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Dennis Tinerino

Born December 25, 1945
Brooklyn, New York

On Christmas Day 1945 in Brooklyn, New York, Dennis Tinerino was born into a nurturing Italian-American family of modest means. As a youngster, Tinerino shared his father’s interest in boxing and baseball, and he watched Jack LaLanne on television and exercised along during the broadcast. But it was after seeing some boys perform chinups in the park, and trying for himself only to find out he couldn’t do them, that he vowed to get in shape.

Like many teens his age, Tinerino sent away for the now-famous Charles Atlas course. But after, as he put it, “five months of pulling and tugging” one body part against another, he was displeased with the paltry results. He changed his program, using five-pound dumbbells he had at his home, then pooled resources with a buddy to purchase 200 pounds of iron. From ages 13 to 16, he packed three inches onto his arms, netting 16 inches total at a bodyweight of 175 pounds.

At East New York Technical High School, Tinerino took up a rather unique sport, fencing, prompted by a fellow student who commented that he was probably too muscle bound to participate. He became very skilled at the sport, even forsaking weight training during his junior year. After high school, he worked for Olympic Radio and TV and met
Mr. Universe, Joe Abbenda, who taught him advanced methods during their five-day-per-week training sessions.

Tinerino’s first competition, while still in high school, was onstage at the RKO Movie Theater in New York – at the age of 16, he won the Mr. RKO Hercules title. In 1965, his victories included Mr. East Coast, Teen Mr. America, Jr. Mr. USA and Mr. North America. In 1967 he triumphed at the AAU Jr. Mr. America and the AAU Sr. Mr. America. He then crossed the pond to compete in the NABBA Universe in England, winning in 1968.

His IFBB pro contest history contained a bittersweet moment when he was declared the winner of the Pro Universe in 1975, only to be disqualified later when officials realized he was supposedly on suspension from entering IFBB events. Ironically, his only IFBB pro win would be that same title in 1981. He retired after placing 14th in the 1982 Mr. Olympia.

Tinerino converted to Christianity after some wrong life choices landed him in jail in 1978 and 1979. Today, he and his wife, Anita, continue the ministry that they began in 1979, Dennis Tinerino Ministries, and they are at work on a book, Blood, Sweat and Victory.

 

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