When you talk about the stars of bodybuilding industry, there are few names you surely cannot miss out on. These people reflect the success, growth and popularity of body building over past years, and body building wouldn’t have been the same without them. Here are the 12 most influential people or the icons in bodybuilding of all time:
1. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Former professional bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now an actor, producer, philanthropist, businessman and more. One of the most successful names in bodybuilding, he is one of the few bodybuilders to have such a huge impact on this sport. A veteran actor now, the bodybuilding journey of Arnold Schwarzenegger is quite impressive. His interest in this sport started with a visit to a local gym in Austria in 1960 and began weight training at the age of 23. His fame and popularity was not limited to Europe and he came to US to participate in body building competitions. He won the Mr. Olympia title in 1970 at the tender age of 23. His legacy in this field is commemorated in the annual bodybuilding competition, Arnold Classics.
2. ALEXEY LESUKOV
A Russian athlete, Alexey Lesukov was born in the town of Apatity, Murmansk region of Russia. He entered professional bodybuilding competitions from 2006 and won the very first 2 competitions he started with. He continued achieving success in competitions with the biggest one being the European Champion of the junior in 2007. He also secured the 4th place in the amateur edition of Arnold Classics Europe in 2013. The size of this 23 year old body builder is enough to put his opponents in a worry.
3. AZIZ “ZYZZ” SHAVERSHIAN
Considered to be the legend in bodybuilding, Aziz Shavershian was more popular with his Internet handle “Zyzz”. Born in Russia, Aziz Shavershian was an Australian bodybuilder, model, personal trainer, dancer and more. He was inspired by his bodybuilder elder brother and he joined the gym in pursuit of becoming a bodybuilder. He started posting videos on YouTube in 2007 and gained a massive cult following. At the age of 22, he died due to heart attack while he was in Pattaya, Thailand.
4. FRANK ZANE
One of the greatest names in the history of bodybuilding, Frank Zane is a former professional bodybuilder of America. Three time winner of Mr. Olympia, his physique had the second thinnest waistline of the Mr. Olympia event. He is one of the very few people who have beaten Arnold Schwarzenegger in a contest fight. Frank Jane was inducted into the Joe Weider Hall of Fame in 1994. For his dedication and long time support to bodybuilding, Frank Zane was presented the Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 at Arnold Classic. He started bodybuilding as a teenager and competed for over 20 years before retiring.
5. FRANCO COLUMBO
Two time Mr. Olympia, Franco Columbo has excelled in Olympic weightlifting and power lifting. Starting with weight lifting, Franco Columbo entered bodybuilding after being considered as one of the strongest men in the world. An iconic bodybuilder, Franco Columbo has been a great influence to upcoming bodybuilders looking to push the limits of their bodies. Starting his career in athletics as a boxer, he went ahead into power lifting and bodybuilding, winning Mr. Olympia in 1976. A long time friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of them have competed against each other on several occasions. He designed a comprehensive workout for men in 1988 and still works as a chiropractor.
6. JOE WEIDER
Considered to be the Father of Bodybuilding, Joe Weider was a Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur. He co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders along with his brother. His efforts to bring fitness and strength to limelight have truly revolutionized the body building and fitness industry. He is also the creator of Mr Olympia and other Olympia contests. He was presented with the Venice Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Young Men’s Hebrew Association. A true pioneer who sculpted himself with body building, Joe Weider died in 2013.
7. EUGEN SANDOW
A German bodybuilder, Eugen Sandow is considered to be the Father of Modern Bodybuilding. He was mentored by Ludwig Durlacher, a fellow strongman who spotted the immense potential of Sandow. He had gathered the title of being Father of Modern Bodybuilding due to his amazing body structure and physique. The whole fitness craze that exists today was started in London with the first competition in1901. When anyone wins a statue of Mr. Olympia, it is actually a bronze statue of Eugen Sandow. The recognition and his legacy is a prized possession for the athletes receiving this statue. Eugen Sandow died at the age of 58 due to a heart attack in London.
8. RONNIE COLEMAN
A professional body builder in America, Ronnie Coleman has won the Mr Olympia title 8 times in a row. He is the only athlete to win this title more times than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has 26 IFBB wins and this is a record in itself. One of the greatest bodybuilders, Ronnie Coleman won several competitions including the 1997 Russian Grand Prix and the Pro Canada Cup 1995. His success in bodybuilding has opened opportunities for advertisements, product endorsements and more, making him a well known celebrity.
9. LOU FERRIGNO
Popularly known as the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno is an internationally famous and well respected bodybuilder. An actor and fitness consultant today, Lou Ferrigno has won the Mr. America Title at IFBB. He was also won the IFBB Mr. Universe titles in consecutive years. Undergoing training with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he came second at the Mr. Olympia competition on his first attempt. He had taken a break from bodybuilding in between but returned to the sport in 1992. In 1996, he retired from bodybuilding and took up other professions. First picking up weight at the age of 12, Lou Ferrigno became the youngest contestant to enter Mr. Olympia contest.
10. LEE PRIEST
A former bodybuilder with IFBB, Lee Priest won the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title for consecutive 8 years. Retired now, Lee Priest is one of the greatest bodybuilders of America. Currently he is an athlete with the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association. Originally from Australia, he is now an actor and champion race car driver. He was with the IFBB for 16 years and at the age of 20, he is the youngest man to turn IFBB pro.
11. DENNIS WOLF
German professional bodybuilder, Dennis Wolf is an Arnold Classic Champion 2014 and Mr. Olympia finalist. A professional IFBB bodybuilder, Dennis Wolf initially took up martial arts and later turned to weights and bodybuilding. His professional results and competitions are outstanding. He started at an early age of 14 and became a Pro in 2005. He made his professional IFBB debut in 2006. He got his first professional victory in 2007 at Keystone Pro Classic. His impressive size and physique has helped him become one of the top bodybuilders in the world. He still works tirelessly towards improving bodybuilding aas a sport.
12. PHIL HEATH
Six time Mr. Olympia winner and current Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath is one of the best professional American bodybuilders. Raised in Seattle Washington, Phil Heath entered bodybuilding in 2002. In 2006, he won his first two IFBB events and the success continued further. He has also won the 2008 Iron Man show and made his Mr. Olympia debut in same year. With his perfectly chiseled body, Phil Heath is also nicknamed as the Gift. Since his time in Seattle, he had developed an affinity towards weights and bodybuilding. Pushing his body beyond limits, Phil Heath has worked hard to achieve IFBB Pro card and Mr. Olympia titles.
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