In Part I, we proposed a hypothetical world in-which bodybuilding had no stigma attached, and reached a level of popularity rivaling that of Baseball. Part II we continue our ‘TOPPS – IFBB Series’
Jon Pall Sigmarsson
He was the Muhammad Ali of his native country—Iceland. No, he wasn’t a gifted a pugilist, but he was a charismatic sports star, celebrity and modern day Viking that would become symbolic of the country’s warrior past. He is remembered as not only one of the greatest strongmen of all time (certainly the most athletic), but also as a champion powerlifter and tremendous bodybuilder in his own right. Some of his feats of strength include an 881 pound deadlift (without straps), 808 pound squat and 551 pound bench press; all lifts recorded were raw. As a strongman he seemed untouchable, demolishing his competition with the determination of a heathen plundering an English monastery in the 9th century. Even more incredible than his feats of strength, was the rippling lean physique he possessed. He competed in bodybuilding, the very same year he won another World’s Strongest Man title. His caloric would reach 12,000 simply for body maintenance. He was often quoted as saying ‘There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift’. These words proved to be haunting as he died in his on a January morning at the age of 32, after performing a grueling set of deadlifts, he suffered massive cardiac arrest, earning him a spot in the Iron Valhalla
At any serious gym in the country (void of instgram warriors and others from Generation Nothingness) the mention of Tom Platz always garners the moniker ‘Hardcore’, in fact he was known as ‘Mr. Hardcore’. His quadriceps and hamstring development was unparalleled for its day, and even today hardly rivaled. This is remarkable, because Tom Platz started his career with relatively small legs. He moved to Venice California with $50 and a dream to become the Mr. Olympia, never accomplishing this dream he did however place 3rd at the 1981 contest. His training was gut-wrenching, few in the world could hang through a Tom Platz leg workout. He was reported to do squats with 225 pounds for minutes at a time and once completed a set of 350 pounds for 52 reps. The latest in weight-lifting research points to anecdotal evidence of high-rep work not only producing hypertrophy but hyperplasia as well. This must have partially led to Tom Plaz’s behemoth legs.
Sally McNeil was a former marine sergeant and a competitive bodybuilder. She had somewhat of a temper and was prone to be a tad jealous in matters dealing with her husband Ray. The writing was on the wall in regards to her temperament for some time. She had previously beaten another female to a savage pulp after she discovered the two were engaged in an extra-marital affair. Like some female bodybuilder’s, she engaged in wrestling male ‘fans’ for cash-money and became the primary bread winner for the family. On a fateful Valentine’s Day in 1995 she racked a 12 gauge and blasted Ray in his abdomen, leaving him in agony, but not yet dead. She reloaded, racked the gun and blasted him in the cranium, putting an end to his life on the lover’s holiday.
Even if Craig Titus hadn’t murdered Melissa James with his wife Kelly in a tweaked out last-stand, his legacy would have still been secure in the Hardcore Hall of Fame. He was known as a confrontational, party-going lunatic, although many noted he had a friendly demeanor at times as well. He was known to throw drug parties, sex parties and the gamete of everything in between. He faced his first criminal charge in 1995 with the possession and intention to distribute ecstasy. He failed to achieve his house arrest sentencing of 16 months when he tested positive for anabolic steroids which was in violation of his conditions. The person who administered the test noted it was the ‘highest concentrations of anabolic steroids’ that he had ever seen anyone register. Interestingly enough, Craig Titus in his defense chalked it up to a ‘deep tissue massage’ that released the anabolic, flooding his bloodstream. He possessed a formidable physique, yet never quite managed to take home a coveted first place in the professional ranks. Of course he will be remembered in infamy for the methamphetamine fueled murder of Melissa James, burning her body and vehicle in the Nevada desert.
Lee Priest is included on the list for 2 enduring reasons. 1) He was one of the few with the courage and audacity to step up to the IFBB overlords 2) He has a face tattoo. It is hard to think of any bigger way to say ‘fuck you!’ to the normal bastions of society than getting a Mike Tyson stylized tribal tattoo on your face.