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Kris Dim's Remarkable Comeback Story

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IFBB pro Kris Dim, who suffered a massive heart attack in 2007 and was later left paralyzed below his waist, announced he would compete in the 2019 Arnold Classic wheelchair division. The occasion will mark 13 years since Dim, then a top IFBB pro before the advent of the 212 division, stepped onstage in Columbus, Ohio, where he placed a respectable 14th.

Kris’s story begins more than four decades ago when his family left the oppressive Cambodian regime for the United States. Kris trained initially to improve himself at sports, but later went on to win the light-heavyweight class at the NPC USAs in 2003. He competed in the Olympia the following year, placing 12th. Kris had a moderately successful pro career, becoming the first Asian bodybuilder to compete in Mr. Olympia, and Kris even landed covers of popular American bodybuilding magazines. Then tragedy struck in 2007.

A devastating split in his aortic valve led to emergency heart surgery, but he was determined to make a comeback in 2009. He placed 4thout of 21 competitors in a hometown contest, the Sacramento Pro Championships.  

Additional heart surgeries hastened his retirement, and more recently a surgery to repair his aortic stent precipitated a stroke that left his legs paralyzed. At 45, Kris continues to train and undergo therapy to help him walk again.

In announcing his comeback in the wheelchair division, Dim told journalist Ron Harris: “I just want to come back and show people that despite trials and tribulations you go through, the setbacks that life sometimes hands you, you just have to keep pushing through. It’s not all about winning. If I’m still on this earth, there’s got to a be a good reason I’m still here.”

Kris’s never-quit attitude is an inspiration, and Muscle Insider wishes him all the best going forward. 


*Images courtesy of Instagram