Flex - September 1, 2003
Ronnie Coleman flew into Casablanca, Morocco, as the honored guest of the Royal Moroccan Bodybuilding Federation this past December. I flew over with him as his guide and translator. The guards stared, impressed, as Ronnie emerged from the plane in a tank top, his muscles rippling. My brother, Lahbib Lahbabi, who is president of the federation, met us at the gate and, like diplomats, we passed quickly through the airport. Ronnie is, after all, an ambassador of bodybuilding.
After lunch at my family's home, we had a hard time leaving because a mass of people had congregated outside. Men, women and children wanted to take pictures, get autographs and just catch a glimpse of the great bodybuilder from America. Whether it was eating new food, meeting new people or posing for pictures, Ronnie was always gracious, patient and kind.
Athletes from all over Morocco crowded into the Sheraton ballroom on a Saturday afternoon to listen to the five-time Mr. Olympia speak on everything from training techniques to nutrition. After the seminar, an interview with Ronnie was broadcast on the national (yes, national!) news.
The next day, Ronnie was the guest of honor at the Moroccan Bodybuilding Championships, where he presented the awards. During his three-day stay in Casablanca, he also squeezed in visits with local government officials, fine dinners out, an evening listening to live Moroccan music on the beach and a private tour of the Hassan II mosque.
Morocco was sad to see Ronnie go. On his departure date, a governor of Casablanca even called ahead to the airport to arrange for us to wait for our plane in a private lounge. Imagine my surprise when the King's aunt walked in! I explained to her who Ronnie was and she was very pleased to meet him.
As a personal trainer and long-time FLEX fan. I had the time of my life as Ronnie's guide,
Charlotte, North Carolina
COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group