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History of the IFBB Professional League, Part 5

Submitted by IFBB Pro League Staff

 


It’s doubtful that anyone could have beaten Sergio in the 1968 MR. OLYMPIA event, because
he was in such fantastic shape. But we’ll never know; no one dared challenge him, and he won
by default. IFBB Chief Joe Weider presents the commemorative silver tray and $1,000 cash prize.

by BEN WEIDER
President, International Federation of Bodybuilders

THE 1968 IFBB MR. OLYMPIA CONTEST was held immediately following the IFBB MR. AMERICA and MR. WORLD physique contests, and the IFAW WORLD ARM WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS.  The fans had just seen such greats as Chuck Sipes win the WORLD event.  Already, Frank Zane was named MR. AMERICA.  The ARM WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS saw Maurice Baker pulverize his opponents.  The entertainment, including a belly dancer and a strongman act, had been great — and all this took place as a sort of an introduction to the greatest event of the evening … of the year — the MR. OLYMPIA competition.

Everyone had expected the reigning champ, Sergio Oliva, to meet with tough opposition from Sipes, Schwarzenegger, Poole, Draper, and other greats.  As it turned out, Sergio went on alone, and won the OLYMPIA title and $1,000 cash prize a second time in a row — this time by default.  Somewhat disappointed by the missing battle, a fight that had been anticipated for months, the fans were nonetheless held spellbound by Sergio as he went through his posing routine.  So fantastic was his development that in just a few moments the others were forgotten, and everyone was caught up in yelling and pounding on the floor for more … more … MORE Sergio — without question, the greatest bodybuilder in the world.

But why was he up there alone?  Were the others afraid to challenge him?  Let’s take a look at the missing contenders, those who were expected to challenge him, who never showed:

HAROLD POOLE was a favorite in the 1967 contest, almost beating Sergio.  Early in 1968 he was in hard training, but his promotion to general manager of the Cheetah, New York’s famous discoteque, placed a heavy responsibility upon him, what with seeing to business, hiring new help, working late hours, etc., making the kind of heavy training it takes for the OLYMPIA competition, impossible.  By the time September rolled around, Harold was down to 205 pounds, compared with his usual contest weight of 220.  He didn’t dare make an appearance; it would have shown him unfavorably, and unfairly.  Now that Harold is settled in his job, he’s back in hard training, and will definitely be one of the foreomost challengers this September — at a bodyweight of 230 pounds.

DAVE DRAPER’s problem was a heavy movie-making schedule.  Morning and night, almost every day, hard hours on the set kept him from training.  Also, his contract demanded time for advance promotional work, which meant he had to travel long hours to small towns not equipped with gyms, in order to make guest appearances to help assure the success of the film.  September came too soon, and Dave was not in his best shape.  His tendency to become smooth was beginning to show, and he was not going to compete against Oliva in less-than-best condition.  Shortly after the contest, Dave’s contract terminated (he is now a free agent, taking jobs which meet his satisfaction if and when he wants to), and, since then, he has been training hard — in preparation for the OLYMPIA battle this September.  He promises to show up at 240 pounds — in rock-hard cut-up shape.

CHUCK SIPES had just won the MR. WORLD title.  He had also performed strongman stunts, and by the end of the evening, he was tense and taut: he wasn’t sure that he could go through another grueling series of poses in order to look his best against Sergio.  Rather than chance defeat and mar the success of the evening, he decided to take trainer Joe Weider’s advice and forego the event until 1969.  This September he will challenge Sergio and meet the others head-on — at an increased bodyweight.  Chuck promises to be in the best condition of his life — and he is determined to win.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER informed IFBB headquarters in England that he would make the trip, and, accordingly, announcements were made in this magazine.  But, by the time September arrived, Arnold had become obsessed with the idea of going into the NABBA event and winning the PRO MR. UNIVERSE title, just one year after winning the AMATEUR division.  He could not enter both the London MR. UNIVERSE and New York Mr. OLYMPIA contests, which were on the same day.  After careful consideration, his obsession was too strong — and he decided on the NABBA contest, which he won.  Now he is in America, in California, training under Joe Weider’s personal supervision — and he will meet Sergio in September, at a bodyweight of 250 pounds, showing perfect muscle density.  Will Sergio be able to beat this monster from Austria?  And how will the others do?

OTHERS will also compete against Sergio in September — fellows like Mike Katz, now in fantastic shape, weighing 255 pounds.  And it’s been rumored that Bill Pearl is finally "melting" — and may show up to pose with the giants.  And who knows how many "dark horses" will enter, posing still other threats against the great Sergio!

One thing is certain — this year’s IFBB MR. OLYMPIA CONTEST will be the greatest ever, and the greatest physique competition of all-time.  It will be the BATTLE OF THE GIANTS.  You can’t afford to miss this one … plan on being there NOW.  The date will be in September … details will appear in this magazine as soon as a definite day and place are established.


MUTUAL ADMIRATION is evident in the happy faces of top winners Chuck Sipes (left), MR. WORLD,
and Frank Zane, MR. AMERICA. Sipes also won Most Muscular, Best Arms, Best Chest
and Best Abdominals. For Zane it was Best Legs. A week later he won the MR. UNIVERSE contest.

 

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