spent over $1,500 once for drugs for a contest.

  • But some bodybuilders have said they spent between $5,000 - $7,000 for a show?

      When I get ready for a show, I spend more money on steak and fish and other foods than I do on drugs. And then when it comes to preparation, I spend more on tanning, and getting stuff ready for the contest than you think. If I diet for 12 weeks, I spend a lot more on foods than drugs easily. The emphasis on drugs always makes me laugh. If a take 1,000 mg of this or 30cc of that, I will tell you. There are no secrets. I don't care if you know. Sometimes the rumors are more exciting than the truth.

  • So what are you taking for contest preperation?

      Clenbuterol, Stanozolol every second day and Nolvadex. And that's it. It is the same thing I used back in 1997, and you can verify that with Flex Wheeler. Flex at that time was asking me how did I get in shape and I told him that this is all that I used, and it worked. I have got ready for other shows with other things, I've used growth before, but when I used it, I didn't notice a big difference. I think it is a waste of time, as I am not better when I used it as to when I didn't use it. Like I said, you can use drugs, and get prescription steroids, and use too many, and one is going to contradict another. It's better to just do the basics. I remember Cathy came to the bathroom one day, and I showed her what I was using, and she said 'I know women that use more than you do'.

  • You don't use any Deca?

      I sometimes use some of that in the off season. When I am going to try something for six weeks, I may use that, mainly for my joints. If I am training really heavy, my joints gets sore. But in the offseason, sometimes like six or seven months, I don't even touch anything. I don't rely on them, and never have relied on them. Ok, it might give me a boost around contest time to help keep some muscle mass on and burn fat, but I take very little. Currently, just those three. But I am doing cardio two hours a day, I am training twice a day, I getting lots of protein, what else do I need. And I don't have the mentality like others that if I am not on drugs, I can't go heavy, I can't push myself, I can't train. I've never been that may. I feel much better when I am off them, I hate frickin needles, so I don't need to take it as little as possible. If they wanted to start drug testing fully, I couldn't care less. I could do it without them.

      I've got that Underground Steroid handbook. I look at pictures in the back of the fakes and the real ones. Quite a few people will come up to me and ask me 'Hey Lee, what do you think of this drug'. And I tell them that I never heard of it. And they say 'Oh come on, yes you have, you're a professional bodybuilder'. These different drugs just do not interest me.

      I don't use test either. Why should I like it? I've always had a high level of testosterone, and it suppressed my natural level so I got weaker, so I never used. But people say to me 'Everybody uses test.' No, I don't like it, are you telling me what I like and what I use now? Everybody is an expert here. Sometimes I go just to read the bulletin boards to see what I am doing lately, as people know more about me than I know.

  • What was the announcement that you retired last year about?

      I just started the rumor that so I can see how fast it can spread, and it did. Like anything in this sport, you can say anything and it will spread, so I was bored one day, and someone asked me what am I doing, so I said I am retiring. So sure enough, it spread like wildfire, and other people asked me if I am retiring, and I said, yeah. So I kept the rumor going.

      I used to start rumors when I was young. People used to ask me how I developed at such a young age. And I replied that in Australia, my friend and I would take the umbilical cord from babies and because there are some special amino acids and protein in that, we somehow powderized it, and made it into a mixture where I would inject myself with it, and that's how I developed so easily. And this rumor went around everywhere. It was just crazy what people believe. People in this sport just love rumors and gossip.

      You read on those bulletin board how people were talking shit about Chris Cormier at the Olympia party, and you said that you were there, and didn't see half of that stuff that was going on, but you know, people always try and make it more exciting than it really is. And people believe it. And write about it like its true. Who cares what people do? If Chris wants to party and do whatever and train, that is up to Chris. It's his life, why does everyone else have to be so involved in his. Is it that their lives is so boring they must get involved in our lives. Some of these people need to step back sometimes and look into the mirror, and maybe perhaps start judging themselves, and questioning themselves.

  • But you and Chris are the public figures?

      Yes, but we are not role models. We are just people who train like everybody else. Some of them act like they are better than the pros anyways, saying if I take this and that, I could be like you and be right there. Well, go ahead and do it. You probably are taking more than I, so why aren't you there? Stop coming up with all these fucking excuses and do something about it.

  • What about your heart problems?

      Well, that was an infection, and it came and went away. I told people that it was nothing major, it wasn't clogged valves, it wasn't a heart attack, it wasn't whatever. I had a bad flu and it just kept going and going, and it looked like I was going to get ammonia, and it didn't let up on my training, I didn't want to take the anti-biotics. I thought if I took them, it will affect my conditioning. So I kept training and going hard, and the infection went into my left ventricle which just wasn't contracting properly. It was still contracting but because it had the virus, it wasn't contracting fully. Then they finally gave me some medication, and I took it, and I got out of the hospital two weeks later, and then went and did the Ironman, and placed sixth.

  • Did that incident scare you?

      No really, but at first, it did. I go into some hospital and there is some dumb nurse saying to me 'You're gonna die'. I'm like 'Ok'. That's nice of her. I remember they brought me in some food like chicken and chocolate cake, and she said to me 'We are going to take you in for tests, so don't eat the cake and this and that'. So she leaves, and I start eating the chocolate cake. And the cranky old nurse comes back, see me eating the cake, and starts yelling 'I don't you not to eat the cake'. And I said 'Listen, you told me that I am going to fuckin die, so if I am going to die, and I have been dieting, I am going to eat the frickin chocolate cake!' I did all the tests, including the stress tests on the treadmill where they inject me with shit while I'm running; and other tests while I am laying down and the doctor is poking things through me while he talks to me, and then he injects something into me and my heart starts to pound, and I have to catch my breath, almost like I was running a mile dash. I did all of the tests.

      Last year, there was a heart study somewhere that Mark from Flex Equipment asked me to go do, and I went there and tested perfect now I don't worry about it anymore. But people still bring it up, they think it is a big issue. I am healthy right now. Every four months now, I go to see a doctor, and I get my blood work done, just so I can monitor it throughout the year, just so I know like if I am bulking up and eating fatty foods, or dieting and training, I can check what it does.

  • Some bodybuilders have ego's? They talk about their stats, weights, etc. What about you?

      I have never lied when it comes to my stats on body weight or body measurements. I have always told the truth. I never needed to glorify anything when it comes to lifting weights. Somebody asks, I tell them. I don't care if somebody lifts more than me. I am who I am, and I am happy with who I am. So I don't have to go prove that I can bench or squat more than you. I could care less. I know some people have ego problems when they need to boost themselves up and tell stories, whatever. Sometimes when you tell a story, you have to keep it going over and over. Right now, Kamali is saying he is going to be top three at the Arnold Classic, but myself, I might sit here at home saying 'Gee, I would love to win the Ironman', which I would, it would be nice to do, but if I don't win it, I'm not going to be upset about it, as long as I come into that show in shape and do the best that I can do. I have done my training correctly, I haven't cheated on my diet, and I've done all that I can do, the placing that I get is what I get. You should go on the bulletin boards boasting 'I am going to win, I am going to place in the top three'.

      Like the Ironman. A lot of people are saying the show is going to be between me and Dexter. It's not just between me and Dexter. I can come in great or not, so can Dexter. You've got Craig, I am sure he is going to come to the show looking fantastic. You got Johnnie Jackson, Ahmad Haider. The Ironman is between myself and any one of the 18 people on stage. Anyone on any given moment could come to that stage looking great out of the blue that you didn't even thing of, go and win the house or place in the top three, and then people wonder 'What happened. We thought it was between these guys'. So I don't count anyone out. They are all on that stage as competitors.

  • Your last name when you were born wasn't Priest?

      No, it was McCutcheon. My mother's last name was Priest when she remarried and mine was always McCutcheon. So we would go places, and people would always ask why we have different last names. So I found it easier to use Priest. When I started competing, people have a hard time saying McCutcheon so I just used Priest, as it sounded easier for people to say. My parent's divorced when I was 4 years old. You can go to www.lee-priest.com and see a part where my mother wrote about me, and Cathy posed it on the site, about my childhood, how I got into the sport, the name change, my father, going through the divorce and that stuff, and why I am the person that I am today. A pretty insightful letter she wrote.

  • How did you become a pro? And stay in the United States?

      I flew over here from Australia to compete in an amateur show, I think the Niagara Amatuer. I already had one the Mr. Australia. When Jim Manion saw me, he petitioned for me to get my pro card from Paul Graham in Australia, and I got it. So I did the Niagara Pro show instead. I wound up staying here because I was working out at Gold's Gym, met up with Ed Conners, he took some pictures, sent them to Weider, and Weider signed me to a contract. I then lived in Venice for eight years.

  • Tell me about your fascination with KFC fast food?

      I've always like it, but I never really had a fascination with it, but I do enjoy eating it. People always say KFC because I eat so much of it, but I like any foods, hamburgers, corn dogs, McDonalds. It's not really like I have a favorite, I also eat Chinese and other foods. But people always bring up KFC. At KFC, I like the drumsticks, mashed potatoes and gravy, and coleslaw. I think the best is a big bucket of 21 drumsticks.

  • Where do you get your food from?

      I get it at the supermarket, like everybody else. I don't have a fish pond in the back, nor a cow to get fresh meat from.

  • Your fascination with NASCAR? How did that happen?

      I've always liked racing. Even from back in Australia, my mom's husband, he did a lot of driving and racing. When I came out here, there is just a lot more of it than there, so I got into it that now. Lately, I've been into drag racing. I have a drag race the weekend after the Ironman, and most likely, I will be racing a dragster out at the Pomona Speedway. So if all goes well, I will have the Ironman, then Pomona, then hopefully the Arnold, then the San Francisco Pro, then I will take some months off and just train, do more racing, before I start training and getting ready for the Olympia, if I qualify. I always train first thing in the morning, then I have the rest of the day to do what I want, like go to the drag track wherever, and drag race for the rest of the day.

  • How many tattoos do you have?

      Three. One of them is a Superman with flames with the letters NHRA. The other one is a NASCAR tatooo. The one on the back is the California Speedway logo with my name in middle, just Priest, so when I get Alhiezer's, I will know who I am. The first tattoo I ever got, Chris Cormier took me to the tattoo shop back in 1997 with Sean Davies, that's where I got the Superman. I said then I will never got another one. That was it, but I think once you get one, you get attached. Then I saw someone that had flames going up his forearms, and I said flames look good. Hmm.

  • Craig Titus has said that he was not the Undercover Pro? Are you?

      No! If I was, I would post my name. I would not hide behind the Undercover Pro. I've got better things to do than sit around and write about what other people are doing. That doesn't even interest me. I don't even read that shit, it's just like pure gossip. Such and such said this, such and such is doing that, big deal.

  • Do you have any pets?

      A few. I have three birds, a rabbit, six dogs, and two cats. I don't know how I got them all. They just keep appearing. The last dog I got was a stray, he was out in the front, somebody dumped him, and I brought him in. Also, right now I have seven puppies that I am trying to give away. The birds, one is a big orange parrot, called Caution, is mine. The blue one, Cathy's bird, I forget his name, but I call him 'Shut the Fuck Up' because he keeps talking all the time. The rabbit is called Checkers because he's black and white. I have one Yorkshire Terrier that's called Nascar, and another Yorkshire Terrier called Gordon. Then I got a German Shepherd puppy from my friend John a couple of weeks ago called Pepsi. Then I've got a white American Eskimo called Winston. Then I have the white Husky, that's called Angel. Then the stray that I took in, a Rotwiller, he's called Nitro. Then I am keeping a puppy from the Rotwiler and the Husky, because it's black with bright blue eyes, his name is Speedway. We are actually moving in a month or so to a bigger house down the street which has 2 ½ acres, so I am probably going to get a pot bellied pig and a horse soon. I probably will also get some chickens too, so I can have my own eggs.

  • What television shows do you like?

      Right now, it would be anything on racing. Drag racing, NASCAR racing. I like watching the A&E Channel, History Channel and the Discovery Channel, these channels of interesting shows like Histories Mysteries and Forensic Files. Every day, I have to watch Days of Our Lives, that I must… pretty much, I just surf the channels and if there is something interesting, I just watch it. I also go to the movies a lot when something new and good comes out. I am not really into those reality crap shows and all those garbage shows that are on tv at the moment.

  • Anything you want to say to your friends and fans?

      Yes, I want to thank them for their support, and for my family and friends that stuck by me also, a lot of them are coming to the Ironman to see me. I want to thank my training partners, Roc and Kurt and Joe, for getting up every day at 5:30am and meeting me at the gym when they don't really have to. Even on Sunday, I get there to the gym at 6am in the morning. They help keep me going.

  • The Letter about Lee from Lee's Mom.

      There is probably little about Lee's childhood that hasn't already been told, or written about. I would like to say being Lee's mum I have been given me the inside running on the effect Lee's childhood has had on the man he is now. I would like to say that, but it wouldn't be the truth. Anyone who knows Lee, knows he plays his cards very close to his chest and had done so all his life.

      Lee was born Lee Andrew McCutcheon, at Newcastle (a town about 100miles from Sydney) on the 6th July,1972, into a working class family. His elder sister Kellie, was a very excited two year old looking forward to taking care of her 'baby brother'. Lee was 9lb at birth, loved his food and quickly outgrew his 'big sister' and the rolls reversed. Lee was so strong he loved to carry Kellie around. Much to Kellie's chagrin. This was not the 'baby brother' she expected. Lee carried his bikes rather riding them. From a very young age he would lift, or try to lift anything that wasn't tied down.

      When Lee was four my marriage ended and with that the first of many changes to which Lee would adapt. Looking back I can only imagine the upset and unanswered questions. Lee's dad and I had been so careful not to allow and conflict between us to pass through to our children. We were religious. God had the answer to everything. Both children were heartbroken. Lee learnt, at a young age, you can get hurt by the people you love even as they tell you how very much they love you.

      Life went on and about that time Lee found comic super heroes. Tarzan, became his hero and he constantly wore his Tarzan swimmers. He discovered Superman when he was about six. I made him the first of many Superman suits. In his suit, he was Superman. He would be constantly jumping from everything he could, with his red cape flying. It was a miracle he never injured himself. The suit gave him the courage he needed. He became a bit of a hero in his own right. His loving nature always came through. He loved to right all wrongs and be friend to those who didn't have any. He was bright and loved reading. He loved the thought of flying and resolved to become a pilot. ( I would be allowed on his flight, as long as I called him Captain).

      I had remarried when Lee was six and though his stepfather was old enough to be his grandfather , Lee accepted the marriage. Lee had, and has to this day, a great capacity for love and acceptance.

      When Lee was twelve years old, he found out about his father homosexuality. Back then homosexuality was never spoken about. Even the thought of homosexuality meant shame. What a time to have you own sexuality questioned. Lee bore the taunts of schoolmates. He would often come home upset with ' Your dad 's a poofter' ringing in his ears. He was left with one friend, one true friend. Lee took on the name of my married name of Priest. We had to get a silent number on our phone to shield Lee from all the phone calls from some very sick people. Lee's relationship with his dad fell apart. His dad not understanding the name change and Lee, not understanding what was happening to his world.

      About this time Lee was introduced to the gym by his grandfather, I guess the rest is history. (To this day his grandparents are his number one fans). Lee had at last found something in which he excelled and even better it was all up to him. He had taken on many sports before and was very good at each of them. I was told Lee was a natural. He loved running, but then to run he had to high jump, so that was out. He joined Pony Club, learnt Karate, but he lacked confidence. In bodybuilding, Lee found something.

      He alone could determine his fate! He has since learnt, the hard way, that wasn't completely true.

      After Lee won a few competitions, schoolwork went by the way. Lee lived and breathed body building. We realized Lee was driven to be the best body builder ever and he was serious. He was offered a job, working with a friend who owned a Fire Extinguisher Service Company. He could work and train. Everything revolved around training. Holiday time meant finding a gym . Lee never took a holiday from training. He used every bit of his determination and courage. He kept training when others had fallen along the wayside. Lee endured the disappointments and reveled in the victories. At a young age Lee had learnt more about life than most of us ever learn. He gained an insight into the complexities of life and living. He accepted his defeats with honor, and celebrated his victories with honest humility.

      All who know Lee, know these traits are Lee. He loves, he accepts, he always tries to understand. He is prepared to help anyone in genuine need. In saying this, Lee is human, along with the rest of us. He is the first to admit that, but Lee was a very special child with a tender heart. Now he is a very special man, the tender heart hardened a little by life. Lee would say, hardened a lot. People with Lee's insight into life and his capacity for love, don't come into your life very often. I am just so lucky he came into mine..