Review By Ian L. Sitren
The Walk Of Fame
Muscle Beach, the place where muscles were born, this last weekend was again made an enduring piece of history in the minds of the public and the world of bodybuilding. On a bright and sunny day next to the sand and the Pacific Ocean along the Venice Beach boardwalk, the past and the future met joining the dreams and realities of so many people for so many years.
Those dreams that became realities stretch back to the 1930's in the minds and the lives of such people as Jack LaLanne and Joe Weider and move forward in time to the modern days of bodybuilding that everyone thinks of as one person and one name, Arnold. Those dreams and realities joined together and became real this weekend because of the dreams and sacrifice of one person named Joe Wheatley.
But let me back up a little. It was September 2nd, Sunday morning about 8 o'clock when I came walking up the Venice boardwalk on the way to the "pit". And there it was happening, the installation of the very first Walk of Fame plaques along the perimeter of the place long associated with the start of health and fitness in the modern day.
These plaques commemorate those people who have brought modern bodybuilding to the public and who have long been a part of Muscle Beach history. And this line of plaques will continue to grow through the years as more people are honored and named to the BodyBuilding Hall of Fame.
The dream of a BodyBuilding Walk of Fame was and is the dream of Joe Wheatley who will now always be remembered for making this dream a reality. Joe is the promoter and producer who took over the bodybuilding shows at Muscle Beach only a few years ago and has turned them into a spectacular international Summer event.
Amateur bodybuilders from around the world fly in to appear on the stage at Muscle Beach for the three shows that are highlighted by appearances by Arnold himself and United States Air Force fly-overs. Joe dreamed and believed that this place and these people deserved an acknowledgment that would last through time and so was born the placing of these plaques honoring the stars of the sport and those who started it.
And so that morning as the sunlight shined on the those plaques for the very first time, it was Joe Wheatley who realized the dream for everyone.
But there was another dream that made this all happen that morning. It was the dream of a young guy who started a little online business with the purpose of helping people realize their health and fitness goals. This young guy figured that if he could just bring people a lot of information in one place about what to do and how to do it to, that he could help people improve their lives.
Well that young guy is Ryan DeLuca who only a few very short years ago started BodyBuilding.com which has now become the largest bodybuilding and fitness resource in the world. So it was Ryan's dream along with Jeremy and Russ DeLuca that put BodyBuilding.com into the position of being able to make the installation of these plaques a reality.
But I know we also have all of you to thank too for making this happen. Because it is your support of BodyBuilding.com that has really also made it all happen.
Joe Wheatley and Russ DeLuca with the bronze commemorative plaque to be installed at the "pit".
The next day on Monday, Labor Day, brought the official unveiling and dedication of the Walk of Fame with a ribbon cutting attended by many honorees such as bodybuilding great, the amazing Bill Grant and John Balik, publisher of Iron Man Magazine and himself once an amateur bodybuilder who stood on the stage at Muscle Beach.
BodyBuilding.com's Russ DeLuca cut the ribbon that made it official.
Jack LaLanne Inducted Into Hall Of Fame.
I think Bill Grant said it best when on Monday morning he said to me "Arnold is the start but Jack started it all". And coming from bodybuilding great Bill Grant, I am not inclined to disagree.
But Bill is right, Jack did start it all and as Jack said that day, he remembers being out there at Muscle Beach back in the 1930's. Jack LaLanne turns 93 this month an that makes him old enough to be everybody's daddy in this business and in some ways, he is.
Jack opened the first gym as we know a gym back in 1936 in Oakland, California. He went on to open a chain of gyms bearing his name and had a famous long running television show teaching everyone at home how to exercise. Along the way he has done such things as swim across the Golden Gate channel towing a 2500 pound boat, he swam handcuffed from Alcatraz to Fisheman's Wharf, and he did 1000 push ups and 1000 chin ups in one hour and 22 minutes at the age of 45.
With his wife Elaine at his side, he has never wavered from his message of exercise and healthy eating. Jack has touched the lives of millions and millions of people for a very long time. And at Muscle Beach this weekend it seemed like they all were on hand to see the man and get an autograph and photo.
Coming up on 93 years old you would have thought Jack would have wilted under the sun on the beach but not even close. Not stopping for a moment and moving along the stage, Jack LaLanne made it clear that for openers age is no excuse. In a strong voice with great conviction he talked about the current heath crises in America with obesity running rampant and bad food in schools being the norm.
And take it from Jack, he made it very clear that you can do anything you want to do and set your mind to doing it. And that exercise and a healthy diet are the keys to a great life.
Lots Of Happenings
The last big weekend of Summer brought out a lot to see at the beach and even more at Muscle Beach. And I bet some of the best views were from the air because we had a lot of aerial attention.
Maybe the last time you saw Bob Cicherillo and Roland Kickinger together was when they starred in the movie "See Arnold Run". Roland had the part of Arnold and Bob was Lou Ferrigno. I guess if Bob could have got the accent down it could have been reversed.
The standing room only crowd filled the viewing areas and spent time at the booths of two dozen sponsors including HeadBlade and Gaspari Nutrition. And of course the BodyBuilding.com booth was jammed with people coming by to meet the many stars of the business hanging out there and to pick up bags of freebies.
Now if you had been there you would have seen bodybuilding legend Bill Cunningham guest pose with Jane Hessleberger in the most poetic guest posing ever.
And you could have made some new friends like Jack LaLanne did.
Perhaps you could have also posed down with Mr Olympia, Samir Bannout and "Man of Steel" Bill Grant.
You would have also heard from Silvio Samuel that he has every intention of winning the Olympia this year!
Bodybuilders From Around The World:
With so much happening it is hard to believe but there was a bodybuilding show going on too! As usual the Muscle Beach Championship brought out some great people to stand on that stage and show what they had. Men and women bodybuilders, figure and even something new and unique, pairs competition were all part of it.
Well as you can see a lot went on this weekend at Muscle Beach Venice! We even played our very own BodySpace video profiles during the day on the big screens on the stage and in the VIP tent. The crowd got to watch Ava Cowan, Maria Rogers and our BodySpace couple, Lana and Chad Armstrong.
That was fun too! Now you don't need a show to visit Muscle beach Venice. Go on out there and see the Walk Of Fame. Take your sweats and gloves and work out at the "pit". And stand on the stage yourself and strike a pose! It is all great fun and you can be a part of it, you are a part of it. Like Jack LaLanne says, you can do whatever you want to do. You can be whatever you want to be.
And while you are out there, if you are lucky, you might run across Joe Wheatley. Say hello and thank him for everything he has done. And while you are there, ask him what else he is dreaming about for Muscle Beach. You might be surprised, big things are on the way!
Thanks and keep coming back if you "Wanna See More..."