The History of Mr. Olympia
Somehow it seems unlikely that such a competition of this magnitude began at the Brooklyn Academy Music Hall. It did, the first contest in 1965 was in addition to the numerous competitive titles available, Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and Mr. World. Joe Weider created this Mr. Olympia venue as an avenue for competitors to earn money and build careers while enhancing the sport itself.
Since its inception, the backdrop has changed frequently from New York to Essen Germany and even to South Africa in 1975. The first winner was Larry Scott who retired after two victories, followed by Sergio Olivia in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He was competing against Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1970, Schwarzenegger won and held the title until his retirement in 1975 with a grand total of six wins.
The Comeback Kids
In 1976 Frank Zane appeared on the scene and with the full intention of breaking Arnold’s title run. However, after three successful competitions, Arnold returned in 1980 for his seventh title win. 1981 was a comeback year also- Franco Columbu (a one-time winner in 1976) took the title back before retiring.
The Sandow Trophy
The trophy named after Eugene Sandow is considered the paramount prize in bodybuilding. Eugene was the promoter of the first professional competition as well as an author, a successful bodybuilder, and entrepreneur of health drinks and supplements. This trophy lost its magic in 1901 when it was discovered not to be solid gold as advertised. It was reintroduced sometime in 1970 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first to hold this honour.
Lee Haney makes his debut in 1984 and he was prepped to win. He weighed in at 247 pounds of pure strength and definition. He won easily and consecutively for eight years in a row. A record now only tied by one other competitor- Ronnie Coleman. Coleman’s first triumph was in 1998 after Yates retired and won every year until 2005 when he came in second to Cutler. The following year Coleman retired. By 2010 Cutler had won four titles, not consecutively when he was defeated by Heath. Phil Heath the current title holder has never lost his footing and aims at breaking all records. The winnings have increased over time from a mere $1000.00 up to $400.000 in 2016. It isn’t easy to qualify for this competition but with hard work, dedication and determination it can be done.