1965 - LARRY SCOTT - New York, NY
1966 - LARRY SCOTT - New York, NY
1967 - SERGIO OLIVA - New York, NY
1968 - SERGIO OLIVA - New York, NY
1969 - SERGIO OLIVA - New York, NY
1970 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - New York, NY
1971 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - Paris France
1972 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - Essen, Germany
1973 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - New York, NY
1974 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - New York, NY
1975 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - Pretoria, South Africa
1976 - FRANCO COLUMBU - Columbus, OH
1977 - FRANK ZANE - Columbus, OH
1978 - FRANK ZANE - Columbus, OH
1979 - FRANK ZANE - Columbus, OH
1980 - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - Sydney, Australia
1981 - FRANCO COLUMBU - Columbus, OH
1982 - CHRIS DICKERSON - London, England
1983 - SAMIR BANNOUT - Munich, Germany
1984 - LEE HANEY - New York, NY
1985 - LEE HANEY - Brussels, Belgium
1986 - LEE HANEY - Columbus, OH
1987 - LEE HANEY - Gothenburg, Sweden
1988 - LEE HANEY - Los Angeles, CA
1989 - LEE HANEY - Rimini, Italy
1990 - LEE HANEY - Chicago, IL
1991 - LEE HANEY - Orlando, FL
1992 - DORIAN YATES - Helsinki, Finland
1993 - DORIAN YATES - Atlanta, GA
1994 - DORIAN YATES - Atlanta, GA
1995 - DORIAN YATES - Atlanta, GA
1996 - DORIAN YATES - Chicago, IL
1997 - DORIAN YATES - Los Angeles, CA
1998 - RON COLEMAN - New York, NY
1999 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2000 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2001 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2002 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2003 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2004 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2005 - RON COLEMAN - Las Vegas, NV
2006 - JAY CUTLER - Las Vegas, NV
2007 - JAY CUTLER - Las Vegas, NV
2008 - DEXTER JACKSON - Las Vegas, NV
2009 - JAY CUTLER - Las Vegas, NV
2010 - JAY CUTLER - Las Vegas, NV
2011 - PHIL HEATH - Las Vegas, NV
2012 - PHIL HEATH - Las Vegas, NV[/b]
In 1963, Joe Weider surveyed the available bodybuilding titles, and felt that none of them quite matched the vision he harbored of where the sport was headed. The Master Blaster insstrinctively realized that the current generation of bodybuilders was taking the sport to uncharted heights, and that they required a contest worthy of their talents. Joe came up with the iltimate contest, the ultimate prize for the ultimate physique, the Mr. Olympia, which materialized in 1965. Needless to say, the posing platform was forever transformed.
It all started on September 18, 1965. The crowd at the Brooklyn Academy of Music waited at the edge of their seats, screaming in anticipation. They clapped their hands, stomped their feet and yelled as loud as their lungs would allow for the blond superstar from California with arms too big to believe. The man they were waiting for was the legendary Larry Scott, and the reason why they were waiting was because this was the night of Joe Weider's greatest creation. This was the night of the first ever Mr. Olympia contest.
Larry Scott was the bodybuilding superstar of his day, but by 1963 there were no more world to conquer. Scott had already won the Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe titles; there was little left for him to prove. Besides proving anything, Scott already had a houseful of trophies and plaques and felt it was time to move on from bodybuilding and make some money.
Joe Weider recognized the need to keep Larry Scott in bodybuilding and the necessity to force the sport to grow. He created the Mr. Olympia contest to keep all the great Mr. Universe champions active in the sport and to give them the opportunity to earn money from competing. Joe could see that for the sport to succeed in the future, the champions would have to be able to make a living from competing in the sport just like other professional athletes.
Larry Scott indeed won the first Mr. Olympia contest that hot September night in 1965 and repeated as Mr. Olympia again in 1966. He then announced his retirement and the 1967 crown was up for grabs.
In 1967, Sergio Oliva (commonly known as "The Myth") won the third Mr. Olympia contest in overpowering fashion. People wondered how much better Sergio could get. But better he was! In fact, he was so much better that he won the 1968 Mr. Olympia unopposed. You know true greatness when no one dares to challenge.
Nevertheless, the greatest challenge to Sergio was waiting in the wings and 1969 commenced the greatest rivalry in the history of bodybuilding. Oliva was challenged by a young Austrian named Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a close battle, Sergio came out on top in 1969. He was now Mr. Olympia three years in a row, but Arnold promised that Sergio would never defeat him again.
Both men trained hard for the following year and in September of 1970, Arnold edged out Sergio to become the third man to hold the Mr. Olympia title. He'd said he would hold the title until he retired and that he would never be beaten again.
Arnold took the title unopposed in 1971. For the first time, the show was held outside of New York. The Mr. Olympia contest was held in Paris the same day the NABBA Universe was being held in London. Arnold, with his loyalty 100% behind the IFBB, competed in the Mr. Olympia while other great champions of that year chose to avoid Arnold and compete in the NABBA competition.
In 1972, the Olympia moved to Essen, Germany, were it hosted another epic battle between Sergio and Arnold. Even today, more than 20 years later, people still argue over who should have won. The decision was made by seven judges and, by a four to three vote, Arnold held on to his Mr. Olympia title.
In 1973, the contest moved back to New York, and the Big Apple saw Arnold take the title for the fourth consecutive year with a victory over Franco Columbu and Serge Nubret. Most people felt it was an easy win for Arnold, but a huge challenge awaited him for the following year - the emergence of Lou Ferrigno on the pro scene.
Standing 6"5" and weighing 270 pounds, Lou was the largest competitor that Arnold had ever faced. The show was held in New York at the Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden. Arnold again showed his dominance and won the title for a fifth time, but rumors started to circulate that he was thinking of retiring.
The Mr. Olympia moved to South Africa in 1975, forever preserved on film in Pumping Iron. Most people close to Arnold feel the only reason he competed in 1975 was because the contest was being filmed and it could possibly aid in kicking off his film career. Arnold won the contest easily and immediately announced his retirement.
In 1976, the contest moved to Columbus, Ohio, with Arnold serving as promoter along with Jim Lorimer. Franco Columbu finally won the Mr. Olympia title after trying for more than five years. It was not an easy victor, for he won by only an eyelash over Frank Zane. After the contest, Columbu announced his retirement while Zane immediately started training for the next year.
The next year, 1977, turned out to be the year of Zane. Frank has promoted himself that way for the 12 months leading up to the contest. He came to Columbus ripped and ready. he felt that no one could match his muscle density and he was right.
Almost like an instant replay , the 1978 show was again held in Columbus and Frank Zane walked away with the title. Frank proved that the Mr. Olympia winner did not necessarily have to be big, as what wins is quality.
In 1979, Zane made it three in a row. Could he go on forever? Would he challenge Arnold's record of six Olympias in a row? Zane seemed unbeatable, but 1980 would prove to be the most controversial Olympia in history.
In 1980, the contest was held in Australia. The field of competitors was the largest to date (16), but it was the comeback of one that made the story. Many in the sport had seen Arnold training for weeks before the 1980 Mr. Olympia, but most felt in was for a movie. When Arnold boarded the plane for Australia with the other competitors, they thought he was going to do the TV commentary. Even at the contestants meeting, they though he was there because he was an IFBB promoter and official. It dawned on them that he was there to compete when his name was called and he selected a competitor number. Arnold won the Mr. Olympia title for a seventh time in 1980, but to this day, many people still wonder why he came back. Some observers at the time said the judging, as well as the location, was 'down under'.
In 1981, Arnold switched back to being a promoter with Jim Lorimer and the contest was again held in Columbus. Not to be outdone by his famous friend, Franco Columbu staged a comeback himself and won the 1981 title in a tight contest of 16 contestants.
In 1982, London, England, hosted the show for the first time. Chris Dickerson won the title after finishing second the two previous year. After winning, Dickerson announced his retirement while onstage.
The contest returned to Germany in 1983, but this time to Munich, where it was won by the Lion of Lebanon, Samir Bannout. He fought off tough challenges from Mohammed Makkaway from Egypt and newcomer Lee Haney from the USA. Samir had what it took to be a dominant champion, but no one foresaw the determination of Haney.
In 1984, the even moved back to New York City's Felt Forum, where it has the highest attendance for the finals (5,000), the highest attendance for prejudging (4,000) and the largest amount of total prize money ($100,000) for any Olympia up to that time. It also featured the largest Mr. Olympia winner, Lee Haney. Haney won weighing 247 pounds at a height of 5'11". He was big, he was massive and he was cut. Also, he was unbeatable.
In 1985, the show was held in Belgium for the first time. Haney was dominant again, fishing off the challenges of Albert Beckles and Rich Gaspari. It was now two and counting for Lee. Many people feel that the Lee Haney onstage in 1986 rendition in Columbus may have been the greatest Mr. Olympia ever. Lee took his third straight crown and began setting his sights on Arnold's record.
In 1987, the Mr. Olympia contest moved to Sweden, but the first place result was the same. Haney was head and shoulders above all the others. He had now won four in a row and Arnold's record was definitely within his reach.
In 1988, Los Angeles was the host city of the Olympia. The Universal Amphitheater was jammed by 6,000 people who came to see if Lee Haney could continue in his quest of becoming the greatest Mr. Olympia ever. With prize money at its highest level, $150,000, Haney again won easily, making it five straight times. For the third year in a row, Rich Gaspari placed second.
The next year brought the Mr. Olympia to Rimini, Italy, on the beautiful Adriatic coast. This would prove to be Haney's toughest defense as he has to fight of the challenges of Lee Labrada and Vince Taylor. For the first time, people doubted Haney's dominance and many people said that he was lucky to win, But win he did, and in doing so he tied Arnold's record of six consecutive Mr. Olympia victories.
In 1990, 4,400 people packed Chicago's Arie Crown Theater. Prize money hit $200,000 for the first time as Haney tried to make in seven in a row. If 1989 was tough for Haney, 1990 was the year he almost lost. After two rounds, he was behind by two points, but he rallied in the posing round and posedown to best Lee Labrada and Shawn Ray. Haney now had seven consecutive Mr. Olympia titles.
Orlando, Florida, was the site of the 1991 Mr. Olympia. Haney was going for eight in a row, but for the first time he was up against a man who was the same height (5'11") and weight (245 pounds) in Dorian Yates, the Beast from Britain. Four points separated them after two rounds, but Haney pulled away in rounds three and four to seize his eighth championship in a row.
In 1992, the Mr. Olympia contest moved to Helsinki, Finland. A new Mr. Olympia would be crowned that year because Lee Haney had decided to retire after a record setting eight consecutive victories. The contest was close after the first round between U.S. National champion of 1991, Kevin Levrone, and the 1991 Mr. Olympia runner up, Dorian Yates. But after the first round, Yates started pulling away and won in convincing fashion.
A new Mr. Olympia was crowned, but did a new era begin? Nothing could stop the amazing Yates in 1993 as he rocketed the scales at a record 257 pounds in Atlanta. Even runner-up Flex Wheeler called him "untouchable". Yates certainly seemed set for a long reign in the manner of other great Mr. Olympias.
However, the Brit endured a horrendous year in 1994. In early March, he severely damaged his left rotator cuff, and then later on the month, he tore his left quad. He battled his way through, but with the Olympia less then nine weeks away, he tore his left biceps. Displaying true blood and guys, even that injury could not end Yate's Olympia dream. He duly arrived in Atlanta to take his third Sandow statuette, but questions were raised as to what was previously thought to be his invincibility.
If doubts were raised about Yate's reign he didn't hear, or head, them. He returned to Atlanta in 1995 to score a straight firsts victory in what many rate his best ever form. Kevin Levrone hulked into second place a new threat emerged in his spot in the 270 pound shape of Nasser El Sonbaty. Not that Yates was the only Mr. O onstage that night, as in a unique ceremony, for the first time ever, all nine men who have so far won the Olympia crown assembled onstage to pay homage to the contest's creator, Joe Weider.
In 1996, after a three year tenure, the Olympia left Atlanta and moved to Chicago. In the Windy City, Yates, more streamlined that we've ever seen him, cruised to victory, closely followed by Shawn Ray and Kevin Levrone. It was the Brit's fifth victory, and, as in 1994, doubts about his invincibility began to surface.
In 1997, the Mr. Olympia road show arrived in Long Beach to celebrate the 33rd rendition of bodybuilding's ultimate contest. Total prize money was $285,000, first place was worth $110,000, and the bodybuilders are recognized as professional athletes in the truest sense of the world. Dorian Yates was now going for six Olympia titles in a row. Could he make it six in a row? Would he make a run at Haney's record of eight in a row? It was a hard fought contest. Nasser El Sonbaty came in at his best condition to date and opushed Dorian hard, but in the end, once again, in a very close race, Dorian succeeded for the sixth time as Mr. Olympia. Some felt that Nasser was better, and had been cheated out of a victory! With Dorian announcing moments after winning the contest that he would be back to get a seventh title in 1998, it set up an interesting confrontation. What most people did not know is that Dorian had suffered a torn triceps a few months before the show, and had said nothing about it and competed.
1998 now arrived, and Dorian had decided, after he had surgery to repaid the torn tricep, that, due to lingering injuries, not to compete in this year's Mr. Olympia in New York and to retire. With the great Yates done, that meant a new Mr. Olympia would be crowned in New York on October 10, 1998. This would be one exciting show, with a guaranteed new winner! The Mr. Olympia contest, which only Joe Weider had the imagination to create, is now firmly established as bodybuilding's show of shows. From intense competition, Ronnie Coleman came from out of nowhere for a dramatic win. With Flex Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman competing for the top prize, a new king was elected. Ronnie Coleman, with his massive back and freaky posture, became the latest Mr. Olympia. His fellow competitors sportingly congratulated the cop from Texas on his narrow victory, but privately the knew they had blown an opportunity to go down in history. Afterward, debate raged whether Coleman's victory was a one time affair, or the beginning of a new Mr. O dynasty. Not since Samir Bannout in 1983 had there been a one year Mr. Olympia. Haney has won eight in a row, Yates six. Would Coleman flash and fizzle or solidify his grip on power?
The answer came in Las Vegas, at the ornate Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas strip on October 23, 1999. The venue itself was completely sold out! There, 17 warriors took the stage, with Coleman and Flex Wheeler locked in a close battle. Wheeler had done his homework, but the reigning Mr. Olympia would leave no doubters this night. Chris Cormier placed 3rd, with his best physique ever at this show, and when Ronnie was called the winner, Flex turned his back on the judges, and lifted his finger saying he was #1. But Ronnie proved to the world that he is the Mr. Olympia king! Ronnie Coleman was even bigger than he had been the previous year, and his sparling condition held throughout. He won his second consecutive title.
On October 21, 2000, Coleman took another step toward placing his name among the greatest of them all by winning his 3rd consecutive Mr. Olympia. Challenges came from Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone, but incredibly, Ronnie was even bigger then he was in the past Mr. Olympia. Ronnie was untouchable.
On October 27, 2001, Jay Cutler came from out of nowhere to capture the first two rounds of the Mr. Olympia, and gave Ronnie Coleman one of his biggest scares of his life, and one of the most exciting Olympia's ever! During the evening show, Ronnie Coleman won both rounds, and beat Jay Cutler by an extremely close score, by six points. With some fans swearing that Jay should of won the show, and a press conference two days before that was one of the most exciting in year, it was an incredible year.
Next year, 2001, at the Mandalay Bay, Coleman will once again try to perpetuate the trend of the dominate champ in Mr. Olympia lore. His name has already been added to the roster of multiple winners, but there will be plenty of top beef fixing to put a stop to Ronnie's reign, including Jay Cutler, Chris Cormier, Kevin Levrone, and Dennis James. And that's what makes this contest so special: the hunger of the athletes, the unpredictability of the action, the unsentimentally of fate. It has been this way for 37 years, and it will be this way for 37 more.
For the first time in nearly a decade, we head into the Mr. Olympia with a new defending champion. Jay Cutler overcame the odds in defeating the already legendary Ronnie Coleman, who returns for another attempt at record breaking number nine. This year, he’ll have to fight off not only a rejuvenated Ronnie Coleman, but a very hungry Victor Martinez, finally realizing his true potential as a premier bodybuilder. Ronnie, Victor, Gustavo Badell, and Melvin Anthony, all of whom know that the first title defense will surely be the hardest, will bring their best game to overthrow Jay’s hopes of starting his own dynasty. And our fit and fabulous ladies have their own battles ahead of them. Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle, Fitness Olympia Champion Adela Garcia, and Figure Olympia Champion Jenny Lynn will all return to defend their titles.
2007, As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” This past weekend, the reigning Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler raised the Sandow in victory for the second time in a row. Displaying over 275 pounds of striated muscle mass, Las Vegas resident Jay Cutler did what only a few other men have been able to do – earn back-to-back Mr. Olympia titles.
From his first steps on stage, it was obvious that the returning champ had come for one thing – to prove once again why he’s the world’s best bodybuilder. Having added even more size to his signature delts, world-class chest and the sport’s best rear-lat spread, the competition never stood a chance. Although standing among what is being coined as the most difficult lineup in the history of the contest, Jay dominated every call-out and every posedown with his most imposing package ever. He then secured his victory with a posing routine that was both poetic and powerful. And when the smoke cleared from the battle, Jay was again the last man standing atop Mount Olympus
Close behind Jay Cutler were two men just as hungry for Olympia glory – Victor Martinez, Dexter Jackson and Melvin Anthony. With finishes near the top in the past, these competitors were favored threats for top honors, and were ready to shock the world. Victor was arguably placed 2nd with flawless conditioning, Dexter Jackson assembled his most formidable package ever. Having added pounds of new thickness to his back, Dexter’s rear-lat spread and back-double bicep poses were met with a gasp from the audience. Along with his signature side chest, Dexter couldn’t be denied his third-place finish. With his signature shredded conditioning and pleasing aesthetic lines, Dexter Jackson proved yet again why he’s called “The Blade.” Finishing just out of the top five was Melvin Anthony. His thick upper body and high-lats looked all the more imposing on his waspy waist. Along with an equally impressive posing routine, “The Marvelous One” muscled his way into sixth place.
This Olympia also marked an end of a champions' career, Ronnie Coleman. 8 time Mr. O was place 4th to a standing ovation, made his final competitive appearance on the stage.
After last year's Mr. Olympia showdown which saw then one-time champion Jay Cutler win a close decision over Victor Martinez, feeling within bodybuilding circles was fairly unanimous: Jay was far from his best and Victor, complete from top to bottom and with his best-ever conditioning, should have been victorious.
Against all the odds, Dexter Jackson defeated reigning 2x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler to win the first Olympia title of his career. The 3x Arnold Classic Champ showed up in his usual sliced and diced condition and he forced the judges to make the tough decision to dethrone the charismatic incumbent. In a rare show of emotions, tears visibly flowed from Jackson's eyes as M.C. Bob Cicherillo made the final announcement. With tremendous humility and respect, Dexter thanked the fans, his girlfriend, and his trainer of many years, Joe McNeil. Welcome to a new era in professional bodybuilding.
In a scene reminiscent of Flex Wheeler congratulating a newly crowned Ronnie Coleman, Cutler contained his emotions while congratulating an exuberant Jackson. While Jay brought a much tighter package to the stage this time around, the overall flow and shape of his physique looked disturbingly "out of whack". Whether Cutler was dealing with nagging injuries or perhaps it's just the fact that his body is no longer responding the way it did when he was in his 20's remains to be seen. What's s certain is that this is no longer the Jay who won 3 Arnold Classics and who drove Ronnie Coleman to the brink of defeat in 2001.