Dating back to September 18, 1965, Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend is a renowned body building competition for men that was created to "enable the Mr. Universe winners to continue competing and earning money." The title of "Mr. Olympia" is awarded to the winner of this impressive competition and it's not very hard to see why.
Competitors from the 1960's on have come from all over the world to compete for this coveted title and some extremely famous stars have taken the world by storm after dominating this prestigious competition.
Bodybuilders who have competed for the title "Mr. Olympia" have dedicated their entire lives to fitness, to say the least. They are viewed, rationally, as the pinnacle of fitness and bodybuilding, and for many, they embody the perfect male figure. Truthfully, very few things in life will reward you with exactly what you put in when it comes to the world of sports, fitness, and competition. Bodybuilding is surely the exception as it definitely takes a minimum 110% to achieve the bodies these men spend their lives attempting to achieve.
Looking back, it is fascinating to see what men have been capable of for 5 decades but what really gets our gears turning is wondering what exactly 50 years did to the "perfect" bodies that once won awards and awed nations.
Sergio Olivia was always more commonly known as "The Myth," and looking at his photos it adds up. Surely this physique is a myth and couldn't exist in real life? Yet it did, and that's exactly why he earned the nickname in the first place. People frequently dropped their jaws when he dropped his drawers. Okay, he didn't get completely butt naked but he didn't need to! "The Myth" was a Cuban native, only allowed to leave Cuba because of his impressive weight-lifting career and he went on to win the coveted title of "Mr. Olyimpia" a whopping three times! Not only did he win three times, but it was three years in a row: 1967, 1968, and 1969. 1969 was surely his most famous win since that is the year he beat out world-famous bodybuilder (and today world famous... everything,) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Even to this day, Olivia's physique is still one many body builders try to emulate because it is considered one of the most physically aesthetic physiques of all time. His body was also unique in nature, with his broad shoulders, wide back, and tiny waste. Fun fact, his "tiny" waste was the thinnest in Olympia history!
What's also interesting about Olivia is the controversy that surrounds him.
Olivia did not win the Mr. Olympia title in 1972 but many, including the actual winner himself (the Arnold, according to Olivia,) believe he should have. Olivia was a relatively short 5'10" and in the off season clocked in at 270 pounds, his competition weight was a big difference of 240 pounds.
So where is Olivia today? Sadly, he passed away from kidney failure on November 12, 2012 at the age of 71. However, his son Sergio Olivia Jr is expected to attempt to fill his father's shoes in the coming years as he's rumored to be preparing to compete himself.
Ready for some even more startling shockers of these famous body builders? You know you get to see some good ones if you keep on reading!
Almost surely the world's most famous and iconic body builder is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not solely because of his body building, of course. Many people know him a heck of a lot more for his lucrative acting career as well as his well-documented and highly talked about political career. Of course those aren't his only 3 known titles. He's also a philanthropist, author, producer, and businessman. He's been a very relevant name, worldwide, for decades.
Just like Olivia, Arnold had his own nickname based off his physique. Arnold was nicknamed, "Australian Oak," for his "oak barrel of a chest."
Arnold has won an impressive SEVEN Mr. Olympia titles and he hosts the second largest body building competition in the entire world, The Arnold Classic. In fact, professional body builders from all over the world enter his competition if not for anything more than to have Arnold himself take a good look at their physiques and offer an honest and genuine critique! However, this hasn't left him short of controversy. Not long ago he went hard on a group of current body builders for being seen on stage with "bloated bellies," and "big, distended, guts."
In the moment, he called for a "return to the Golden Era," where men had, "flat stomachs, striated chests, and ripped abs," were considered champions.
Today Arnold Schwarzenegger is 70 years old and is known for currently being the host of "The Apprentice," as well as occasionally visiting body building competitions and shows that his name is not personally affiliated with. Additionally, he is pretty regularly seen working out with his long-time workout buddy, Franco Columbu.
It's safe to say that for the world's most famous body builder, time has been pretty swell to him.
Winner of both the very first and second Mr. Olympia titles, Larry Dee Scott was appropriately nicknamed both, "The Legend," and "The Golden Boy." These nicknames were, obviously, due to his impressive physique and dashing good looks.
Larry Dee Scott retired at the staggering old age of 28 after his second Mr. Olympia win but he did attempt a brief comeback in 1979 before actually retiring for good.
"The Legend" was naturally gifted with a narrow physique but he had to work extremely hard to build up his shoulders and back to create the iconic image of "width" and "v-taper," so highly sought after in the body building world.
Larry Dee Scott got his start after training with a (then) well-known body builder, Vince Gironda. Training under Gironda left him well-known for his "unusually large and long" biceps! What is today known as "the Scott Curls," was a move originally invented by Vince Gironda and was known as "the preacher curls exercise," until it was re-named in Scott's honor.
Scott maintained his physique until his last breath, which was unfortunately due to Alzheimer related complications on March 8, 2014.
However you can see this photo of him at an impressive 70 years old, still looking fabulous and fit.
Italian body builder, Franco Columbo is perhaps one of the "smallest" well-known body builders, clocking in at only 5'4". Franco came in fifth place in the World's Strongest Man Competition in 1977 but had to drop from the race due to an injury obtained during the "refrigerator race." However, he later settled for a whopping $1 million settlement as compensation for his injuries. It certainly didn't hinder him from achieving more in life after the competition.
Columbu's name has already been mentioned here today as he was also known for being a long-time workout partner to world-famous Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite the fact that the two regularly competed against each other, they also trained intensely together over the years, even to this day are workout buddies! Of course, they both have won titles and that's why Franco is on this list. He won in 1981, one year after Arnold's 1980 win.
He also was no stranger to the nickname game every other man on this list has had.
Columbu's nickname was "The Giant Killer," because he was well-known for taking out the competition, particularly body builders who were significantly taller, larger, wider, and weighed more than him. His competition frequently by as much as 50 pounds, by the way.
Over the years of competing together, Franco and Arnold would stand next to each other during competition, well aware of their friend's strengths and weaknesses, trying to "out-pose" each other. Outside the competition between friends, Franco was Arnold's best man in his marriage to Maria Shriver as well as Franco's experience as an actor and producer helped Arnold find roles. He is also a certified chiropractor and performs many techniques on Arnold.
Today, Columbu is an impressive and active 76 year-old.
Frank Zane, AKA "The Father of Aesthetics," is a three-time Mr. Olympia winner and was well known for his admired and desired physique, obtained through an intense regimen and focus aimed on symmetry and proportions.
Of course he also has a nickname, and it's not The Father of Aesthetics. It's "The Chemist."
Zane is known as "The Chemist" because he holds a Bachelors of Sciences Degree and was well known for his "abundant use of supplements and amino acids."
Interestingly, he had the second smallest waistline in the competition's history and he won all three of his titles clocking in under 190 pounds! That's impressive, to say the least.
Zane's low weight was definitely a focus against the common grain body builders were into. As most men in the entire industry were heavily focused on getting bigger and building muscle mass, Zane was focusing all of his efforts on simultaneously looking smaller but appearing larger. This focus he had on light weights created a truly iconic physique that is still heavily sought after. It certainly didn't do him any damage to do things his own way since he holds a few titles!
In fact, Frank Zane is considered a legend, as he bested the world famous Arnold Schwarzenegger and he did so weighing less than 190 pounds.
Today Zane runs his own website and appears regularly in book signings and seminars and is 74 years-old.