Way back when, bodybuilding's founding father Joe Weider had his eureka moment and created the Mr. Olympia. It was for one reason, to give the bodybuilding elite an avenue to compete after they had won the Mr. Universe title. In 1965 he held his first ever Mr. Olympia contest which was won by the legendary Larry Scott who possessed arguably the greatest pair of arms of all time, a colossal 20 inches, which was unheard of at the time. He would repeat the feat again the following year.
1967 saw the rise of 'The Myth' Sergio Oliva a true mass monster regardless of the era in which he stood onstage. Oliva had probably the largest waist to shoulder width ratios of any Mr. Olympia competitor in history, barring Brian Buchanan who boasted a 26 inch waist and a 60 inch chest, a real life freak! Sergio would go to win the Olympia title for three consecutive years before he faced the Austrian Oak.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1970 ushered in a new era of bodybuilding, a combination of mass, symmetry and conditioning. He would go on to dominate the sport for half a decade and retire in 1975 at 28 years old as a six time Mr. Olympia. After Arnold stepped down, it was time for his training partner Franco Columbu to step up and take the Sandow.
1977 saw the face of bodybuilding change yet again when Frank 'The Chemist' Zane became the fifth man to be crowned Mr. Olympia. At a bodyweight of 190lbs, Zane displayed amazing symmetry and conditioning, the likes of which had never been seen before. He would repeat the feat again in 1978 and '79 before being dethroned by The Oak in Sydney Australia in 1980. As Arnold was preparing for his role as Conan the Barbarian he decided he would throw his hat into the mix for the Mr. Olympia.
Arnold Schwarzenegger At The 1980 Olympia.
Many felt that he had been away from the game for too long and that the athletes had improved too much for Arnold to be truly competitive. Competitors such as Mike Mentzer, who never competed again out of protest, were out classed by Arnold's combination of size, conditioning and symmetry. Many still believe to this day that Arnold shouldn't have won and the 1980 Mr. Olympia will always remain as the most controversial decision in bodybuilding.
1981 was to be a repeat of 1976 when Arnold's best friend and training partner Franco Columbu returned to the stage after a prolonged injury, taking his second Olympia title beating out 'The Golden Eagle' Tom Platz, whom many thought should have been the winner, he finished in 3rd place.
1982 the sport of bodybuilding showed the world just how great a way of life it is when 42 year old Chris Dickerson, who was one of the smallest Mr. Olympia winners ever, stepped onstage in London England weighing in at 189lb and became the 6th man to become Mr. Olympia. The Lion of Lebanon, Samir Bannout weighing in at 200lbs was dry as a bone in front of the Munich, Germany crowd, took home the Sandow being the 7th man to take the title and one of three single title winners.
In 1984 we saw the rise of the of the 'Totalee Awesome' Lee Haney. Haney was the biggest Mr. Olympia we had seen to date, topping the scales at a shredded 250lbs. He would go on to dominate the sport, keeping the Mr. Olympia crown for a record 8 consecutive years. He retired 1991 undefeated as Mr. Olympia.
Following Haney's retirement, the heir apparent Dorian Yates, who pushed Haney to the Edge the previous year became the 9th man in history to be crowned Mr. Olympia. Yates brought bodybuilding to a whole new level; he was huge and shredded beyond belief. He set a new standard of what it takes to win the Sandow. Dubbed 'The Shadow' as he disappeared after competing and trained in his homeland of England. He would go on to retain his title for a total of six consecutive wins before being forced into retirement due to injury.
1998 was the year when the first runners up over the last six years were to fulfill their destiny and become Mr. Olympia. Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, and Flex Wheeler all thought it was now their time to shine and one of them would be taking home the elusive Sandow. However, it was not meant to be. Coming in out of nowhere was Arlington Police officer, Ronnie Coleman. He would be the eventual winner. Just shy of six feet tall weighing in at just under 300lbs he was the biggest man ever to become Mr. Olympia. He would go on to become the most decorated bodybuilder of all time, winning almost every show he entered to add to his eight Mr. Olympia titles.
Ronnie Coleman At The 1998 Mr. Olympia.
2006 was the year when Jay Cutler was to earn sweet revenge over Coleman, to whom he placed second a total of four times. He would successfully defend his Olympia crown in 2007 against stiff competition from Coleman, and the eventual runner up Victor Martinez. But he went on to lose the Sandow in 2008 to Dexter Jackson who became only the 12th man in history to win a Sandow. Jackson stood onstage shredded and dry showing just why he is called 'The Blade'. His reign as Mr. Olympia was short lived and he lost the title again in 2009 to a vastly improved Jay Cutler, who became the first man, to regain the Mr. Olympia title in his all time best ever condition.
2010 sees us with probably the most hotly contested Mr. Olympia's to date. The young up and coming pros such as Phil Heath and Kai Greene, can smell blood and know that the Champ can be taken out. Veterans such as Branch Warren and Victor Martinez know that if they are to become Mr. Olympia it is a case of do or die. Dexter Jackson knows that if he is to prove his win was no fluke, now is the time to step onstage at his best. But will Cutler repeat his condition of 2009, and if he does will it be enough to stave off the hungry lions that want to become one of the greatest bodybuilders in history. This weekend in Las Vegas we will see just who was hungry enough and did what had to be done and step onstage at the Orleans arena ready to take what's theirs. This truly will be the greatest bodybuilding contest of all time.