"In sport, there are no limitations, no barriers of race, religion, politics or culture. In sport, we are in touch with each other. Bodybuilding is important for Nation Building."
- Ben Weider: O.C., C.St.J, C.Q., Ph.D
With the passing of Ben Weider on October 17, 2008, the world lost a man who, through his passion for bodybuilding, did as much to advance and strengthen international relations, thereby promoting peace, stability and harmony throughout the world, as he did to pioneer and promote the health and fitness industry and lifestyle that is enjoyed by millions of people. And though his years have ended, and his era has come to a close, his legacy to humanity will live forever through the tireless efforts he has made, through his beloved sport of bodybuilding in particular, to bring people together for the singular purpose of improving their lives mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Using bodybuilding as his primary vehicle, Ben Weider has touched the lives of many people through traveling the world expounding the merits and virtues of progressive resistance training, correct nutrition and the physical fitness lifestyle. For over 60 years he has used his remarkable pioneering spirit, entrepreneurial genius, scholarly attention to detail, genuine compassion for humanity and strong desire for making a difference in the lives of others to help change the face of physical fitness and to promote the beauty and display of the human physique.
Indeed, at the beginning of his career in the mid-1940s, and in keeping with his philosophy on striving for the very top in anything he did, Ben Weider, teaming up with his brother Joe Weider - another man of instrumental importance to bodybuilding's prominence as a worldwide phenomenon - made it his life's mission to take bodybuilding to the pinnacle of organized athletics, an objective which was realized in 1998 upon its receiving provisional IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognition. Though never fully accepted as an Olympic discipline, bodybuilding has become one of the world's most widely practiced sports thanks in no small part to Ben Weider's vision and will to succeed.
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In This Rare Photo Taken From The IFBB Archives,
Weider Is Seen Visiting With Professor Desbonnet
At 5 De La Varenne, In Paris.
That Ben Weider has gained prominence as an authority on health and fitness, and Napoleonic history, as underscored by four honorary doctorate degrees presented for the advancement of knowledge in both these areas, holds no small degree of irony given he turned his back on teachers and classrooms in the seventh grade. Sparked by a natural curiosity for life, passion for discovery and unbridled enthusiasm for creating change, he became a perpetual, devout autodidact, which combined with his aforementioned personal qualities, has secured his place in sporting and scholastic history.
It was bodybuilding that led to distinction in the latter field, as through his fitness and nutrition research, and profound subsequently-gained knowledge of human health, he was able to conclude that Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, first ruler of France, had in fact died from arsenic poisoning rather than, up until his groundbreaking conclusions, the academically accepted thesis of stomach cancer.
Never one to accept no for an answer when the truth is at stake, Ben Weider strongly believed that if a door were to be slammed shut in his face, he would not waste time pounding on it but, rather, he would find another or, better yet, build his own. In Weider's case we could substitute doors for metaphorical bridges in that despite much resistance he doggedly persisted in the face of outdated thinking to inject his own brand of physical fitness - namely bodybuilding - into the consciousness of Governments bent on suppressing open-mindedness among their peoples.
In doing this he has strengthened relations between many countries and for his efforts has received numerous honors including a 1984 Nobel Peace Prize nomination, the Canadian Order of Merit and acknowledgement of building the world's fifth largest sporting federation, which, with its inclusive ability to transcend specific athletic requirements thus opening the door for everyone to participate, distinctly preached equality among all. "No barriers of race, religion, culture or politics," as pertaining to the sport he so loved became Mr. Weider's personal motto as he strove for international respectability for and amongst bodybuilders worldwide.
His work convincing the Chinese Communist Government, for example, to adopt Western ways of thinking on training and nutrition and to establish its own federation to host a new, then-strange sport called "bodybuilding" goes to the very heart of his diplomacy skills and ability to engender trust and respect. In sharing bodybuilding with the world Ben Weider has, again, done much to foster relationships between countries; sculpting the body, and its inherent health benefits, is today accepted as a common pursuit among peoples of over 110 nations and we largely have Ben Weider to thank for this.
When people think of Ben Weider they invariably - and often vaguely - consider the impact he has had on administratively advancing bodybuilding. It is his brother Joe that has taken most of the credit for popularizing bodybuilding through his magazines. However, where Joe could be considered an ideas man and a visionary also, Ben Weider was the backbone and the very heart and soul of organized bodybuilding and fitness. Not one to grandstand his countless achievements, Ben Weider has quietly and meticulously worked, in many cases, behind the scenes to advance physical culture on multitudinous levels.
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Ben Weider's role in creating a bodybuilding empire has had a significant flow-on effect for millions of people worldwide who have not only improved their lives through the formalized, systematized bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle he helped to pioneer, but through the various industries that have been created through bodybuilding as sport and recreational pursuit. As you will read in the individual tributes below, Ben Weider with his pioneering insight has changed the lives of and made opportunities available for many people. And because of this he will be remembered in the hearts and minds of these, and many others, worldwide.
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Ben Weider Receiving The Lifetime
Achievement Award At The 2008 Arnold Classic.
Scour the annals of bodybuilding history and a finer ambassador for the iron sport will not be found. Ben Weider, those who knew you personally, or were in some way touched by your genius, mourn your passing, salute your achievements and enjoy the fruits of your life's work as they continue to benefit from the outstanding and unmatched legacy you have left.
Rest In Peace Brother Of Iron
Ben was a Man of his word and he always told you the truth to your face! He kept his promises and never neglected anything - to me he was straight forward and I always liked him, he returned my calls and emails immediately and was a true leader for the IFBB; he did care and tried his hardest to take the sport to the Olympics while the others where sitting on their asses doing nothing! Ben is true leader like the man he idolized: Napoleon Bonaparte.
I'm saddened about his passing and I want to send my deep sympathy to Mrs. Weider, Marc and Eric Weider and Joe and Betty Weider. It's a huge loss for the sport of bodybuilding, as I feel that Mr. Ben Weider was the main shining star behind our sport. I will never forget my first encounter with him at the age of 18 in Verona Italy and visiting him in his offices on Bates Rd in 1976 in Montreal; he was very nice and kind to me, he was a great man that I will never forget.
May God have Mercy on his soul.
Mr. Olympia 1983
We can thank Ben if today the sport of bodybuilding has been recognized all over the world. Ben will be always remembered as a gentleman and as a globetrotter for bodybuilding, traveling the world to create awareness for the sport of bodybuilding and the IFBB.
I personally met Ben the first time at the World Championships in 1985 in Sweden; the last time I saw Ben was at his office in Montreal in 2003 where he surprised me with his great memory.
IFBB professional bodybuilder
Ben Weider was a giant in the world of bodybuilding. For more than 50 years he was the face of bodybuilding around the globe. His look and demeanour were elegant; I was dazzled every time I met him. No one was better suited to represent bodybuilding in a sophisticated way on all levels. What's more, he walked his talk, working out with weights regularly until the day he died. His impressive presence and valuable influence will be missed by everyone who cares about fitness and bodybuilding.
Author of Challenge Yourself and Great Expectations
Ben Weider was a great man; he and his brother Joe have been the backbone of bodybuilding since 1946 and when you think bodybuilding you think "Weider". I myself started out with a Weider bench and weights when I was 15 years old. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ben for all that he and his brother Joe have done for the sport of bodybuilding and me. You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Respected Model, Actor and Personal Trainer
Bodybuilding would not be where it is today without the tireless efforts of Ben Weider. He spent his life promoting health and fitness to millions of people. The number of people that are living healthier lives today because of him is amazing. I'm proud to have known him in the small way that I did and we here at Bodybuilding.com will work hard to continue the work that he started.
I always remember Ben Weider, in his eloquent manner, speaking to us of his attempts to have our sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee so that bodybuilding would be an Olympic event. He worked tirelessly towards this. But, according to the IOC we were not a true "sport" in the traditional sense of performance.
I remember Ben Weider speaking in Auckland, New Zealand in 1980 and being sincerely angry at that years results of the Mr. Olympia in Sydney, Australia just days ago. He introduced me to that audience as the man who should have won the Title that year. (But we all went forward and out of respect for that year's winner, I was glad to have been 2nd, having placed 6th the year before).
I remember Ben Weider because he remembered names of my friends he had met only once before, with months between, and marveled at how he could do this. I remember Ben Weider for his degree of energy and total devotion in spreading our sport of bodybuilding over the world.
So, It is with great pride that on August 9th, 2008, I was honored as being the first recipient of the Ben Weider Lifetime Acheivement Award! Here is purely a case of one man's recognition of the hard work and dedication of another. Indeed, you bring honor to us all. Rest in peace Ben.
1980 Mr. Olympia
Recipient of the 2008 Ben Weider Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mauro Di Pasquale:
I only met Ben Weider a half dozen times over the last four decades, but each time I was impressed with his knowledge, character and charisma. What he and his brother Joe did for bodybuilding was monumental and will forever play a large part in this sport.
Mauro Di Pasquale
It is a sad day for those who knew and loved Ben. I feel badly especially for Joe, his brother, whose vision in bodybuilding made the sport what it is today. Though I spent many years with Joe, I only met Ben at a half dozen IFBB contests and always backstage amid the chaos. He was a gentleman, the steely face of Weider enterprises and a steady, energetic hand at executive administration. I liked him and always wished I knew him better.
Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World
I did not know Ben Weider personally, but I'm a beneficiary of his tireless efforts to educate people on the health benefits of bodybuilding and promotion of the federation in which I now compete. Joe and Ben influenced me from a young age when I first picked up a copy of Muscle and Fitness to learn and read about bodybuilding. The work Ben did to grow the IFBB over the years is truly incredible and I'm fortunate to be member and competitor in the sport they essentially created. Joe and Ben seemed very close and so my heart goes out to Joe during this time, as well as my condolences to the entire Weider family. Ben's contribution will never be forgotten.
IFBB professional bodybuilder
Nasser El Sonbaty:
My deepest condolences go out to the whole Weider family, especially to Joe Weider, to Ben's three sons Eric, Mark and Lewis and Ben's wife. Ben Weider was a great man, a diplomat, a scholar, a bodybuilding ambassador and an accomplished businessman. Personally I always had very good experiences with Ben Weider and his brother Joe. I never felt abused by one or the other. I saw my relationship with the Weiders as a symbiotic one.
Joe and Ben had to overcome incredible obstacles to finally become as successful as they were. They are overachievers and they created the IFBB, which is still the best bodybuilding organisation in the world today. The two brothers cannot necessarily be made responsible for many unpleasant things that happened under the IFBB suit and the NPC coat.
The only non-established goal for Ben (and Joe) was the achieving of permanent recognition for bodybuilding by the IOC. But, again, this is not a failure of the Weider brothers. Both brothers rewarded loyalty - like in any good organisation. When I was privately with one or the other brother I always spoke my mind. And I did not pay negatively for this decision. However, other guys under these two iconic brothers often created chaotic situations, but not their leaders as far as I could determine the situation.
In the last 10 to 15 years the Weider Empire and hierarchy has been in existence, Ben dedicated more and more time to Napoleonic research and other things. Joe however is still interested in pro bodybuilding and dedicated his entire life to it.
May Ben Rest In Peace
Nasser El Sonbaty
Arnold Classic Champion 1999
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Nasser El Sonbaty: "Ben Weider Was A Great Man, A Diplomat, A Scholar,
A Bodybuilding Ambassador And An Accomplished Businessman."
I met Ben, along with Joe Weider, for the first time back when I was 20 years old. I was very impressed with how hard he tried to have bodybuilding recognized as an international sport, something he did achieve. And he always had kind words for me and predicted I would be the greatest bodybuilder of all time. When I won the Mr. Universe in Geneva, he told me then that I had the potential to beat Arnold; we developed our relationship around this time.
He changed my whole life, because, along with his brother, he enabled me to come to California to get involved with the magazines. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Ben Weider. And not only was he a major supporter of bodybuilding he was also heavily involved with Canadian society, won the Order of Canada was a Napoleonic scholar, a philanthropist and an entrepreneur. He has all the titles and is one guy who does deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Ben has visited every country in the world promoting bodybuilding and has always conducted himself with great integrity.
Ben Weider was a genuine man who really cared, he was honest and spoke the truth, and he was a fighter. Ben and I have probably been to over 20 countries around the world together and have shared many different experiences. I have gotten to know his family and am very fond of them. My condolences go to his son Eric and his wife.
I have lost a dear friend
Two-time Mr. Universe
It was an honor to have met Ben, he was a pioneer and a gentleman and without him I would have never known I could nor had the drive to achieve the status that I have as an IFBB pro today. Thank you Ben, for being one of the parents of the sport we love.
Rest In Peace.
IFBB professional bodybuilder
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George Farah: "Thank You Ben, For Being One Of The Parents Of The Sport We Love."
Remembering our first meeting in 1966 in East Berlin, Ben was an official for weightlifting and physique in which I won the physique Mr. Universe title. His life is an example of what Bill Seno termed the "Golden Age" of Body and Strength. He is a significant architect and engineer of that era, an organizing genius and a tribute to Canada.
Mr. America 1966
Mr. Universe 1966
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Bob Gajda: "His Life Is An Example Of What Bill Seno
Termed The 'Golden Age' Of Body And Strength."
Robert M. Goldman:
My first contact with Dr. Ben Weider was as a 12 year old interested in medicine. I wrote him in admiration of all that he had accomplished at that point in time and asked his advice on entering the health and medical field. To my astonishment he answered me with a personal letter within days. Ben's attention to detail and personal touch is legendary. So began a mentoring relationship lasting over 40 years. I was honored to be a student of Ben and he is responsible for the careers of so many. He was, by far, the most important mentor in my life and I know I am not alone here: He served as a dear friend, confidant, advisor, father figure and most importantly: a great teacher of life.
When I was completing college at 19, I proposed putting together a report on anabolic steroids, which was an academic interest of mine. Ben encouraged me to take on this task and working with his Executive Assistant, Pam Kagan, I completed which at that time, with almost 300 medical references, was the most extensive comprehensive report on anabolic steroids ever assembled, and this was all because of his encouragement. And despite the opposition of his medical commission at the time, he published it and it went on to become the most popular report ever published in the history of the IFBB at the time, with translation requests in over 40 languages.
Ben always had the innate talent to see talent and potential in others and cultivate it. It was so ironic, that despite those same individuals opposing his decision to print a report from a 19-year-old college student, Ben would later appoint me as his IFBB Medical Commission Chairman eight years down the road. His foresight in this arena was remarkable. He saw such potential in so many (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rafael Santonja, Jim Manion, Paul Chua and others) and he mentored us all.
His memory recall was nothing short of astounding, with his vast knowledge of history, sports, the Olympics, politics, the arts...right across the board. His expertise in Napoleonic history is legend. I was privileged to host him in Chicago for an important debate on the demise of Napoleon and his opponents were well-established university professors and doctors of history. Ben, a 7th grade dropout, who was self schooled and self-taught, completely overpowered everyone in the meeting. I was the sole IFBB official assisting him in passing out the extensive materials he had assembled. For Ben, preparation was everything, and he was always organized and over prepared for every challenge, and this was one of his many secrets of success.
One time, when he visited my offices early on in my career, when the operations were modest and not global like they are today, he went up to every secretary and looked them in the eye, shook their hand and smiled and greeted them each with the same respect he would the head of country. It was an experience they all remember to this day, that someone like him would show such warmth and respect to 20-ish year old college student/secretaries. A great quality Ben possessed was his modesty and humanity and ability to connect with everyone on an equal footing despite his enormous success and stature.
I remember sitting next to him in the great hall of the Parliament in Poland, before he was to receive the Iron Cross, the highest award given in that nation and I asked him how he felt at the moment. "Damn good!!" he replied with a smile and then off he went on stage; and I was lucky to witness this, as well as the many, many honors he received from so many Heads' of State for his remarkable achievements.
Ben's talent for bridging all cultures, races and creeds was another of his great strengths. He engendered astounding loyalty and work ethics in those around him and built one of the largest sports federations in the world, with delegates serving the federation tirelessly and solely because of him.
Once I was approached by an outside party who told me I should demand compensation for my voluntary work for Ben and IFBB (all federation member delegates serve without compensation, and do so with honor). I looked at this person as if he was delusional and said the only thing I ever ask Ben is, "what else can I do for you?"
One time Ben requested I handle a task that others could have done and I asked why he wanted me on the task and his reply was, "I ask a busy man as that way I know it will get done right away." He was right and I completed it immediately.
Ben was a groundbreaker in so many ways. He brought the first sports World Championship (and I still believe the only one) to the crisis torn nation of Myanmar in 1995 and I made 14 trips there with Datuk Paul Chua to support the effort - it was a remarkable experience for everyone.
Ben facilitated my first trip ever overseas to the l986 Mr Universe in Tokyo and so began the remarkable journey of my life, all because of Ben. He created the climate of brotherhood, so that federation heads refer to each other as 'brother' and mean it. He fostered an environment, where even hostile nations come together in a color-blind, universal fashion. He lived and engendered the Olympic sports 'free from politics' mindset and environment, even more than they (the IOC) do.
Ben was responsible for recruiting into the federation, high level Olympic officials: Prof. Dr. Manfred Donike (who invented steroid testing for the Olympics) and Prof. Dr. Eduardo DeRose, who has supervised dope control at the Olympic Games for over 20 years and has been with the IFBB closely for the last 15 years, and has become a close friend as well...again all due to Ben Weider.
I think one of his finest accomplishments is his son, Eric Weider, heir to the Weider dynasty. Eric possesses the same modesty, intelligence, warmth and leadership abilities as his father. I think this was one thing he was most proud of...his remarkable son, who I am so proud to have as my dear friend. His other great disciple is Rafael Santonja, the first new president of the IFBB in 60 years. Ben cultivated him as a son like Eric. The future of the IFBB is not only secure in his hands, but on the way to permanent Olympic recognition... an important lifelong goal of Ben's.
Ben Weider was without question, is the reason why I am where I am today and I have benchmarked all of my personal and professional life goals on what he and his brother Joe have accomplished. He was our father, older brother, dear friend and hero. I was fortunate to spend a bit of time with him at the Mr Olympia, several weeks before his passing. Every moment I have ever had with him will be treasured and we are all so honored to have had him in our lives, and this world graced by his presence. He was a man of historical proportions and we will miss him very much. We will honor him and his memory by pushing forth his dreams.
Robert M. Goldman (Dr Bob Goldman) MD, PhD, DO, FAASP
Chairman-IFBB International Medical Commission
Chairman-IFBB Doping Commission
Chairman-NPC Medical Committee
Chairman-World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
Chairman of the Board-American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M)
President Emeritus-National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
Ben Weider was not only a pioneer of bodybuilding and the man who established the International Federation of Bodybuilding, but he was an inspiration to countless young adults, including myself, who wanted to learn and understand how lifting weights could transform lives. Ben was instrumental in breaking race and gender barriers way before it's time. He will always stand out as a man among men in my eyes.
Good job Mr. Ben Weider.
Rest in Peace.
President: Michael George Enterprises, Inc.
Celebrity personal trainer
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Michael George: "Ben Was Instrumental In Breaking Race
And Gender Barriers Way Before It's Time."
Ben Weider was an authentic professional who made common ground between people and countries worldwide. On the occasions that I was fortunate enough to speak with Ben, I always received an extremely positive connection that made me feel special and part of a family, a family that Ben called bodybuilding.
I found that Joe Weider always made mention when he recognized that you worked out and would give compliments, whilst Ben would be more preoccupied in my interests and professional career. They were both different in their own unique ways but both made me feel very welcome and on an equal level.
I remember Ben voicing his opinion on rivalries within the sport of bodybuilding when he was a guest on Pro Bodybuilding Weekly; he said, "If people want to divide bodybuilding, they only complicate the issues. The magazines cannot expect respect unless you give respect. They cannot be a friend unless you are a friend."
Ben's words now dictate many of my decisions too, in order for us at Bodybuilding.com to work together with other related companies to further promote the sport of bodybuilding, not divide it.
Thank you for your bringing us this great sport Ben. Without it I wouldn't be in the position I am today, and I wouldn't have been blessed with the opportunity to meet my best friends and my soul mate.
Editor in Chief
I think we as bodybuilders can thank Ben for promoting and spreading the sport of bodybuilding and the IFBB around the world, and, by doing so, giving us worldwide recognition. He also worked very hard in trying to get bodybuilding into the Olympics. I only wish that he could have lived to see it become a reality.
Professional bodybuilding legend
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Bill Grant: "I Think We As Bodybuilders Can Thank Ben For Promoting And Spreading
The Sport Of Bodybuilding And The IFBB Around The World."
Ben and his brother Joe are responsible for bodybuilding, as we know it. The bodybuilding world lost one of its pioneers with Mr. Weider's passing. I had the honor and privilege of talking with Mr. Weider backstage at the 2008 Olympia. He thanked me for my contributions to bodybuilding and help with IFBBpro.com. Despite being 85 he was very sharp and knew what was happening in the industry today. My condolences go out to the entire Weider family.
Bodybuilding photographer, writer and industry insider
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Isaac Hinds: "The Bodybuilding World Lost One Of Its Pioneers With Mr. Weider's Passing."
The sport of bodybuilding lost one of its greatest contributors when Ben Weider passed away. Ben was responsible, probably more than anyone, for getting worldwide recognition for the sport of bodybuilding. He really treated bodybuilding as a SPORT and worked tirelessly to organize as many countries as possible to get them under the IFBB banner, so the entire world could compete together to determine who is the best in bodybuilding - in both the amateur and professional arenas.
Ben Weider's greatest dream was to get bodybuilding included as an Olympic sport. He courted the heads of the IOC for decades and came very close to realizing his dream. It was Ben's effort at organizing the sport that eventually led to national television broadcasts of the biggest competitions including the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia contests. He was the President of the IFBB and he always gave an official presence to the Mr. Olympia contest each year.
I remember watching the Mr. Olympia contest live in Columbus, Ohio when I was just a teenager. When Ben Weider came to the podium at the beginning of the contest to update the crowd on the latest news in the IFBB, I had a sense that I was witnessing the biggest and best contest in bodybuilding. That was the kind of reaction Ben would bring to any event. It was great to see Ben win the Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the Arnold Classic. At least he got that recognition before he passed on. Rest in peace Mr. Weider. The bodybuilding world is in a much better place because of your efforts.
Natural bodybuilding champion, trainer and author
John Hansen: "Ben Was Responsible, Probably More Than Anyone,
For Getting Worldwide Recognition For The Sport."
Ben Weider was a real pioneer for the business of bodybuilding and sports nutrition. It was his passion, business sense and the path he drove across the US and Europe that truly opened the road for what the Sports Nutrition business is today. It was also Ben's interest in competitive bodybuilding that helped to make the sport successful. In 1985 when I won the USA and World's I had the opportunity to meet Ben for the first time. Since then I've had many occasions to enjoy talking with him backstage at many events while getting to know the man behind the business. Ben, you will be truly missed. Thank you for all you have done for our Sport. God Bless!
IFBB pro bodybuilding legend
I want to express my deepest condolences to Ben Weider's family. Ben and Joe Weider have made bodybuilding what it is today, and it is truly a sad occasion. We would not able to enjoy and thrive within the sport in the way that we do today had it not been to their uncompromising passion and vision for the sport. His contribution will never be forgotten, and I am truly honored to be living part of the dream he helped me create.
IFBB professional bodybuilder
I did not know Ben Weider personally and never had the privilege of meeting him. But I had a guest posing in GA the weekend he died. Georgia chairperson Ropeman Felder got up and said a few words about Mr. Ben Weider, because he knew him personally and was friends with him. He summed it up best by saying that none of us in the sport, whether athlete, writer, fan, or promoter would be where they are today if it were not for Ben and Joe Weider. Ben was a pioneer and a visionary and we all owe him many thanks for orchestrating our sport - many will miss him.
IFBB professional bodybuilder
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Tricky Jackson: "Ben Was A Pioneer And A Visionary
And We All Owe Him Many Thanks For Orchestrating Our Sport."
I had the pleasure to meet Ben Weider at the several of the IFBB World Championships I participated in when I lived in Europe as an amateur. The most memorable time was when I placed 5th in 1997 in Slovakia, and having had the honor to meet him onstage when I was given my award. It was a huge step for me, being from the small country of Sweden, to be in top five and to meet the man that was one of the founders of the sport I loved.
He and his brother Joe introduced bodybuilding to me via their publications in which I read about Cory Everson, who then became my role model and idol. Ben was a very humble man. He hugged me and told me to continue what I am doing and never listen to naysayers if I wanted reach my goals. His words made me fulfil my dreams to become a professional bodybuilder and move to USA.
Ben showed us that nothing is impossible; you are the only one that can change the future and make a difference to your destiny. He sure did make a big difference to his and others lives, and to the future of bodybuilding.
Thank you Ben, for taking the sport to my country and making me who I am today. My thoughts and respect go out to the Weider family.
Ben, you will never be forgotten.
IFBB Professional bodybuilder: SWEDEN
Thelma & Dan Lurie:
I was saddened by the news that Ben Weider had passed away. Ben and I go back 66 years to when I first became partners in the barbell business with his brother Joe.
Although we disagreed on many truths and facts, Ben was always a gentleman.
I send my condolences to Ben's wife and three sons. May his soul rest in peace.
Thelma and Dan Lurie
Dan Lurie: bodybuilding pioneer, three time AAU America's Most Muscular Man champion, publisher, contest promoter and television actor
Back in 1964 Ben Weider came to Australia with the intention of creating the 'Weider Organisation', which would be set up, to hold contests, sell products and publish an Australian version of Muscle Builder magazine. This was the business side of Ben, the only side we knew then. Over the years I saw and met Ben at many of the Mr Olympia contests in the US and got to know him better. I found him to be sociable, friendly and an attentive listener with a good sense of humor. I took many photographs of him, as he was always willing and most co-operative. He often went out of his way to please. Eventually the IFBB was established in Australia in 1974 and is still going strong today, the longest running bodybuilding organisation here thanks to Ben. Ben will be remembered as one of the greatest ambassadors for bodybuilding in the world, almost managing to have the sport accepted by the Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games. Thank you Ben for giving so much of yourself to the promotion of health, fitness and muscle.
Bodybuilding photographer, gym owner, trainer and author
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Robert Nailon: "Ben Will Be Remembered As One Of The
Greatest Ambassadors For Bodybuilding In The World."
Ben Weider had a profound influence on the development of bodybuilding into the sport that we know today. If Joe Weider was the face of bodybuilding during its development, then Ben was its heart. Ben worked tirelessly for many decades to spread bodybuilding throughout the world and establish organizations in other nations. The importance of his work to bodybuilding cannot be understated nor will it ever be forgotten.
Natural Pro Bodybuilder
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Layne Norton: "Ben Worked Tirelessly For Many Decades
To Spread Bodybuilding Throughout The World."
To say that Ben had an influence on bodybuilding misses the point. Without Ben (and Joe, of course) bodybuilding would bear no resemblance to what it is today. The scores of us that earn a living following our passion... competitors, trainers, writers, editors, sports nutrition companies, website owners, broadcasters and photographers... all owe a hearty thank you to Ben and that is a legacy that will have Ben's spirit and vision live forever.
Thank you, Ben, thank you very much.
Bodybuilding writer, commentator, radio host, contest judge and advisor
While I didn't know Ben Weider on a personal level, his impact on the careers of every bodybuilder (myself included) that make their living from this industry will be felt for as long as bodybuilding exists. Ben was a pioneer who didn't allow the world's perception of bodybuilding as some sort of circus sideshow stop him from creating a worldwide federation of bodybuilders (IFBB) that represents practically every nation on the face of the planet. While his dream of Olympic recognition was never fully realized, his passion and undying dedication to the cause created a network of nations that compete annually at the IFBB World Amateur Championships-- the pinnacle of amateur bodybuilding. Likewise, Joe Weider's Mr. Olympia contest-- the Super Bowl of professional bodybuilding-- has immortalized the Weider name in annals of bodybuilding history. Not a single soul will debate the fact that Ben Weider's presence will be greatly missed at all the major bodybuilding events from this day on.
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Dave Palumbo: "Not A Single Soul Will Debate The Fact
That Ben Weider's Presence Will Be Greatly Missed."
Ben Weider opened doors to our sport of Bodybuilding in countries I cannot even pronounce! However, if not for his tireless efforts I would never have had the opportunity to see the world in the capacity of an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder. Ben was a pioneer who genuinely gave his life to this sport. His legacy will continue as long as there is a bodybuilding event on planet earth. I had the great pleasure of speaking with him three weeks ago at length during the Olympia Weekend and marveled at his wit and sharp as a tack mind.
While those who knew him will sorely miss him, he will not soon be forgotten.
Rest in peace friend.
IFBB professional bodybuilding legend
Dr. David Ryan:
Ben Weider was has been the main ambassador for bodybuilding. History will obviously show that. Combined, the efforts of Ben and his younger brother Joe will never go unmentioned as the single greatest contribution to the organization of bodybuilding as we know it today.
Today's bodybuilder only sees the surface and the "now" of the sport, but guys like me remember the "old days". Being a bodybuilder made you more of a freak then, than you are today. No one looked at us with any respect and most regarded us as circus freaks. Those that did get close to us mostly thought we all just "gay" or "health freaks". People like Ben Weider have made fitness today possible. With over 33% of all children obese and the world looking towards bodybuilding for nutritional experts, the pathway had to be drawn by someone. Ben was obviously a pioneer of fitness and even men who don't know who he was will be touched by the work that he did.
People like me entered into the world of exercise science, drawn out of an interest in bodybuilding. That wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of Ben. Today I write articles that change the protocol of bodybuilding and many other sports and I thank God that he sent people like Ben ahead of me to make a pathway that I could at least work from.
I am honored to have known him and although I didn't know him as well as I knew his brother Joe, my respect for the work that Ben Weider did will never end. God Bless his brother and his friends that supported his work.
Dr. David Ryan
Medical Director: Arnold Fitness Weekend
Editorial Advisory Board: Muscle and Fitness Weekend
Certified Strength and Conditioning Supervisor
Ben Weider was often known to make statements such as, "The IFBB is my legacy. If it dies after I am gone, then I would have failed!" Only time will reveal the fate of the International Federation of Body Builders now that the patriarch is gone.
Ben surely was a champion for the competitive component of bodybuilding. He served as both an ambassador and diplomat, and with the help of Oscar State, did establish the IFBB as the recognized international governing body of the sport.
Regardless of where history places Ben and his beloved federation, his death marks the ending of an era that saw his name so synonymous with physique competition. He was diligent for over half a century, may he rest now.
Author of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors
Click Image To Enlarge.
Randy Roach: "Ben Surely Was A Champion
For The Competitive Component Of Bodybuilding."
Everyone who met Ben was touched by his warmth, kindness and personal care, especially in the world of bodybuilding as well as health and fitness. Ben will definitely be missed as his smile could warm any room.
Celebrity personal trainer
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Mike Ryan: "Ben Will Definitely Be Missed As His Smile Could Warm Any Room."
I am devastated, with deep pain in my soul; I have lost my best friend in life.
Behind us are more than 30 years of close friendship. His guidance, trust and support all these years and my relationship with him has been a gift from God. Ben has been like a father for me; and together with my parents, my mentor in life. I joined him traveling all over the world; from Europe to Africa, from Asia to America, and I always admired his way of respecting people regardless of politics, race or religion. Ben was always generous, sensitive, and respectful with everybody. He and his brother Joe influenced and guided millions of people to follow bodybuilding, fitness and a healthy lifestyle. The moments, the talks, the experiences, the projects, the dreams we shared together are milestones and the best memories for me.
I was in Bali attending the participation of bodybuilding in the Asian Beach Games of the Olympic Program - on our way to achieving his most appreciated sporting dream - when the shocking news broke my heart. Now, more than ever, with the support of all our dear colleagues in the IFBB Family, we will put all our energy into following his life example, to achieve for our sport IOC recognition.
I promise you, Ben, this day will come, and you will be with us, living in my heart and in the heart of the millions of your friends worldwide that are now, in their own language and religions praying for your eternal peace in heaven.
It is widely believed that a person is measured by the contributions they make during their time here on earth. In the case of Ben Weider, he has touched thousands of lives. Throughout his 85-year journey, Ben transformed lives and inspired all who knew him. He was a leader, a mentor and an educator. Ben Weider lived his life with a sense of balance, purpose and character that few could dare to reach.
Founder of "Pro Bodybuilding Weekly"
I remember Ben Weider saying, "That bodybuilding was nation building". No matter where you came from or what beliefs you held dear to your heart, we as bodybuilders were all untied by a common bond. The human body was the human body and building muscle was the name of the game. Ben did a wonderful job getting bodybuilding recognized as a legitimate sport to the masses and many times came close to realizing his dream of Olympic recognition.
I was also pleased to see his extensive work featured on the History Channel, regarding his research on Napoleon. Many founding figures of the sport are gradually slipping away to time and it's very important for us to recognize these people and remind them of how much their time and effort is appreciated, while they are still with us.
Natural bodybuilding champion and gym owner
I never had the privilege of meeting Ben; the closest I got was attending the Weider booth at the 2004 Olympia. It was full of bodybuilding superstars both past and present with a beautiful layout of food. I guess Ben was off somewhere with official duties.
It's very clear bodybuilding would not be what it is today without Ben. He along with his brother Joe pioneered bodybuilding and developed it to the level we now see it. Ben's love for the sport was obvious to us all.
We all owe many thanks to Ben for what he has done for our beloved sport.
Thank you Ben and Rest In Peace
Australian bodybuilding champion
Muscle and Fitness cover model
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David Rylah: "It's Very Clear Bodybuilding
Would Not Be What It Is Today Without Ben."
Ben, along with his brother Joe, was a tireless worker and promoter of the sport of bodybuilding, from back in the era before it was a sport. Through these efforts he helped build the IFBB and bring recognition to bodybuilding throughout the world. The structure of the sport today owes something to Ben Weider, and those who enjoy bodybuilding would do well to remember him.
Professional freelance writer
Datuk Paul Chua:
The vicissitudes of family life is in you ...just like me. We are born to work and I have been working since last night (or morning) till 2.15 a.m. Believe me bro, if I am paralysed or had died of any sickness, people will only say, "Oh Paul Chua died... poor fellow." Some will even curse at me: "Oh good he is dead and gone."
You know, Adam Jin of Shanghai asked me these last two weeks, he said: Papa what do you gain by promoting bodybuilding. You don't even save a cent and how do your plan for your old age. This struck me...and I was dumb-founded for a few minutes. I answered, I leave it to God as I am already planning my path to the next world within these next few years.
The man who helped me and who is still helping me is Ben Weider. Without him I am nothing. What I am today is because of him. He helped me financially when I was down and out, he helped me to dry my tears, he consoled me, and he cared for my family and me. I CANNOT REPAY THIS MAN. He gave me courage, made me a man, gave me strength and taught me what is right and what is wrong.
I do not care about all of the politics and nonsense, and I will speak my mind freely as this is what God has given to me the ability to do. To me the titles, the big shot way of acting and showing-off is nothing anymore; I have passed all these stages, I am now 67 years old and I have a few good years more left. Of course, I will never ever compromise my dignity and name to anyone who tries to step on my toes. I will hit back, as this is my lifestyle; it doesn't matter who they are.
Life is simple. I came naked into this world and when I die, I will also go naked and cannot take all the titles, power and wealth with me.
Datuk Paul Chua
IFBB Vice President-Asia
Condolences to Eric Weider
It is with a heavy heart that I have to email you at this time. When I received news of your father's demise on Sunday morning, the first thing I did was to try to reach my parents who are in Bali for the Beach Games.
Your father was an honorable man, one of the few I have met in my life who left a deep impression. I will always remember how gracious he was, entertaining Daryll and myself at his home years ago, and even partaking in a sip of champagne when it was not quite his cup of tea, and later, sharing his stories of his early travels around the world and astounding us with all the dates and names he could still remember vividly. What struck me then was not the fact that he was just telling us stories from his travels, but to each story, there was a moral to be seen and learned.
His wisdom, his passions in life for all that he did, his compassion and his love made him a truly great man. Most of all, he was and will always be Uncle Ben to me... a part of my family.
I send you and your family our deepest condolences. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Past General Secretary-IFBB Asian Body Building Federation
Without Ben organizing the IFBB, between him and Joe, we would probably be back in the dark ages. Look at the other organizations in the sport. Ben brought bodybuilding international recognition. Ben and Joe made the Mr. Olympia and allowed professionals to make a living from the sport of bodybuilding. And it was presented the way it should be. So without Ben and Joe bodybuilding would probably still be in a little sports hall somewhere.
Six-time Mr. Olympia