Victor Richards - Uncrowned King Of Bodybuilding Who Doesn't Compete
Victor Richards did not find bodybuilding; bodybuilding found him. Entering into the world of bodybuilding is intimidating for most, but to be thrust into the public eye from the age of 16 is incomprehensible. As a young man, Victor learned that he could use his natural genetic shape to achieve the goals he had in life. Bodybuilding was never his plan, but it allowed him the platform to teach others and help them reach their full potential. Victor quickly learned that bodybuilding was more holistic in its need for mental and physical wellness rather than physical showmanship.
Vic’s philosophies on bodybuilding have been controversial within the industry. His focus on competing with self instead of defeating others has not been well-received in the world of bodybuilding. Vic’s philosophy is that motivation should come from within, not without via trophies, awards, etc. His holistic focus towards bodybuilding incorporates the mind, body and spirit; this unconventional view has resulted in criticism of his commitment to the industry of bodybuilding.
Victor’s ability to debunk the fake gurus and snake-oil salesmen with his focus on finding your supplements in the produce aisles of the grocery store has not made him popular in the industry that promotes supplements and vitamins as the main source of nutrition. His philosophy is that a person’s main source of nutrition should be found in natural foods and anything else is secondary to a person’s health and well-being.
Why didn't you compete? We have heard many!
VR: First I believe that the reasons I started to lift weights are different then 99% of the people that were going to the gym. I had an experience with bodybuilding unlike many other people who train. I took it beyond the physical and mental. . . to a spiritual experience. Bodybuilding became spiritual to me. And jumping on stage didn't feel spiritual at all. Just as the synagogue is to the Rabbi, the Vatican to the Pope; the gym was my spiritual ground. To have competed on the stage which is more for showmanship would be like bringing a stripper to the holy temple. Before I went to the gym I had already dreamed and visualized my entire workout, my recovery and my growth. To let a panel of judges determine my worth when I wasn't doing this for anyone other than myself seemed crazy to me. I also knew that if I was competing and taking endorsements that my voice would try to be silenced. It happened anyway.
VR: Because I didn't compete, Wayne Demilia (IFBB head honcho at the time) blocked me from doing guest posing jobs in the USA. No one would hire me and Demilia reminded me that if I guest-posed for other organizations, I'd lose my IFBB Pro Card. This is why most of my guest posing and appearances took place in Europe. This is why you guys never saw me at contests in the USA. However, this just motivated me more. This also, indirectly, led to my posedown with Mr. Olympia Dorian [Yates] at FIBO in Germany. The posedown was actually orchestrated by John Brown (Mr. Universe). He told me "Victor we have seen bodybuilders and we have seen bodybuilding. Victor you are the bodybuilders bodybuilder. You must be seen!" These giants of the sport could look at me and tell I wasn't on GH or insulin because my stomach wasn't distended like the rest of their champions. After that incident I found it funny that people who were friends to my face were actually threatened by my presence on stage. The only people that were congratulatory were Lenda Murray and Kevin Levrone. Kevin urged me to compete and told me any show I entered would be mine. He told me he thought I could win Mr. Olympia hands down. He hired me on the spot to guest pose on his local NPC show he held back in Maryland. Imagine that, a Pro bodybuilder paying me to pose at his show. He had just won the Arnold Classic and had placed 2nd at the most recent Mr.Olympia! I still chose not to compete because I wasn't going to compromise my principles. The feeling I got from training was so powerful, so spiritual I wasn't going to do anything to risk that feeling. I also wasn't willing to risk my health. All those people who would clap for me if I got on stage; would they be at my funeral if I died from the rigors of contest preparation? Diuretics and dehydration were not things I was even willing to consider. For me it has always been about wellness, balance and health.