Bodybuilding’s most valuable asset – The Bodybuilding Historian.
Evolutionofbodybuilding.net‘s Kevin Grech writes about bodybuilding’s most valuable asset, ‘The Bodybuilding Historian’.
The sport of bodybuilding is a niche sport that many love and dedicate their life to and at the same time many do not know or understand it.
Bodybuilding was the starting point for some of the most important people in the world start their very successful life careers.
From Hollywood to politics, bodybuilding was what kick-started the careers a number of people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Tierney, Lou Ferrigno, Steve Reeves, Dwayne Johnson and even the Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela.
Bodybuilding that teaches you everything you need to be successful in life. It is a life hobby or sport that teaches you the disciplinary and strength to take on any challenge that life throws at you.
Every sport has its beginnings and vast history and bodybuilding is no exception.
Bodybuilding has a handful of historians that are its most valuable asset. Some of these people have been around from the start of the Joe and Ben Weider era. Others are a bit younger, but they took the time to appreciate the history of the sport and continue to educate the younger generation.
This week, the bodybuilding world lost a very important figure in the sport of bodybuilding. Ric Drasin passed away at the age of 76.
Ric was bodybuilder and wrestler, but what is special about Ric is that he was a important part of the sport in the mid 70’s. Ric was a former training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other legends of the sport.
Ric lived the bodybuilding life to the fullest and thankfully, Ric left behind a vast database of knowledge on his YouTube channel.
Ric has interviewed some of the most popular bodybuilding legends and during the interviews, some great stories are revealed.
Some of the guests that Ric had on his show, have also passed away and if it was not for Ric, these legends most probably would have never been interviewed. Their life stories would not have ever been revealed if it was not for Ric.
Since bodybuilding is a niche sport, a number of the legends from the 60’s and 70’s would have been forgotten, but thanks to Ric, their legacy will live on.
Thankfully, the bodybuilding world has a number of other great historians that contribute to the sport on a daily basis.
John Hansen (Bodybuilding Legends Podcast), Wayne Demilia, Rafael Santonja, Peter McGough, Jim Manion, Steve Weinberger, Bob Cicherillo, Shawn Ray, Dan Solomon, Raymond Cassar, Chris Aceto, Samir Bannout, Tony Doherty and Tom Platz are the historian’s that I follow closely.
Some of the people I mentioned have some fantastic material that every young athlete can educate themselves with, such as John Hansen’s Bodybuilding Legends Podcast.
John has interviewed some of the biggest names in the sport. Without these people, we would not have the athletes that we adore today. In other words, the athletes that John interviews are the foundations of the sport. Today’s athletes are the fruit of the work and contribution of the past champions.
If you like reading, checkout the hundreds of articles written by possibly the best bodybuilding journalist in the history of the sport, Peter McGough.
He has worked very close to the Weiders and moved on to work with other top publications.
Peter has been around for a long time and his contest reports are so detailed that even if you were not at a major show, you can still get a feeling of the atmosphere just by reading his articles.
Checkout Peter’s vast library of articles on Muscular Development – click HERE.
Many young athletes know about Joe Weider because his name coincides with the Olympia Weekend, but if you ask them about the history of the sport and who Joe Weider is, you get a blank look.
In my opinion, talking to a bodybuilding historian, watching their videos, reading their articles or listening to their podcasts is the best way to learn all about the sport. By doing this, you learn to appreciate it that much more.
The vast history of the sport is so exciting, the majority of people involved in the sport have no idea of what happened behind the scenes at the most important and memorable events.
I personally talk to a number of people that I consider bodybuilding historians. One person in particular is Wayne Demilia.
Wayne has been around the sport of bodybuilding when Joe and Ben Weider were at their prime. He was the main promoter of the Mr. Olympia from 1984-2003 (19 years) and he was also the promoter and head of the pro league during that same period.
Wayne worked very close to George Butler on ‘Pumping iron’ and he in fact owned the out-takes of the film for many years before he sold them.
Wayne has been around the biggest names in the sport and he is also very close to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the people that were around him.
Every couple of weeks, me and Wayne connect to catch up. After we talk about how the world is falling apart due to Covid-19, sports and current events for about ten minutes, we always end up changing the subject to bodybuilding.
When Wayne starts talking about bodybuilding, get ready for over two hours of history overload.
The conversations are so long and detailed that I literally forget what he told be a hour before.
I always end of the conversation by telling Wayne that he needs to write a book.
I don’t think anybody in the history can explain certain episodes in such detail as Wayne does.
Some of the history that Wayne reveals is known and some incidents cannot be repeated, not even I know what they are. He is a man of his word and some incidents will remain a secret.
Moving on to other figures in the sport that I respect very much is my other good friend Raymond Cassar.
Raymond Cassar is also another person that has been around the sport for over 35 years.
From living in America to moving to Malta (Europe), Raymond has been around the biggest and best in the sport.
As part owner of the famous website ‘Muscletime’, Raymond must have tens of thousands of photos and video footage in his collection, with the majority never seen.
Raymond Cassar is another person that has worked closely with the biggest names in the sport. He has spent hundreds of hours with athletes recording the popular Muslcetime documentaries that are still popular today.
Some of the most iconic photos in the sport of bodybuilding were shot by Raymond himself.
Not only is Raymond a great photographer, but he still competes at the age of 58. He is truly a great inspiration when it comes to bodybuilding.
When talking to Raymond, you will immediately notice his vast knowledge of the sport when he talks about the history in perfect detail.
Raymond also is one of the biggest collectors of bodybuilding memorabilia and magazines.
Another important figure that I really enjoy talking to are IFBB President Dr. Rafael Santonja. Rafael is another person that was involved in bodybuilding from a very young age to then moving on to work closely with Joe and Ben Weider. He eventually took over the IFBB after Ben Weider resigned.
One person that I would love to speak to one day is Jim Manion, the President of the NPC and Pro League.
Many in the industry are under the impression that I hate Jim Manion, but this is not the case. I respect Manion and how he dedicated his life to the sport of bodybuilding.
I have written several articles on certain subjects that I still believe need to be corrected to make the sport better. This does not mean I hate a person because I write about an association he is president of. Criticism comes with the job and Jim Manion knows this.
Jim also has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, Jim is not the type to sit down in front of camera and talk about the sport of bodybuilding and his beginnings.
I always wondered what it would be like to site down and talk about the sport with him.
The majority of interviews with Jim today are about the present time and new athletes, but what about his beginnings.
How did Jim start out in the sport? How did he climb the ladder to become President of the NPC and Pro League?
The precious history that Jim surely knows is something that surely would make heads turn with new stories never before heard or revealed.
I have many other friends high up in the industry that I speak to on a regular basis and as usual the subject as with the people described above ends up being bodybuilding history.
Again, the wealth of knowledge that these people have about the history of the sport is priceless.
The improvements that we are seeing today and the success of the present athletes are thanks to the people working close to them.
The only way to move forward in the sport of bodybuilding is correcting certain factors that failed in the past. Also reintroducing events or other things that were successful in the past that are missing today.
Why is the IFBB, NPC, Pro League or the Olympia improving as time goes on? It is because the people that run the show have been around for many years.
A perfect example of knowing about the history of the sport to work in your advantage is the Olympia Weekend.
After Wayne Demilia, a publishing company called AMI took over the Olympia brand. The owner, David Pecker, was not a bodybuilder, bodybuilding historian or anything that had to do with the sport of bodybuilding.
David Pecker was a businessman involved in the publishing industry. In the beginning, his financial injection in the Olympia brand was noticed immediately, but as the years went on cracks started to show.
Finally, after David Pecker’s reign ended, the Olympia brand was taken over by people that love the sport of bodybuilding.
The new owner, Jake Wood, is very successful financially and at the same time is a bodybuilding fan.
Jake has been around the sport for a while, but he is no Jim Manion or Wayne Demilia when it comes to the history of the sport.
Jake was smart enough to leave running the day to day business of bodybuilding to Dan Solomon. Immediately after the purchase of the Olympia brand, Jake named Dan the President & Chief Olympia Officer at Muscle & Fitness.
Jake could not have found anybody better to run this historical event.
The 2020 Olympia Weekend, will be the second edition that Dan will be running. He took over the reigns in 2019 at the end of AMI’s ownership.
The 2019 edition could have been a disaster with certain external incidents that could have destroyed the event, but Dan pulled through and turned it into a success.
What does Dan have to do with bodybuilding historians? Well, even though he is not one of the older figures in the sport, Dan is a very educated person who thankfully loves the sport of bodybuilding.
If you have been a around the sport for the last 20 years, you will have seen Dan working behind the scenes and also producing the best podcast to date, ‘Pro Bodybuilding Worldwide’ with his good friend Bob Cicherillo.
A big contribution to Dan’s success is his good friend and colleague Bob Cicherillo. Bob is another modern day bodybuilding historian.
Bob Cicherillo is not only the ‘Voice of Bodybuilding’, but if you have followed the career of Bob on the internet and social media through the years, you will know he also loves the history of the sport.
Jake Wood was also smart enough to bring on Bob Cicherillo and Shawn Ray on the Olympia team.
Shawn Ray is another name that goes hand in hand with bodybuilding history. Whenever a question about bodybuilding history is brought up during a show that Shawn is involved in, you can expect a precise answer from the bodybuilding Hall of Famer.
The point I am trying to get across is that, all the success that we are seeing today in the sport of bodybuilding is thanks to the vast knowledge of the sport that that people have who run it.
You cannot be a success in bodybuilding with just money, you have to know the past.
Today, Brandon Curry is the current Mr. Olympia, he is number 15. Many don’t even know why we call him number 15.
It is hard to imagine, but the Olympia will be celebrating it’s 56th year in 2020. In the previous 55 years, only 15 men can say they are Mr. Olympia.
How many of my readers know who are winners up to Brandon Curry and the story behind their victories?
Many see the Mr. Olympia athletes on that Olympia stage once a year, what about their past?
From which country or competition did they earn their pro card? this is the information that I love to learn and write about.
So, if you have some time, instead of reading about who is going to beat who next week… read what led to the event you are excited to see today.
If you want to share your bodybuilding history stories, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through our social media.
I would love to hear from you.