If you are reading this, you are surely rapt with the term “bodybuilding”. Since the last few decades, bodybuilding as a sport and as a lifestyle has grown leaps and bounds. However, the fact is that most lifters aren’t aware about the history of this beautiful sport of sculpting the human body. With this article, we would like to share some interesting historical facts about bodybuilding.
The Early Era
1) It all began during the early 18th century. The roots came from the ancient Greek and Egyptian societies. During that era, aesthetics were never the goal. Strength was the only matter of pride at that time. Lifting stones, animals and pulling heavy carts were the most commonly practised activities. Strength and strength only, described the existence of an athlete.
The Father of Modern Bodybuilding: Eugen Sandow
2) Eugen Sandow is the legendary man behind this epic sport of bodybuilding. However, like other ancient strongmen, even he was a strongman who would perform similar demonstrations of strength and power. The only difference this legend had was his chiselled physique. He had been known for his symmetrical aesthetic appearance similar to the modern bodybuilders, and hence, came to be known as the Father of Modern Bodybuilding.
3) In 1901, the very first official bodybuilding competition was organized and judged by Eugen Sandow. It was called ‘The Great Competition’. William Morray was the man who won it.
The Golden Era
4) It was during 1946 when bodybuilding’s next big promoter ‘Joe Weider’ arrived on the scene. He created the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) along with his brother Ben Weider and started Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition in 1965. Ever since, Mr. Olympia sits at the epitome of all bodybuilding competitions in the world. The first contest was won by Larry Scott, who was awarded with a bronze statue of Eugen Sandow.
5) Joe was known for his entrepreneurial skills. He popularized bodybuilding by starting bodybuilding magazines, supplements and training equipment.
6) Arnold is a 7 times Mr. Olympia. Through his very famous documentary ‘Pumping Iron’, he popularized the sport even further and propelled himself into Hollywood. The movie featured many other golden era legends like Franco Columbu, Lou Ferrigno and Frank Zane. The documentary beautifully portrayed the golden era of bodybuilding.
Evolution: The Age Of Modern Bodybuilding
7) With time, the Mr. Olympia competition grew bigger and more lucrative. It was the 70s and the 80s that witnessed legendary physiques like that of Dorian Yates, Markus Ruhl and Sergio Olivia. Soon after the golden era, the physiques grew even bigger and unrealistically massive. The indication was clear: steroids were coming.
8) Since the Golden era till today, the winner of Mr. Olympia has been awarded with a bronze statue of Eugen Sandow with a cash prize according to the rank.
The Champions So Far
9) Since inception, only thirteen of the finest men have won the title and carried home the much coveted Sandow Trophy. The winners have been Larry Scott (1965-67), Sergio Oliva (1968,’69), Arnold Schwarzenegger (1970-75,1980), Franco Columbu (1976,1981), Frank Zane (1977-79), Chris Dickerson (1982), Samir Bannout (1983), Lee Haney (1984-91), Dorian Yates (1992-1997), Ronnie Coleman (1998-2005), Jay Cutler (2006-07, 2009-10), Dexter Jackson (2008) and Phil Heath (2011-15).
10) Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney hold the record for maximum wins in the Mr. Olympia. Both the legends have won Mr. Olympia 8 times. Phil Heath currently holds the title of Mr. Olympia. He has won the title consecutively for 5 years (2011-15).
11) The youngest Mr. Olympia winner was Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1970. He was 23 years old. The oldest Mr. Olympia winner was Chris Dickerson in 1982. He was 43 years old.