Epic Previous Olympias Moments
This year marks the 52nd rendition of a contest Joe Weider dreamed up one evening as he and Larry Scott were kicking back with a couple of brews, pondering bodybuilding’s future. From such humble beginnings an event would be born that is recognized today as the pinnacle of bodybuilding achievement.
The Mr. Olympia has provided unforgettable memories, and thanks to numerous talented photographers, these indelible memories have stood the test of time. Whether they capture moments of onstage drama or backstage tension or they simply convey the inherent artistry of bodybuilding, these pictures deserve special recognition, as do the photographers who took them.
At the first Mr. Olympia, part of the grand prize was a crown that winner Larry Scott was understandably reluctant to wear. Could runner-up Harold Poole be smiling because he didn’t have to wear a crown? Ben and Joe Weider flank the bodybuilders.
After handily taking the 1967 and ’68 Olympia titles, Sergio Oliva was seen as all but unbeatable. Then, in 1969, along came 22-yearold Arnold Schwarzenegger and one of bodybuilding’s great rivalries was born. You can almost read Schwarzenegger’s thoughts in this photo as he glances wistfully up at show promoter Joe Weider: Sergio may have gotten me this time, but next year, I’ll be back!
In the early ’70s, pre-judgings were often held in back rooms, leaving the finals for the stage. Here, Serge Nubret, Columbu and Schwarzenegger (the contest’s only competitors) hit the most muscular shot.
In what may be the most artistic photo ever taken at an Olympia, Mike Neveux captured the silhouettes of the 1977 Mr. Olympia’s top competitors. Only the keenest-eyed bodybuilding historians can identify the six physiques presented here. Can you?