LOOKING BACK: 1991 Arnold Classic – Shawn Ray vindicated by victory

The 1991 Arnold Classic was a special one for legendary bodybuilder Shawn Ray.

Evolutionofbodybuilding.net continues with their special features called LOOKING BACK, featuring some of the greatest bodybuilding contests of all time.

In this edition, we look back at Shawn Ray’s victory at the 1991 Arnold Classic.

This was was not a normal victory for Shawn Ray, but it was vindication for the title they took away from him the previous year.

Going back to 1990, Shawn Ray was the star on the rise and he was the favorite to win the second Arnold Classic bodybuilding championships.

Another aspect of the show was it was drug tested.




Shawn won the contest presenting one of the best physiques in the history of the sport. Not as tall as his competitors, but Shawn presented a physique that one could say was almost perfect.

After lifting the Arnold Classic trophy and taking the prize money home, a few days later, while doing a Canadian tour, Shawn Ray was notified that he failed a drug test.

Back then drug testing was something new to the sport and it was a surprise to many. Mike Ashley was pronounced the winner a few days later.

From being the second winner of the Arnold Classic, Shawn Ray had to return the trophy and his prize money.

After this nightmare, Shawn Ray focused on getting his revenge and winning the next edition of the Arnold Classic.

The best bodybuilders of that era were invited to the show and the competition was at the highest level.

Shawn Ray came and conquered to win the contest while Renel Janvier finished behind him in second and Vince Taylor taking third.

The shock of the evening was the first ever Arnold Classic winner Rich Gaspari falling to seventh place.

It was more than a victory for Shawn Ray, it was a evening that Shawn Ray won back what was taken away from him.

These trophies are not just taking space on fireplaces and trophy cabinets. These trophies embody the history of the sport and the blood and sweat these athletes such as Shawn Ray went through to win the title.

1991 Arnold Classic Results

1  Shawn Ray
2  Renel Janvier
3  Vince Taylor
4  J J Marsh
5  Thierry Pastel
6  Steve Brisbois
7  Rich Gaspari
8  Robby Robinson
9  Andreas Munzer
10 Francis Benfatto
11 Mohammed Benaziza
12 Selwyn Cottrell
13 Wilhelm Jasinowski
14 Ron Love
15 Michael Devitis
16 Bob Paris
17 Armando Defant