At age 10, Christian moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to California where he got into a few scrapes. By age 19, he was living in Oregon and entered and won his first contest, Mr. Portland.
Continuing his march onto the battlefield of bodybuilding in 1979, Christian placed third at the AAU Mr. Pacific Northwest contest and third in the AAU Junior Mr. America .
In 1982, he switched to NPC contests and placed fifth in the heavyweight division at the NPC Nationals, watching Lee Haney win the overall. With six TV stations covering Christian’s unanimous victory at the 1983 California State Championships at Fresno High School ’s amphitheatre, he must have felt his future looked spotlit.
Christian’s ticket to the pro division came with a 1984 heavyweight win at the World Amateur Championships. Seven months later, he debuted at the Night of Champions, landing fourth place. Rich Gaspari took second place, and he and Christian enjoyed a fierce rivalry throughout their careers. Christian appeared in five Olympias (1985, fifth; 1986, third; 1987, fourth; 1989, sixth; and 1990, fourth) and never finished ahead of Gaspari.
Christian’s five years in the IFBB yielded five wins among 22 contests.
His onstage career came to an end after he competed in the short-lived WBF contests of 1991 and 1992. Always one of the most gregarious athletes on the circuit.
1979 AAU Junior Mr. America Tall, 3rd
1979 AAU Mr. Pacific Coast 3rd
1979 AAU Mr. USA Tall, 4th
1980 AAU Junior Mr. America Heavyweight, 4th
1981 AAU Mr. California Heavyweight, 1st
1982 NPC Gold’s Classic Heavyweight, 3rd
1982 NPC Nationals Heavyweight, 5th
1982 NPC USA Championships Heavyweight, 4th
1983 NPC California Championships Heavyweight & Overall, 1st
1983 NPC Nationals Heavyweight, 3rd
1984 NPC Nationals Heavyweight & Overall, 1st
1984 IFBB World Amateur Championships Heavyweight, 1st
1985 IFBB Night of Champions 4th
1985 Mr. Olympia 5th
1986 IFBB Los Angeles Pro Championships 2nd
1986 Mr. Olympia 3rd
1986 IFBB World Pro Championships 2nd
1988 IFBB Grand Prix US Pro 1st
1988 IFBB World Pro Championships 1st
1989 IFBB Grand Prix England 4th
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Finland 5th
1989 IFBB Grand Prix France 2nd
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Germany 1st
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Holland 6th
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Spain 1st
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Spain (II) 1st
1989 IFBB Grand Prix Sweden 2nd
1989 Mr. Olympia 6th
1990 IFBB Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic 2nd
1990 Mr. Olympia 4th
1991 WBF Grand Prix 2nd