By Flex Staff
The bodybuilding world is mourning the loss of Larry Scott, the first-ever winner of the Mr. Olympia competition, who held the prestegious titles in 1965 and 1966. Larry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 and passed away from complations at the age of 75 years old, on March 8, 2014.
But let’s remember this legend, born on October 12, 1938 in Idaho, for his incedible accomplishments and the bar of excellence that he set for the bodybuilding world. What better way to honor his memory, than to begin his tale in the words of Joe Weider.
“I’m reminded of the one that started it all, way back in 1965. Until that time, it was difficult for any bodybuilder to make the claim that he was the best in his sport. We held the Mr. America, the Mr.World and the Mr. Universe contests, with the winner of each making an assertion for his own superiority, but it was never an open-and-shut case.
Thus was the situation in 1964. Larry Scott was the reigning Mr. Universe and was proclaimed by many to be the top bodybuilder in the world. Harold Poole had won the Mr. America contest earlier that year, and he had his own sizable legion of supporters. Within the sport, debates raged as to which of these great champions was truly the king of the hill.
Then one day Larry and I were eating at the Matador restaurant, and he was looking somewhat melancholy. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied that he felt like his bodybuilding career was already over. He had won the Mr. America and the Mr. Universe titles and, the way he saw it, there were no more competitive mountains left to climb.
Right then and there, I realized what I had to do. It was time not only to resolve an age-old dispute, but also to give champions like Larry Scott a chance to reach for a single ultimate honor in our sport.
But what to call this new contest? I wanted it to have a name as majestic as the men who would compete in it. Many great names had already been taken. As luck would have it, inspiration came from the unlikeliest of places. In addition to our dinner, Larry and I were enjoying a beer. The name of the beer? Olympia. And so was born bodybuilding’s ultimate contest. (As Peter McGough once reminded me, if we had been drinking Pike Pale Ale, Larry would have been the first Mr. Pike Pale Ale.)” – Joe Weider
The story continues in the words of Dick Tyler, “At that first Mr. Olympia, Joe Weider was the biggest fan. He wanted to sit out there and be with the audience to feel what it was like. We had to weave our way through the throng; people were sitting in the aisles. In the second balcony, people had noisemakers and clackers, and guys were posing against each other with their shirts off.
It was a very, very dramatic moment. It was probably the pinnacle of any show that I’ve ever seen. We’re sitting there in the audience, Joe and I, and the place is going wild. Everybody was waiting for Larry Scott, and Larry was the last one to be called. [Harold Poole and Earl Maynard went on before him.] Emcee Bud Parker goes up to the microphone, “. . . and now from Studio C . . .” He didn’t get any further than “Studio C” when the place erupted. The people started surging toward the stage! I’ve never seen anything like it.
It was bedlam. The screaming seemed like it went on for three, four or five minutes, but there was nothing onstage. Nothing! Joe then started hitting me. “Oh, my gawd ; oh, my gawd!” I said, “Yes, Joe, I know.” “My gawd, this is going to be fabulous!” “But Joe, he’s not even there!” “I know, Dick. Isn’t he fabulous?”
Finally, you see way in the background, in the shadows, just a little movement. Oh, Scott milked it. People were saying, “Go on! They’re waiting!” No, no, no . . . he was waiting. Finally, he starts to move one step at a time, very, very slowly.
You see this figure getting closer and closer. Then he stands up there in the light and looks around — as I remember, he was chewing gum. He hasn’t even posed yet and was perfectly relaxed. Scott started to smile and nod, as if he was the pope! Like it was some Easter service, he lifted his arm and slowly moved it from one side to the other in sort of a blessing gesture. The crowd went wild! Then he went through his posing routine, and it was unbelievable.
That was one of the greatest nights in bodybuilding history.” – Dick Tyler
Rest is peace, Larry Scott, your legend lives on. – FLEX
Larry Scott’s Legendary Stats
Nickname: The Legend
Born: October 12, 1938 (age 75) in Blackfoot, Idaho, U.S.
Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Pro-debut: 1959 Mr. Idaho, 1959
Best win: IFBB Mr. Olympia 1965-1966, two consecutive times,
Successor Sergio: Oliva
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