Dan Lurie has done it again. After a long retirement from bodybuilding promotion, Dan again adopted his role as contest promoter to run the first WBBG (World Body building Guild) Hall of Fame awards in 27-years, in what was the biggest ensemble of legendary bodybuilding stars ever seen under one roof.
From 1965 through to 1988, Dan was a regular fixture on the bodybuilding scene, one of the main players in the burgeoning bodybuilding and fitness industry with his Magazine Muscle Training Illustrated - established in 1965 - and his bodybuilding federation, the WBBG - started in 1967.
His WBBG contests, which included the Pro Mr. America, USA and World, Mr. Olympus, Mr. Galaxy, Mr. North America and Mr. International, were contested by bodybuilding's biggest stars and his reputation as a promoter and former champion himself, preceded him wherever he went.
When he began promoting his very first contests back in the late 1940s, Dan quickly realized he had an aptitude for getting the biggest names to compete in his shows. After a hiatus from promotion - television duties called - Dan re-entered the fray in 1967 staging his first event, the Pro Mr. America, won by the great Harold Poole, who would also win this title in '68.
And the top talent Dan managed to attract did not end with big Harold. Between '67 and 1980, the WBBG attracted immortals such as Sergio Oliva, Boyer Coe, Chris Dickerson, Serge Nubret and Warren Frederick.
Early on, Dan noted a lack of recognition given the top champions of the day and set about changing that. In 1965 his inaugural Hall of Fame event honored Sigmund Klein, a man Dan went toe to toe with as a competitor in 1946. Subsequent years would see him induct into what would become the WBBG International Fitness and Sports Hall of Fame, politicians, actors and fitness and bodybuilding icons who best represented the ideals of fitness for health and well being.
Politicians Ronald Reagan, Prince Ranier of Monte Carlo and New York mayors, Abe Beame and Ed Koch, actors Burt Reynolds, Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, Mae West, Sylvester Stallone and Clint Eastwood, wrestlers Superstar Bill Graham and Ivan Putski and bodybuilders Reg Park, Steve Reeves, Sergio Oliva and Chet Yorton are among the many Dan has honored.
Since his retirement, Dan has maintained an active interest in bodybuilding and has stayed informed on all the sport's major events. Now, at age 84, he has once again contributed to its history with his re-birthing of the WBBG, the Hall of Fame and Muscle Training Illustrated magazine along with a book on his life to be published in 2008 and a bodybuilding newspaper, the Muscle Training Illustrated Newspaper, out now.
The 2007 WBBG International Fitness And Sports Hall Of Fame Awards
Although he has never really lost touch with his bodybuilding roots, after making his comeback over the weekend with the Hall of Fame awards, in conjunction with the WBBG North America Bodybuilding and Figure and Fitness Championships, held in South Portland, Maine, Dan is again ready to promote bodybuilding at the highest level.
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The Inductees In Attendance With Dan.
Tony Atlas, John DeFendis, Harold Poole, Bob Gajda, Leon Brown, Warren Frederick, Annibal Lopez, Dan Lurie, Steve Michalik & Paul Bernstein.
The list of confirmed inductees for the weekend's event read like a veritable who's who of bodybuilding superstars and fitness icons. 14 former champions were honored, 10 of which received their awards on the night, and special honors were given in the memory of immortals Steve Reeves, John Grimek and Charles Atlas.
Coordinating an event showcasing 14 of bodybuilding's biggest legends was, as one could imagine, no mean feat. In many cases, with these kinds of gatherings there are inevitable problems concerning flight delays, unavailability of the inductee, and a multitude of other unexpected events, all of which could preclude the smooth running of such a spectacle.
The first WBBG Hall of Fame event in 27 years was a great success in the sense that most of the inductees scheduled to appear were there and the fans got their money's worth as they were afforded the opportunity to meet their bodybuilding idols.
Standing alongside one another, these golden age bodybuilding giants all looked fantastic for their years, a sure sign that bodybuilding has been very good to them. And not only did the fans get a chance to meet these men, many of the athletes themselves were delighted to meet with men who they competed alongside, in some cases, over 40 years ago and those they looked up to as they carved their own track to bodybuilding/sports success.
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Dan Lurie, Harold Poole, Warren Frederick Leon Brown & Tony Atlas - Check Out Tony's Arm!
Before each inductee accepted their award a clip encompassing their bodybuilding life played on a giant screen, giving the audience a taste of exactly why they were being honored. As they accepted their awards, each gave a speech, all of which were entertaining and in many cases thought provoking.
This review of the re-birthing of bodybuilding's biggest event celebrating the achievements of those who pioneered the iron game, the WBBG International Fitness and Sports Hall of Fame awards, provides a detailed look at who was inducted in 2007 and why, and shares photos of the big night.
The Inductees Were:
- Tony Atlas
- Samir Bannout
- Paul Bernstein
- John DeFendis
- Leon Brown
- Warren Frederick
- Sergio Oliva
- Steve Michalik
- Robby Robinson
- Superstar Billy Graham
- Harold Poole
- Anibal Lopez
- Bob Gajda
- Kellie Everts
- Steve Reeves
- Charles Atlas
- John Grimek