Josef Edwin "Joe" Weider - International Federation 0f BodyBuilders
(1920-2013), born in Montreal, Quebec. He was a Canadian bodybuilder and co-founder, with his brother Ben, of the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB). Weider also created the Mr. Olympia, the Ms. Olympia and the Masters Olympia bodybuilding contests.
Magazines published by him are Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Men's Fitness and Shape. He also manufactured many fitness equipment and supplements.
At the age of 17 he published his first issue of “Your Physique” magazine and he also built a set of barbells out of car wheels and axles.
In 1936, they created what was seen as the first sports nutrition company, “Weider Nutrition,” now called Schiff Nutrition International, who created Tiger's Milk nutrition bars.
In 1950, he designed numerous training courses, which included the Weider System of Bodybuilding.
In 1953, the magazine “Your Physique” was renamed “Muscle Builder” and in 1980 the name was once again changed to “Muscle & Fitness.” Other magazines published by Weider's publishing empire included Mr. America, Muscle Power, Shape magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Men's Fitness, Living Fit, Prime Health and Fitness, Cooks, Senior Golfer, and Flex. They also published Jem Magazine and Monsieur which were a bit risqué and caused at least two problems within the obscenity laws.
He married Hedwiges “Vicky” Uzar, had one child, and divorced in 1960. During his marriage he had met Betty Brosmer, who at the time was the highest paid pin-up girl in the United States.
In 1961, he married her and she started working alongside him and they authored bodybuilding books together. Joe, Betty and Ben were the co-founders of the International Federation of Bodybuilders.
In 1980, Warren Chaney and Joe Weider discussed plans for the first Ms. Olympia Women's Bodybuilding Contest.
In 1981, Weider also wrote numerous books, including The Weider System of Bodybuilding and co-wrote the biography Brothers of Iron with Ben Weider (2006).
In 1983, Weider was named "Publisher of the Year" by The Periodical and Book Association and in 2003, Weider Publications was sold to American Media.
In 1972, Weider and his brother Ben were under the investigation of the U.S. Postal Inspectors. The investigation involved claims against the nutritional supplement Weider Formula No. 7. The supplement was supposedly a weight-gainer and the label had a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The product claimed that users could "gain a pound per day" in mass.
After an appeal where Schwarzenegger testified, Weider was forced to change his marketing. Weider had other legal problems at that time with his booklet, “Be a Destructive Self-Defense Fighter in Just 12 Short Lessons.”
In 1995, Weider made an appearance on the film, “A Call to Greatness,” with Charlton Heston and Peter Graves and directed by Warren Chaney.
On March 23, 2013, at the age of 92, Weider past away of heart failure.
Stephen L. Reeves
(1926-2000]) was born in Glasgow, Montana. At the age of 10 he and his mother moved to California. While in High School he become interested in bodybuilding and trained at Ed Yarick’s gym in Oakland. After graduating he joined the Army during World War II and was sent to the Philippines.
In 1947, being out of the army, he won the AAU Mr. America and he was interested in becoming an actor. Cecil B. DeMille gave Reeves the lead role in his movie “Samson and Delilah.” To look convincing on camera he had to lose 15 pounds because the camera adds weight, but if he lost that much weight he would not be able to compete in bodybuilding so he turned the offer down.
In 1949, he filmed “Kimbar of the Jungle”, a Tarzan-type television pilot.
In 1950, he became Mr. Universe.
In 1954, he had a small role in the musical “Athena.” That year he also had a small role as a police officer in the film, “Jail Bait.” These were the only two films he was in where his own voice was used, the rest were Italian-made where the dialogue and side effects were added in after the movie was filmed.
In 1957, Reeves was given the lead role in Pietro Francisci's “Hercules.” The film was a major box-office success, making $5 million in the United States.
From 1959 through 1964, Reeves acted in a lot of small budget films.
In 1962, Reeves turned down the James Bond role in Dr. No because the pay wasn’t enough. He also turned down the role of A Fistful of Dollars that Clint Eastwood accepted because he didn’t believe that “Italians could make a western.”
He got a role in “The Last Days of Pompeii” and during it he dislocated his shoulder when his chariot hit a tree and in another scene he re-injured his shoulder. From then on any stunt work he did would aggravate his shoulder and ultimately he retired from film making.
Near the end of his life Reeves bred horses and promoted drug-free bodybuilding. On May 1, 2000, Reeves died from a blood clot after having surgery two days earlier.
The 1960's, the era of “Peace and Love,” heralded the "mass monsters" of bodybuilding.
In 1965, Joe Weider created Mr. Olympia so the winners of Mr. Universe competition could continue to compete and earn money. Mr. Olympia would now be considered the highest accolade in the sport of professional bodybuilding, the winner of which would be known as the best bodybuilder in the world.
Larry Dee Scott - Mr. Olympia 1965-66
In 1965 and 1966 he won Mr. Olympia and was nicknamed "The Legend" and "The Golden Boy." Scott retired from bodybuilding after his 1966 Olympia win, but he briefly came back 1979.
It is said that Scott had little genetic potential when he began training in 1956, his shoulders were narrow and weak. He trained with Vince Gironda and became best known for his arm development, particularly his impressive and unusually long biceps.
Scott has “football-shaped” biceps that he attributes to the "Preacher Curl," that was invented by Gironda. The Preacher Curl is often called the Scott Curl.
On March 8, 2014, Scott passed away from Alzheimer's disease, he was 75 years old.
Sergio Oliva - Mr. Olympia 1967-69
(1941-2012) was a born in Cuba. Oliva was known as "The Myth."
Oliva won the next three Olympia titles after Scott retired. He amount of muscle mass had never been seen before so people at the 1967 Montreal World's Fair said he was “UNBELIEVABLE" and tagged the title “The Myth” to him.
In 1962, Oliva represented Cuba at the Central American Games in Kingston, Jamaica. It was there where Oliva took the opportunity to sneak past the guards and made his way to the American Consulate where he claimed political asylum. From there he became an American a bodybuilding champion.
At that time there was not much known about training techniques and dieting. Oliva weighed in at 240 lbs. and stood 5ft 10ins, his chest measured at 59 inches and would taper down to a 28 inch waist.
Many consider Oliva to be one of the greatest bodybuilders who ever lived. His “The Myth” title would soon be challenged by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold Schwarzenegger - Mr. Olympia 1970-75 and 1980
(1947-Present) was born in Austria. He became an American actor, model, producer, director, activist, businessman, investor, writer, philanthropist, former professional bodybuilder, and politician. Schwarzenegger served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011.
Schwarzenegger began lifting weights at the age of 15. At the age of 20 he won the Mr. Universe contest and became to be known as “The Austrian Oak.”
In 1969, Schwarzenegger tried out for Mr. Olympia, but was not successful. He finished second place behind Sergio Oliva. This was the only time he had ever been defeated in bodybuilding competitions.
In 1970, Schwarzenegger again entered the Mr. Olympia contest, and against Oliva, but this time he won and would continue to do so for seven times.
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(1951-Present), was born in Brooklyn, New York and is of Italian descent. He’s an American actor, fitness trainer/consultant, and retired professional bodybuilder.
Ferrigno won an IFBB Mr. America title and two consecutive IFBB Mr. Universe titles, plus appears in the bodybuilding documentary “Pumping Iron.”
Shortly after his birth, Ferrigno suffered from a series of ear infections, making it so he lost 75 to 80% of his hearing.
Ferrigno started pumping iron at age 13, stating that one of this role models for bodybuilding was Steve Reeves (Hercules). Later, Ferrigno would also play Hercules in the film world.
His other heroes as a child were Spider-Man and the Hulk, in whom he would also play many years later.
Franco Columbu - Mr. Olympia 1976 and 1981
(1941-Present) was born in Ollolai, Sardinia (Italy). He is an Italian actor, former champion bodybuilder and World's Strongest Man competitor.
Columbu began his athletic career as a boxer, and progressed into Olympic Weightlifting, powerlifting and later bodybuilding, winning the title of Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981.
Columbu is shorter than most of his bodybuilding competitors, being 5 feet and 3 inches tall. Yet, that didn’t prevent him from obtaining widespread success.
The Mr. Olympia competition has two size categories: the small man and the tall man. Prior to 1976 the tall man always won. Columbu changed that.
In 1981, Columbu defeated Schwarzenegger as Mr. Olympia.
Frank Zane - Mr. Olympia 1977-79
(1942-Present) was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He is an American former professional bodybuilder and teacher. Zane is a three-time Mr. Olympia (1977 to 1979).
Zane's proportionate physique had the thinnest waistline of all the Mr. Olympias (after Sergio Oliva), with his wide shoulders making for a distinctive V-taper. His abdominals were considered by some bodybuilders to be the best in bodybuilding history.
Zane stood 5'9" and weighed in at 198 pounds when he won Mr. Olympia. When he competed in the 1960s he weighed over 200 lbs.
1980 was the last of Schwarzenegger on the bodybuilding stage, and never again did he compete in bodybuilding contests.
The popularity of bodybuilding continued to grow and so did the competitors, not only in size but also in number. Schwarzenegger had stated in his book:
"Once, I could stand on the Olympia stage and be challenged by one or two other competitors. In 1980 the Olympia stage included Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Boyer Coe, Ken Waller, Mike Metzer, Roger Walker, Tom Platz, Samir Bannout and Roy Callender, among others".
Prior to 1982 there had been more Mr. Olympia's that weighed under 200 lbs., rather than over; this would change in the 80's. The 80's was full of new massive bodybuilders. It was now size that was becoming the winning factor.
With the retirement of many bodybuilders that was room for a new name and in 1982 it was Chris Dickerson, the first African-American winner of Mr. America, as well as being the oldest winner of Mr. Olympia, aged 43. In 2000, Chris Dickerson was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame.
Chris Dickerson - Mr. Olympia 1982
Dickerson was born on August 25, 1939 to Mahala Ashley Dickerson as the youngest of triplets. He graduated high school at Olney Friends School in 1957. He studied music and is an accomplished opera singer in addition to his career in athletics.
One of the world's most titled bodybuilders, Dickerson's competitive career spanned thirty years; he was known for both his heavily muscled, symmetrical physique and for his skills on the posing dais.
Dickerson first entered bodybuilding competition in 1965 by taking third place at that year's Mr. Long Beach competition.
He trained for many of his most important competitions in the 1980s with former Mr. Universe Bill Pearl.
He was the first African-American AAU Mr. America, the oldest and first openly gay winner of the IFBB Mr. Olympia contest at age 43, and one of only two bodybuilders (along with Dexter Jackson) to win titles in both the Mr. Olympia and Masters Olympia competitions.
Dickerson retired in 1994 and was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2000.
Today, Dickerson lives in Florida where he continues to train, conduct seminars, and correspond with current athletes.
Samir Bannout - Mr. Olympia 1983
Known as "the Lion of Lebanon", Samir Bannout won the Mr. Olympia title in 1983. At that time, only six men had held this most prestigious title since the contest began in 1965. Many of them, obviously, held the title for several years, Bannout won it just once, a distinction shared with Chris Dickerson (1982) and Dexter Jackson (2008).
Samir has appeared on the covers of many fitness and bodybuilding publications, including Strength and Health, MuscleMag International, Muscle Digest, Flex, Muscle Training Illustrated, Muscle and Fitness, Muscle Up, IronMan and Muscular Development magazines.
Samir Bannout did not again get a top six placing again at a Mr. Olympia contest despite competing at the event many more times. In 1990 he won his second IFBB pro show, the IFBB Pittsburgh Pro Invitational. His professional career lasted 17 years.
Samir Bannout has been open about his past use of anabolic steroids: "I have to be quite truthful with you, I have used anabolics, I'm not going to have to deny it, because all the other Mr Olympia contenders, I feel that they are using it, and I only use it to reverse catabolic effect."
Today Samir Bannout lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Randa and three children Lea, Jesse, Sergio. He was inducted to the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2002. He was previously married to the sister of fellow IFBB professional Lee Labrada, Lourdes; they had two daughters.
Lee Haney - Mr. Olympia 1984-91
Lee Haney was born November 11, 1959 and is an American former IFBB professional bodybuilder. Haney, along with Ronnie Coleman who comes later, won Mr. Olympia eight times.
Haney grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina and earned a degree in Youth Counseling from Spartanburg Methodist College.
President Bill Clinton had appointed Haney chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
As a devout born again Christian, Haney has his own program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network called "TotaLee Fit with Lee Haney," where he is usually joined by famous Christian sportsmen, and on occasion his wife.
Dorian Yates - Mr. Olympia 1992-97
Dorian Andrew Mientjez Yates (born 19 April 1962) is an English professional bodybuilder. He won the Mr. Olympia title six consecutive times from 1992 to 1997 and holds the fourth-highest number of Mr. Olympia awards of all time, ranking behind Ronnie Coleman (8), Lee Haney (8), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (7).
Yates' career ended in large part due to chronic acute injuries, including torn biceps and triceps, the latter just three weeks prior to his final contest, the 1997 Mr. Olympia contest, which he won in spite of the injury.
Yates espoused a style of training known as HIT "High Intensity Training," which states that maximum muscle stimulation can be reached through short, high-intensity workout sessions rather than long duration workouts. The training style was originally popularized by Mike Mentzer.
Yates earned the nickname of "The Shadow" for his tendency to unexpectedly appear at major bodybuilding contests and steal the win, having remained out of the public eye for long periods beforehand. He was reported to have turned down several large supplement endorsement contracts and avoided interviews and other television publicity in order to maintain privacy.
In 1987, Yates purchased Temple Gym, located on Temple Street in Birmingham. In 2006, he franchised four additional Temple Gym locations, three of which are in the UK.
Yates formed the California-based company Heavy Duty Incorporated in 1994 with Mike Mentzer and Ray Mentzer. The company marketed athletic apparel and bodybuilding-related books.
In 1998, Yates partnered with Kerry Kayes to form the bodybuilding supplement company CNP Professional, which marketed a Dorian Yates Approved product line in the United States. He left the company in 2006 to form his own company, Dorian Yates Ultimate Formulas, which offers a line of protein and weight-gain supplements. He started a second company in 2010, EU Peptides, which sells peptide hormones and other pro-hormone supplements.
In 2011, he founded a third company, DY Nutrition, which specializes in pre-workout formulas and has released several training DVDs. He left EU Peptides in 2012.
In recent years, he has conducted several seminar tours internationally to discuss nutrition and his experiences in bodybuilding. He offers training videos and written commentary on his official website. In 2015 he produced the documentary All I Know is Pain.
Ronnie Coleman - Mr. Olympia 1998-2005
Ronnie Dean Coleman (born May 13, 1964) is a retired American professional bodybuilder. The winner of the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title for eight years in a row, he is regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Alongside his eight Mr. Olympia wins as a professional bodybuilder, he holds the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26, breaking the record of 22 (previously held by Vince Taylor).
Coleman was born in Bastrop, Louisiana. He graduated cum laude from Grambling State University (GSU) in 1984 with a BSc in accounting. While at university, he played football as a middle linebacker with the GSU Tigers under coach Eddie Robinson. After graduation, he became a police officer in Arlington, Texas, where he served as an officer from 1989 to 2000 and a reserve officer until 2003.
Coleman's fellow officer Gustavo Arlotta suggested he attend the Metroflex gym, owned by amateur bodybuilder Brian Dobson. Dobson offered Coleman a free lifetime membership if he allowed Dobson to train him for the upcoming Mr. Texas bodybuilding competition that year.
After training for Mr. Texas, Coleman won first place in both the heavyweight and overall categories. He also defeated Dobson himself. Coleman won his first competition as a professional, the Canada Pro Cup, in 1995. The following year, he won the contest again, followed by a first place win in the 1997 Russian Grand Prix.
Coleman's success as a professional bodybuilder has led to many product endorsements and other opportunities in his career. He has visited places such as Brazil, Austria, China, and Australia. He also makes many guest appearances at gym openings all around the U.S.
He has made three training videos: The Unbelievable, The Cost of Redemption, and On the Road. In these videos, he gives tips for more experienced weightlifters, while warning against overexertion and improper form.
When training, Coleman prefers to use free weights rather than machines in order to maximize his flexibility and range of motion. He lifts weights four days per week, having cut down due to touring and competing at fewer events.
He supports the Inner City Games, an organization co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991. He was the recipient of the 2001 Admiral in the Texas Navy Certificate Award from Texas Governor Rick Perry for outstanding achievements in bodybuilding and for the promotion of physical fitness.
On June 30, 2009, on MuscleSport Radio, Coleman stated that he would compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia competition. He also indicated that he would not participate in the 2009 Mr. Olympia competition due to a lack of preparation time. However, he did not compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia.
In 2011, he launched Ronnie Coleman Nutrition, a company that provides sports nutrition and wellness products for bodybuilders and other athletes.
Coleman is a devout Christian. He resides in Arlington, Texas.
Coleman met his now ex-wife, Lebanese-French personal trainer Rouaida Christine Achkar, on March 22, 1998 at a Paris sports exposition. They married on December 28, 2007 in Beirut but divorced shortly after.
In 2008, Coleman became the defendant in a child support case filed by a woman who got pregnant by sperm donated to a California sperm bank by him. The woman with a non-disclosed identity gave birth to premature triplets in June 2007 but one of them died several months later.
In December 2011, he underwent spinal surgery, from which he made a rapid and full recovery.
On April 11, 2016, Coleman married his long-time girlfriend, personal trainer Susan Williamson.
Read more about the history of bodybuilding in “Bodybuilders to Mention: 21st Century."