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Fact Oids – Mike Mentzer

Joe Roark

Featuring 2002 Hall of Fame inductee

MIKE MENTZER

BIRTHPLACE OF GREATNESS

Germantown, Pennsylvania, is the birthplace of one of the greatest bodybuilders the sport has seen, as well as one of its most prolific and controversial writers. Mr. Heavy Duty, Mike Mentzer, was born there on November 15,1951.

HEAVY-DUTY XMAS

Santa’s supersetting deliveries included a barbell set for 11-year-old Mike, who picked up training pointers from a pair of his father’s friends.

LEARNING FROM HIS BETTERS

Remaining in state for his inaugural contests, Mike wonthe Mr. Lancaster and Mr. Pennsylvania titles in 1971, then on June 12, 1971, he placed 10th behind winner Casey Viator at the AAU Mr. America. Viator’s advice about Arthur Jones’ high-intensity training methods turned Mike’s head around and influenced the latter’s Heavy Duty approach.

PRACTICE MAKES ALMOST PERFECT

From 1971 to 1975, Mike concentrated on reshaping his body based on Jones’ training insights. When dais display time arrived in Philadelphia in January 1975, Mike’s new look was good for second place at the Mr. East Coast, third at the American Bodybuilding Championships in Los Angeles in July and second at the Mr. USA in New York in September.

IFBB CONVERSION

Like many champions before him, Mike eventually left the AAU for the more competitive IFBB. The decision paid Instant dividends, as he won the Mr. America in New York City in October 1976. One month later, he placed second In the medium class at the Amateur Mr. Universe in Montreal.

CHANNELING THE MASTER BLASTER?

Just one week after beginning work for Joe Weider’s publishing company in Woodland Hills, California, in 1977, Mike took the top spot at the Mr. North America contest.

A PERFECT FIT

If a contest title could be said to reflect Mike’s attitude, it might have been the 1978 USA vs. the World event in Los Angeles, at which Mentzer won the heavyweight class.

I TOLD YOU I WAS PERFECT

November 6, 1978, marked the first time in bodybuilding history that a perfect score of 300 was awarded. The event was the heavyweight division of the World Amateur Championships, and the impeccable ironman was Mike Mentzer.

DOUBLE IMPACT?

Entering the pro ranks on February 3,1979, Mike won the Southern Pro Cup in Miami, which was also known as the Florida Pro Invitational. Although it was but a single contest, some sources have mistakenly credited Mentzer with two wins. Any way you look at it, however, it proved to be his last bodybuilding victory.

ROBBED BY ROBBY?

Robby Robinson edged Mike for the win at the 1979 Pittsburgh Pro show and then won again at the Night Of Champions in New York City in May, with Mentzer taking third.

ZAPPED BY ZANE

Mike rebounded by taking first place in the over-200-pound class at the 1979 Mr. Olympia, but came in second overall to under-200-pound champ Frank Zane, who recorded his third straight Mr. O win.

SEDATED BY SCHWARZENEGGER

What happened at the Mr. Olympia contest in Sydney, Australia, on October 4,1980, remains the most discussed bodybuilding event in history. At the 11th hour, Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from retirement to reclaim the Mr. O crown, leaving Mike in a fourth-place tie with Boyer Coe. Many observers felt that Mike deserved second at the least and was robbed by the judges.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF RAND

Melding components of Ayn Rand, Arthur Jones and his own Heavy Duty brand of intense exercise, Mike may have been the most vocal and dogmatic bodybuilding guru ever, and his training I philosophies influenced six-time Mr. O Dorian Yates. Mentzer had both brass and brains to back up his claims; in fact, he was one of the few muscleheads who could legitimately have applied for entrance into the Mensa society.

HAVE TYPEWRITER, WILL INSPIRE

Mentzer intermittently lent his considerable editorial skills to FLEX magazine from its inception in 1983 until 1996. From 1994 to 1996, Mike penned his Heavy Duty column for Ironman magazine, then returned there in 1999 after working in the interim for Muscular Development. He also wrote for MUSCLE BUILDER beginning in 1977.

END OF THE ROAD

The heart trouble that had dogged the dogmatic Mentzer for many years finally claimed him on June 10, 2001.

CONTEST HISTORY

AAU

1971 Mr. Lancaster 1st

1971 Mr. Pennsylvania 1st

1971 Mr. America 10th

1971 Teen Mr. America 2nd

1975 Mr. East Coast 2nd

1975 American Bodybuilding Championships 3rd

1975 Mr. USA 2nd

IFBB

1976 Mr. America 1st

1976 Amateur Mr. Universe (Medium class) 2nd

1977 Mr. North America 1st

1977 Amateur Mr. Universe (heavyweight) 2nd

1978 USA vs. the World (heavyweight) 1st

1978 World Amateur Championships 1st

(heavyweight)

1979 Southern Pro Cup 1st

1979 Pittsburgh Pro 2nd

1979 Night Of Champions 3rd

1979 Mr. Olympia 2nd

1979 Canada Cup 2nd

1980 Mr. Olympia 4th (tie)

JOE ROARK, IFBB MEN’S HISTORIAN, BRINGS YOU THIS COLUMN EACH MONTH. TO REACH HIM, WRITE MUSCLESEARCH, C/O FLEX MAGAZINE, 21100 ERWIN ST., WOODLAND HILLS CA 91367.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications

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