Reprinted from MUSCLE BUILDER/POWER, June 1972
Paris, France, September 24, 1971
Members of the IFBB Executive Council present at the IFBB International Congress held in Paris at the famous Napoleon Hall are, left to right, Joe Weider (USA), Patron, Malih Alaywan (Lebanon), Vice President for the Middle East, Ben Weider (Canada), International President, Serge Nubret (France), Vice President for Europe, Alex Carali (Canada), General Secretary, Abd El Monem Osman Mohamed (Egypt), Vice President for Africa, Ch. Mohammad Amin (Pakistan), Vice President for Asia

September 24, 1971 was the most important day in the long and illustrious history of bodybuilding. 

For on that afternoon, 78 delegates from 29 nations caucused and organized the future of their sport at the second annual IFBB International Congress.

Decisions were made which will shape the entire scope of bodybuilding for generations to come.  And the main thrust of the Congress was to elevate bodybuilding from a backdoor activity to one of international prominence, even elegance.  As you will see in our report, this wonderful task was successfully accomplished in 1971 and greater progress will be made this year when the Federation, strengthened and emboldened by its 1971 resolutions and administrative changes, surges ahead.

In the sumptuous setting of the famous Napoleon Hall, where the decor dates from the Empire period,
more than 200 officials (including 78 delegates from 29 countries) attended the
2nd IFBB International Congress … a worthy place for such a historic day for bodybuilders.

Held Prior to Paris IFBB "Mr. Universe" Contest

The logistics of the Congress were arranged by IFBB President Ben Weider and his Canadian contingent.  Held in the splendid and tradition-draped L’Aiglon Hall of Paris’ Intercontinental Hotel, the meeting was grandly auspicious in the manner of the Rothchilds and Peugeots, world famous financiers, who in fact, have held their important business meetings at this very venue.

An excellent meal was served with wine and drinks so that all delegates were happily immersed in camaraderie as the formal session began. Appropriately enough, Serge Nubret, IFBB-France head and organizer of the Mr. Universe show, which would be held the next day, opened the Congress and, as host, welcomed all delegates to France and wished them a happy stay.  Then, Ben Weider took over the chair and his first act was to present Serge with an engraved gold watch, an expression of IFBB gratitude for the yeoman service Nubret has put into his job for the past decade. All the participants were then properly introduced and seven nations were voted into solemn IFBB membership: Poland, Iran, Finland, Norway, Spain, Great Britain, and Wales. Each had sent contestants to international meets but none had previously applied for a national membership.  Ben read a telegram from the Russia muscle congregation stating the Soviets thought it inexpedient to attend this year.  But to offset this somewhat disheartening news came a series of letters and telegrams from 11 nations’ affiliates to the International Olympic Committee affirming their wishes to see bodybuilding on the Games Calendar in 1976.

The IFBB and the sport of bodybuilding is on the agenda of the International Olympic Committee.
Click the above page for the larger version

IFBB close to Olympic Games Recognition

Gleeful pandemonium broke out when President Weider detailed how close the IFBB is to recognition by the Olympics administration.  As a preliminary step, the IFBB was invited to join the General Assembly of International Sports Federations (GAISF), the leading world body of its type. Application was subsequently made to the International Olympic Committee for recognition and a response from IOC leader Avery Brundage said the matter was under consideration.  This was held to be favorable news since issues of unimportance to the IOC are usually rejected summarily.

After a technical discussion of financial and administrative matters by General Secretary Alexander Carali (Canada), the election and appointing of new officers was conducted. Awanis Yessian of Iran was voted in as Secretary of the Judges Committee to replace the resigned Czechoslovakian Ladislav Filip. Dennis Stallard of Great Britain was seated as Head European Judge, a decision that was to be appealed by Belgium later. And the first IFBB director for South America was installed. He is Armengal Abreu of Venezuela.

More interesting business news followed. President Weider told glowingly of IFBB registration in Canada as a legal (non-profit) corporation. This necessitated dividing top IFBB administration into two groups: a Board of Directors to deal exclusively with corporate and business matters and an executive council overseeing basic bodybuilding and athletic activities. After heated but friendly jockeying for the prestigious directorships, the following men were chosen to steward the Federation:



Ben Weider
Canada (President)

Malih Alaywan
Lebanon (1st Vice President)

Lloyd Derrell

Serge Nubret
France (2nd Vice President)

Abd El Monem Osman Mohamed

Ch. Mohammad Amin
Pakistan (3rd Vice President)

Alexander Carali
Canada (Secretary)

Emil Muller
Canada (Asst. Secretary)

Vogtec Fiala

Roger Negrin
Canada (Asst. Treasurer)

Ralph Johnson
Unites States of America

Alfred Bismuth
Canada (Treasurer)

Joseph Weider
Unites States of America

John Ong

Marc Hankard

Awanis Yessian

In a related move, Harold Eisenberg, previous treasurer of the Federation, switched to a new post, Auditor, a traveling job which will ensure best use of IFBB finances around the world. Also the august Montreal law firm of Crepault, Fortin, Raymond and Trahan was selected to represent the IFBB in it complicated international legal dealings.  Senior partner Raymond Crepault was genuinely moved as he accepted the position for his firm.

Medical Committee Formed

The IFBB next took a very progressive step just as similar athletic organizations have done in recent years. It appointed Dr. Pierre Gravel, who is President of the Chiropractic Association of Canada, to form a committee specializing in bodybuilders’ medical problems.  Its first two concerns will be a definite report on the effects of anabolic steroids on training and health, and ways to eliminate or reduce training injuries and increase the recovery rate from same. Dr. Gravel’s nomination was opposed by some who wanted a physician as chairman but Ben Weider’s firm opinion in favor of the chiropractor prevailed. Dr. Gravel, he stated, was a former bodybuilder with extensive knowledge in this area, well respected by his colleagues including Canada’s eminent sports physicians, and able to devote a year of his time to the medical committee. Ben expressed full confidence in him and he was appointed by the Congress.

Certification of Future World and Continental Championships

Of nitty-gritty interest to musclemen was the meat and potatoes of the convention – the sites of future contests and when:

The delegates nearly unanimously agreed that it was time to move the Mr. Universe show to Asia. The 1972 pageant was awarded to Baghdad and the Iraqi delegate was overcome with emotion as the offer from his country was accepted. He assured a maximum effort would be forthcoming, both by the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Government. He said the Iraqi National Airline would ferry in entrants and officials from Geneva, Switzerland and Pakistan free to ensure a greater field.

The Mr. Olympia contest was divorced from the Mr. Universe and will be held in Essen, Germany in September 1972.

The 1972 Mr. Europe contest will also be held in Essen in conjunction with the Mr. Olympia.

Poland bid for the 1973 Mr. Europe show and got it, the first IFBB continental championships to a Communist country.

A new event will be added to the Federation calendar, Mr. North America. It will be held in New York in 1972 and probably be produced by Tom Minichiello who did the terrific 1971 Mr. World show.

The Mr. America show will be enlarged to include Mexican and Canadian contestants. It is to be renamed American Body Building Championships.

Mr. Arab and Mr. Middle East are now formally IFBB-recognized and will jointly be held in Lebanon.

Lebanon also vied for another new event, Mr. Mediterranean, but lost to Italy, 21-7. Entrants must come only from nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The 1972 Mr. Caribbean show will be hosted in Barbados.

A sentimental note was next on the agenda as IFBB Order of Merit Awards were made to a total of 26 members from eleven nations for long and valued service. Among the group were three women: Jacqueline Nubret of France, Sheri (Mrs. Reg) Lewis from California, and Mrs. Georges Blommaert, Belgium.

From March 11-15, 1971, Ben Weider attended the annual congress of the General Assembly of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in Vienna, Austria. It was at this congress that the IFBB was officially recognized by GAISF. This was a watershed moment as the IFBB was now legitimately recognized by the world’s highest sport authority as the only International Sport Governing Body for the sport of bodybuilding. This evenutally led to the end of rivalry between the IFBB and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) over who should govern bodybuilding. Ben Weider is seen here with John Kelly, Jr (USA), AAU President.

Other Vital Issues Debated

With all scheduled issues disposed of, an open discussion of IFBB problems and procedures commenced.  But not before Joe Weider was roundly cheered by the Congress for his financial contributions and support which carried the Federation through many lean and impotent years. Joe was present for the entire session and it is to his credit that he rarely entered an opinion and never made a demand. His financial underpinning and status as master global bodybuilder emeritus carry a lot of weight but Joe graciously remained neutral on all controversial matters regardless of his personal position or viewpoint.

Ben Weider reminded delegates that IFBB constitutional changes could be made but on a quadrennial basis so that all important alterations or additions be announced directly. Lud Shusterich was first to speak suggesting that all national federations entered in a given contest supply a flag of their country. The proposal was approved.

Jacques Blommaert of Belgium was up next. He argued vociferously that Dennis Stallard of Wales be removed as Chairman of the European Judges Committee as he was only newly appointed to the IFBB and has previously organized contests for NABBA, an anti-IFBB group. Ben Weider replied that Stallard was repentant for that and had 19 considerable years experience as a bodybuilding expert. Ben insisted that he was the best man for the job regardless of his previous politics and that he was now an IFBB brother. This affirmation by the President settled the issue as a majority of the delegates concurred.

Milan Cabric of Yugoslavia proposed the inclusion of power lifting contests at physique championships.  Voting for the proposition was 24 ayes and 6 nays and it was tabled for future discussion.

Suddenly, Mr. Blommaert was on his feet again calling for the censure of the entire United Kingdom Mr. Universe entry. He said all the entrants should be suspended for having recently entered a professional NABBA event. An involved hearing emerged wherein England pleaded its case to the Executive Board: the country was newly-admitted to the IFBB and their bodybuilders competed in non-sanctioned contests when neither they nor the nation was IFBB-enrolled. If these men were to be dropped from the national squad, the country would have to withdraw since a quality field could not be found in time, if at all. The Board sided for England and Wales.  But insisted now that the country is under IFBB jurisdiction no tolerance can be permitted. This Solomonic decision was submitted to the full delegations and overwhelmingly approved.

IFBB President Ben Weider proudly points to Baghdad, Iraq, on the world map. It is in Baghdad that the IFBB World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships (IFBB "Mr. Universe") and IFBB International Congress will be held, November 15-23, 1972.
The Iraqi National Olympic Committee has announced that they will budget $45,000 USD for the organization of these events and will allocate one car per nation, thus assuring rapid transportation at all times.
Fifty (50) nations are expected to attend the greatest of all contests.

Suspensions which Turned the Tide of Battle

Following a brief recess, the Congress reconvened to hear a plea from Arnold Schwarzenegger concerning the disbarring of Franco Columbu from IFBB competition (for one year) for competing in a professional contest in Ohio last June. Arnold’s argument was loudly denounced as the delegates opined that Columbu knew full well what he was doing when he accepted money at this event. Further, it was decided the IFBB would include its definition of amateur on its entry blanks and require and affidavitized signature before an entry will be accepted. Thus, contestants who represent themselves as amateur but are found to be professional will clearly disqualify themselves.

In addition to Columbu, Sergio Oliva, though he apologized to the Congress for entering a pro event, was also suspended for a year. Ken Waller was similarly barred. Roy Callendar of Barbados was likewise sanctioned but after a message of regret to the Congress was permitted to remain IFBB director for his homeland.

The German delegate, Peter Fasching, requested that a regulation limiting competitors from a single nation to three for major events be left up to the organizing committee’s discretion. In the interests of bigger fields and more flexible contests, this request was approved by the delegates.

And so that was it. The Congress concluded on a jocular note as President Weider apologized to Pierre Le Long, a French delegate, for conducting the proceedings in English because twice as many delegates understood English than French.  Le Long smiled benignly saying it gave him free schooling in another tongue.

At 8:30pm, the most vital day in the history of bodybuilding ended. It was an awesome occasion to be resumed next year in Baghdad. There, more nations will be seated, more delegates present and more important steps proposed and implemented. The IFBB grows larger and stronger every month. In fact, the sun never sets on the IFBB Empire. You should be proud to be part of it.

The fabulous Albert Beckles (England) Medium Class and Overall winner of the IFBB "Mr Universe" 1971. On the left of the photo is Giuseppe Deiana (Netherlands), winner of the Short Class and third in the Overall. On the right of the photo is Karl Bloemer (Germany), winner of the Tall Class and second in the Overall.


1st – Karl Bloemer (Germany)
2nd – Helmut Reidmeier (Germany)
3rd – Mike Katz (USA)
4th – Francois Labrador (France)
5th – Vic Downs (Canada)
6th – Abdul El Guindi (Egypt)


1st – Albert Beckles (England)
2nd – Ahmet Enunlu (Turkey)
3rd – Ed Corney (USA)
4th – Abbas Al Hindawi (Iraq)
5th – Serge Jacobs (Belgium)
6th – Khaled Baynakalar (Lebanon)


1st – Guiseppe Deiana (Netherlands)
2nd – Renato Bertagna (Italy)
3rd – Hubert Plumanns (Belgium)
4th – Talib Shehab (Iraq)
5th – Tony Lamouche (France)
6th – Atan Parolay (Turkey)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is congratulated by Serge Nubret and Joe Weider on winning the 1971 Mr. Olympia (unopposed).