This is a continuation of a series of articles on Larry Scott based on a seminar that Larry did back in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pa. It was my pleasure to be in attendance and meet the great one.
Scott reflected on the creation of the Mr. Olympia. It was a Sunday afternoon, September, 1964. Larry had just won the coveted IFBB Mr. Universe title and was about to have a celebratory dinner with Joe Weider.
“Larry, why are you so despondent? You just won Mr. Universe yesterday. You are the greatest bodybuilder on earth. You should be jumping up and down. Instead, you look like you lost your best friend.”
“Am I really the greatest Joe? Yes I did win the IFBB Mr. Universe. But as you well know there are three other Mr. Universe contests. One was held this summer and was won by El Guindi, the FIHC Amateur Mr. Universe. Then there is the NABBA Mr. Universe contests being held next week in London. They will have a amateur and professional divisions. So along with me that makes four people claiming to be Mr. Universe for 1964. Who is the real Mr. Universe?”
“But Larry. BASED purely on physical development, there is no doubt that you are the best in the world.”
“That is how you feel. But how about the rest of the world? Some already recognize the NABBA as being a more important title because of longevity. And another thing Joe, so far we are talking just 1964. How about the past winners? Just go back 5 years and we have 20 people who have won Mr. Universe. Who is the best.”
“One other thing Joe, now that I have won the IFBB Mr. Universe, I feel like Alexander The Great with no new worlds to conquer. What do I do now Joe? I am too young to retire.”
“Well Larry, there are other contests. The IFBB has the Mr. World which you haven’t won yet and Eddie Silvestre, the first IFBB Mr. Universe is creating a new contest called Mr. International. You would be eligible for that. And interesting you mentioned NABBA, you could also compete in that. If you want to go, the IFBB will sponsor you.”
As Larry explains,
“No Joe. I already beat several Mr. World and NABBA champions yesterday in the IFBB Mr. Universe. Those other titles don’t excite me. Although the NABBA is a very respected organization, I feel as though the competiton in the IFBB is the best in the world. Better than NABBA. And I can’t get excited about winning another Mr. Universe title. We need a contest where all of the top champions could compete against each other. “
“Let’s create a contest where all of the top title winners, all of the Mr. Universe winners, present and past compete for a grand title.”
“Sounds a little like the old Mr. Usa contests where Ross, Reeves, Grimek, Eiferman, Stevens, Tanny, Pearl, Dubois, Lewis all former Mr. America and a few Mr. Universe winners competed against each other. “
“Yeah Joe. When I first started training, my goal was to win three titles, Mr. America, Mr. Universe and Mr. USA. And I wanted to compete year after year in the Mr. Usa. So once I won, I could defend that title against all comers.”
“OF course back then I was thinking AAU Mr. America and NABBA Mr. Universe. That was before the huge growth of the IFBB. So now I have won Mr. America and Mr. Universe. Now what.”
Larry told us that Joe Weider was moving rapidly in his seat. And talking fast. He loved this idea. One problem though.
What do we call it?
And that is exactly what Joe Weider asked Scott.
Joe went on….
“Perhaps we can rebrand the Mr. World contest and that could be the new super contest to pick the all time greatest bodybuilder.” Joe said.
“No, we would just be using a title that already exists and other federations also use that title.”
“What should we call it?” Asked Joe.
Larry said he just shrugged his shoulders then came up with an idea.
“Last year I made a movie called Muscle Beach Party. Pete Lupas played a character called “Mr. Galaxy” Maybe we could call it “Mr. Galaxy”
“Joe and I both laughed and I told Joe I was only joking.”
“In 1950, I promoted a contest and called it “America’s Best Developed Athlete.”
“Not bad.” Larry said. Still not too exciting.
Joe Weider had a bottle of beer. He took a sip and then in deep though stared at the bottle of beer. So did Larry Scott. And they both entered that AHA moment.
The beer that Joe Weider was drinking was Olympia beer from Olympia, Washington.
“At that moment, Joe and I knew we had the right title. “MR. OLYMPIA” It had a nice ring to it. “
“Here is what I am going to do Larry. When I go back to the Weider offices tomorrow in Union City, NJ (Monday) I am going to get my editorial staff to draft up two articles. One will be called, “Will the real Mr. Universe please stand up” We will address all the Mr. Universe contests. The second article will be to announce this new contest and we are going to let the bodybuilding fans pick the title. We will tell them that we have some titles in mind like “Greatest of the Great” “Mr. Olympia” etc. and let t hem decide. GET some interaction.”
I told Joe I liked it and was feeling really good. Joe noticed.
“My God Larry. You are smiling. Now that is the Larry Scott I know. A short time ago, I thought you were going to a funeral.”
“Yes I was excited.” Said Scott. “Now I had a new title to shoot for and perhaps in particular, I wanted to compete against Harold Poole. He handed me my only loss in the IFBB. I had no sour grapes, He deserved to win. I just wanted to compete against him again. And others.”
“From 1963 to 1964, I trained like a madman. Losing to Poole in 1963 was a wakeup call to me. I had become complacent. So I decided to redeem myself in 1964 and I did. People were astounded by the progress that I had made. Now I had new worlds to conquer. A chance to compete against Poole and other Mr. Universe winners. I couldn’t wait to get back to California, Vinces Gym and start training for Mr. Olympia in 1965. And make even more progress.”
“Joe kept in touch with me regularly form Sept 1964 throughout 1965. By May of 1965, it looked like we would have 5 contestants in the Mr. Olympia. Aside from myself, there was Harold Poole, Earl Maynard, the 1964 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe. Also word was that Chuck Sipes, who was undefeated, a fmr Mr. America and Mr. Universe would be competing and also Reg Lewis was rumored to be in hard training. I knew Lewis and saw him here in southern California.”
And there were other possibilities. Dave Draper was slimming himself down and was training for the IFBB Mr America. I felt he could win easily and then be eligible to compete in the Mr. Olympia. The way he was looking, he would be a very formidable opponent.”
“In June of 1965, I attended the AAU Mr. America that was held in LA. All eyes were on Sergio Oliva. We all had heard so much about him. Many were already saying that he was already greater than Pearl. Park, Poole and myself. I had to see him in person and he was incredible. With fair judging, he would have won easily. Oliva was just about the only person worth seeing in this contest.”
Sergio Oliva as he looked back in 1965. Many already thought he was the best in the world.
“In the audience at that show was my friend and early hero, Mr. America and 1962 IFBB Mr. Universe George Eiferman. He looked incredible. Thick pecs rippling through his silk shirt. Huge arms with waterhose veins popping out. Trim waist. His face looked lean. He looked in great shape.”
“So after formalities, I asked George why he was training so hard. Are you getting ready to compete in the Olympia? Those who do not know George will not understand this, others who have met George will. George shrugged his shoulders, shook his head no and said maybe all at the same time! What a guy. Keep me in suspence. The way he looked, he would be a very formidable opponent for sure.
George Eiferman, AAU Mr. America. IFBB Mr. Universe.
“Joe Weider came to California shortly after. He came to Vinces for a workout and we chatted. I told him about Oliva and said he looks incredible. I advised Joe to get him out of the AAU and into the IFBB. I knew Oliva would never get anywhere in the AAU. And such was the case.”
“Larry, if he is as great as you say, aren’t you afraid to compete against him? He may beat you if he comes over to the IFBB.”
LARRY TELLS WEIDER:
“Joe, If I am fortunate enough to win the Olympia, I want to compete against the very best. Even if I lose, it is no disgrace to lose to a better man. In fact, I would rather lose to a better man, than win and have people say, “Oh yeah, Scott won. But he is not as good as Oliva.”
Joe smiled. He liked that.
“Joe then told me he was already on Oliva and had his midwest rep get in touch with Sergio. They had a article in prepared in the July issue of Muscle Builder on Oliva and Sergio was seriously considering crossing over to the IFBB.”
Then Joe hit me with another bombshell.
“There is another possible threat to you Larry.”
“Who or what is that?” Larry asks
“What?” Scott reacted.
Then Larry went on.
“I never make fun of anyone, Ortiz was well known for lacking continuity and proportion. I like Freddy and I knew from seeing him at the show in NY, he always brings the house down. Absolutely unbelievable upper body. His legs were a glaring weakness. So I asked Joe.”
“We judging half a body now Joe?”
“Ortiz knows his weaknesses. He has become very serious and is training very hard for the coming IFBB show in NY. He will enter the America and if he wins that, he will be eligible to compete in the Olympia.”
“I know what you are thinking Larry, His legs right?”
Larry said he nodded.
“I have the new issue of Muscle Builder with me. There is a new routine for Freddy Ortiz in here.” Joe told me
“What is it, arms, back??”
“No Larry. It is his leg routine.”
“Leg routine?” I laughed.
“Then Joe showed me the magazine. When I saw the pictures, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Ortiz legs had improved. Still well below his upper body, but amazing progress. Since this was June, I figured this magazine went to press in April and the pictures were shot in March. I was right. So I asked Joe, How does Ortiz look now?”
“Even better.” Joe said with a smile.
“So immediately I thought, forget Oliva, Ortiz with legs would be like beating King King. He has even better lines than Oliva. Now I was really getting excited.”
Larry with Freddy Ortiz
About a week or two later, I was invited to guest pose at Reg Parks shows in South Africa. Reg was guest posing also. Even though he was nearly 40 years old, he looked absolutely incredible. And he was training like a 20 year old on purpose.”
“So I asked Reg, Are you training for anything special like the Mr. Olympia?”
“Reg’s response floored me.
‘Larry, I am a year round bodybuilder. I am not in shape just one day a year. Plus I am also guest posing at these shows. The fans pay good money to come to these events, I owe it to them to be in my best possible shape.”
Then Reg went on….
“Larry, you want to compete against me? I thought you wanted to win.”
“I do want to win.” Scott responded
“You think you can beat me?” Reg asked.
“All I know is the Mr. Olympia was designed to pick the greatest bodybuilder ever. I can’t imagine any contest making that claim without the great Reg Park in it. And besides Reg, losing to you, if that happens, would not be a disgrace. It would be an honor just to compete against you.”
Reg liked my answer, but still insisted he was training just to guest pose at his own shows and is always in 80% top shape, all year round.
I came back down to reality, and figured that Harold Poole would be my primary competition. I was also expecting a challenge from Earl Maynard. He beat Serge Nubret to win the NABBA Pro Mr. Universe.
“From 1964 to spring 1965, I trained 4 days a week, Mon-Thurs I trained Thighs, chest and back and on Tues-Friday I trained delts, arms and calves. I worked abs all four days and would do a mini workout on Off days.”
“For example, on Tuesdays and Fridays, I would, If I felt necessary, do a lighter chest and back workout doing maybe 2 sets of say incline db flyes and seated rowing. This was just to get a pump.”
“On Mondays and Thursdays, I might do some light delt and arms work doing perhaps 2 sets of side laterals, delt presses, preacher curls or concentration curls. I loved working calves and would work them 4 times per week. “
“I paid particular attention to weak areas. Since I was competing against Poole, for the first time, Vince advised me to work traps with close grip upright rows and DB shrugs. He paid close attention to be sure my traps didn’t get too big.”
“During this period between 1964 and 1965, I also really hit my back hard. I knew this was one of Poole’s strong points. My back was good, but I wanted to make it even better. And if Eiferman, Oliva, Ortiz, Draper and Park competed, I would really need a great back.”
“In May, I started training 6 days per week, working each bodypart twice per week, chest and back, Mon -Thurs, Shoulders and Arms, Tuesday and Thursday, Legs on Wednesday and Saturdays. I started doing more exercises per bodypart. Previously, I was doing 2-3 at the most. Now I was up to 4 exercises per bodypart.”
“It was at this time when I really loaded up on Blairs Protein and other products. I was consuming over 300 grams of protein per day via the protein powder and amino acid capsules. Plus dessicated liver.”
“I was invited to guest pose at the 1965 AAU Mr. California contest. My weight at this time was 235 lbs. My heaviest ever. Vince said I was fat. That meant I was too bulky and he was right. “
Larry Scott guest posing at the 1965 AAU Mr. California weighing 235 lbs. Look at that arm and forearm!!!!!!
“So Vince advised me to start training down. He told me I would have no chance of winning the Olympia looking like a stuffed pig as he put it. Interesting enough, even though I was at my heaviest weight ever, my waist was still small, around 30 inches. But I was smooth.”
“Vince put me on a high protein, low carb diet. I also followed advice from Rheo H. Blair. Started taking choline and inositol. Vince also had me train faster, taking short rests between sets, as little as 30 seconds, super setting a lot of exercises and even doing tri sets.”
“To get muscular fast, Vince had me train certain bodyparts like the chest, thighs, back and arms every day for awhile. It was gruelling. I felt like I had overtrained. But on Olympia night, I was cut and ready.