10 Top 1980s Bodybuilders – Then and Now
#1 – Tom Platz Then and Now
Tom Platz, also known as the Golden Eagle. Tom was known for having the biggest quads on the planet. He was the first bodybuilder to take leg day to a whole new level.
Between 1979 and 1986, Tom Platz competed in seven Mr. Olympia competitions. His best placing was third in 1981.
Tom remains a huge proponent of the sport. At the age of 61, he is still one of the top guest speakers in the bodybuilding world. “I just want to give back to the sport I love which has been really great to me.”
#2 – Lee Haney Then and Now
Lee Haney is an eight-time Mr. Olympia winner, tied with Ronnie Coleman for the most titles. After his exit from bodybuilding, Haney was named chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports by then President Bill Clinton.
A practicing Christian, Lee Haney operates a TV series on the Trinity Broadcast Network called TotaLee Fit with Lee Haney. On the program, he promotes both physical and spiritual strength.
#3 – Chris Dickerson Then and Now
Born in 1939, bodybuilder Chris Dickerson won his only IFBB Mr. Olympia title in 1982 at the age of 43. In addition to his bodybuilding career, Chris was an accomplished opera singer.
His competitive career spanned about 30 years in total, and 60 competitions. Chris Dickerson retired from the sport in 1995.
Perhaps the first openly gay bodybuilder, Chris came out during the 70s. He know lives in Florida where he conducts seminars and works with athletes.
#4 – Samir Bannout Then and Now
Samir Bannout, also known as the Lion of Lebanon, won his only Mr. Olympia title in 1983. Before retiring from bodybuilding in 1996, Samir Bannout managed to compete a total of 58 times.
He was one of the first bodybuilders to be open about his use of anabolic steroids. “I have to be quite truthful with you, I have used anabolics, I’m not going to have to deny it, because all the other Mr Olympia contenders, I feel that they are using it, and I only use it to reverse catabolic effect.”
Previously married to Lee Labrada’s sister, Samir Bannout now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Randa.
#5 – Franco Columbu Then and Now
Born in 1941, Franco Columbu was a Strongman competitor and bodybuilder who won two Mr. Olympia titles: in 1976 and 1981. At a powerful 5’4″, Franco was able to deadlift 750 pounds, bench press 525 pounds, and squat 655 pounds.
Franco Columbu was also an amateur boxer, and like his good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger, a movie star. He starred in 21 feature films while also competing in 16 bodybuilding competitions. Franco was also a powerlifting champion in Italy, Germany, and Europe.
Franco Columbu is a qualified chiropractor living in Los Angeles.
#6 – Lee Labrada Then and Now
Born in Cuba in 1960, Lee Labrada holds 22 bodybuilding titles.Though he never won the Mr. Olympia, Lee placed in the top four a total of seven times. He last competed in 1995.
During this year, he formed Labrada Nutrition. This company became one of the fastest growing in the industry, earing Inc. 500 status after only six years.
Lee Labrada holds a degree in civil engineering, and currently lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and three sons.
#7 – Vince Taylor Then and Now
Vince Taylor is an American bodybuilder born in 1956. During his career, Vince won 22 total titles. This was a world record until broken by Ronnie Coleman, who surpassed the record with a 26 win total.
He also holds the record with five masters Olympia titles, capturing victories in 1996, 1997, and 1999-2001. Vince Taylor officially retired from bodybuilding in 2007 at the age of 51.
Vince currently lives in Florida. He maintains a substantial following on social media.
#8 – Rich Gaspari Then and Now
An IFBB hall of famer, bodybuilder Rich Gaspari placed second in the Mr. Olympia three times: in 1986, 1987, and 1988. During each of these years Rich was taken down by the legendary Mr. Olympia Lee Haney.
Known as the dragon slayer, Rich Gaspari formed his own supplement line in 2001. Gaspari Nutrition is still around today.
He currently lives in New Jersey. The production facilities for Gaspari Nutrition remain one of the largest in the industry, totaling more than 500,000 sq. ft.
#9 – Mike Christian Then and Now
Mike Christian is a former IFBB professional bodybuilder. Now 62 years old, Mike currently resides in Winter, Texas.
At the age of 19 Mike enterered his first competition, the Mr. Portland. In 1984 he won the World Amateur Championships, propelling him to a career at the professional level.
During five years in the IFBB, Mike entered 22 contests and took home five titles. He now runs a successful clothing business.
#10 – Bob Paris Then and Now
Bob Paris is a former professional bodybuilder who competed in five IFBB Mr Olympia contests. He retired from the sport in 1991.
In a 1989 issue of Ironman announced that he was gay. Bod Paris was the first professional athlete of any kind to come out why still being active in his sport. Paris states that after this time, he lost 80% of his endorsements and bookies, and that he also received threats on his life via phone and mail.
Bob Paris eventually became a vocal supporter for gay rights and gay marriage.
In 2012, Bob admitted on his website that he never had an interest in lifelong bodybuilding. Today he is still very physically active, and in the best shape of his life.
“It’s this diversity of interests that eventually led me away from a strict focus on hard-core weight training as a central part of my life. Don’t misread that, though. I’m the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been; and certainly the happiest and most authentic. I love my intense yoga practice, my cycling, my hikes and trail runs – and yes, my regular, moderate resistance training.”