IronMan, Vol 25, No 2, Page 8, February 1966

Park & Santiago Win Mr. Universe

By Oscar Heidenstam

THE sixteenth annual NABBA contests and show were held in London on September 25th. Actually it is our seventeenth Universe contest because our first was sponsored by the Health and Strength magazine in 1948 and was won by John Grimek who beat Steve Reeves, and from the success of this NABBA was born.

This is the Universe which has been won by such famous names as Grimek, Park, Reeves, Pearl, Delinger, Schaffer, Robert, Routledge, Abbenda and many others.

There are quite separate contests for amateurs and professionals, and I may add that even the professionals have to pay their own fares and expenses over and get nothing but three days hotel, bed and breakfast. There are no money prizes, "incentives" or commercial attractions. The competitors come again and again because they know that this is the only contest which has no commercial ties, no courses, supplements or anything to benefit us.

Reg Park, England/South Africa


  1. Reg Park
  2. George Paine
  3. Reinhard Smolana
  4. Basil Grant


  1. Paul Wynter
  2. Yves Permal
  3. Leopold Merc
  4. Nicholas Kemp

Elmo Santiago, U.S.A.


  1. Paul Nash
  2. Val Vasilieff
  3. Gordon van Sertima
  4. Geoff Whitaker


  1. Fanie du Toit
  2. Roy Perrott
  3. Albert Beckles
  4. Achilles Kallos


  1. Elmo Santiago
  2. Pierre Vandensteen
  3. John Citrone


  1. Eric Willetts
  2. John Hamill
  3. Barry Waterman


  1. Heather Innes
  2. Corinne Loveday
  3. Janet Harman

As always, the judging of the contest took place the day before in a large ballroom and the show for the public 2,000 madly enthusiastic PC fans, male and female, at one of London's West End Theatres.

The judging panel consisted of eleven British NABBA international judges and three overseas judges with three secretaries to scrutinize the papers and work out the results. They took over six hours to reach their decisions. Why so many British judges? Because we do not know enough overseas judges who will come, who have sufficient experience, and whose integrity we can be sure of. All the British judges have themselves been Universe and Britain competitors with vast PC experience and have judged many major contests. The youngest of the Universe judges, Len Sell, was 28 with two Universe titles and a Britain title notched up and twelve years PC experience. No paper "authorities" on our panel.

The overseas judges were: Jean Coryn, President of the Union Culturiste Beige, Jean Stoos, President of the Federation Francaise de Culture Physique and Sport recognized by the French Ministry of Education and Umberto Devetak, former Mr. Italy and proprietor of the magazine Sport e Salute, himself a former Universe competitor.

A judge from USA would have been more than welcome, the last to come was John Terpak. John Grimek always says "next year". I think it is time your Editor Peary Rader came, then only can he see how we run our Universe and curb any doubts about whether it is "official" or not or biased or not.

There were five height classes in all, two in the Professional contest Under 5 ft. 8 ins. and Over 5 ft. 8 ins., and three height classes in the amateur contest, Up to 5 ft. 6 ins. (Class 3), Up to 5 ft. 9 ins. (Class 2) and Over 5 ft. 9 ins. (Class 1).

There were eleven in the professional contest from ten countries and fifty-three in the amateur from 23 countries. Some fell by the wayside because of intimidation and threats from the secretary of the FIHC who considers that only they can run physique contests.

Feature of this year's contest was the really terrific entries from the far distant places. South Africa over 10,000 miles away and a very costly journey sent us five; Germany, better represented than ever before, and some really cracking athletes, five; USA four this time: Elmo Santiago, who was here before in 1961; George Paine, veteran of PC (and what a physique!); Leo Rosa, unknown but a very formidable competitor, said he retired after a few raw deals in the States but was delighted with ours; Val Vasilieff (former Mr. America AAU) the official representative of our old friends Bob Hoffman and John Grimek.

The overall entry bristled with national physique champions of many countries.

Surprise entry in the professional was Reg Park, already a former winner twice. At 38 Reg felt he wanted one last try and he certainly created a great stir. Such is the spirit of our Universe that no one resented Reg entering.

Each class is judged separately, the judges looking at them in line, first front view, side view and back view. Then each competitor poses for as long as he likes. Each judge then has to pick six or, if he wishes, seven finalists from each class and put them down on his judging form but not in order of merit. This may entail looking at small groups of competitors to compare them and making them do identical poses. Each judge is at liberty to pullout anyone he wishes for comparison with someone else. Each class taking up to two hours to judge.

The judge having chosen his finalists sends his papers to the secretaries who work out the overall majority for finalists and fill this on each paper. The papers are returned to each judge; he should find all his original choice of finalists or he may find one or two finalists selected by the majority not on his original list. He then has to put these in order or merit whether they agreed with his list or not.

These finalists are pulled out for closer comparison with some others so no inkling of result is given to the competitors until the show next day.

When each class has been judged this way, then all competitors are brought together to pick the overall Universe winner. The judges are not only looking at the two class winners in the professional and the three class winners in the amateur but have to bring everyone and even mislead competitors to find the winner from the class winners.

CLASS 2 PROFESSIONAL was a very clear majority for Paul Wynter of Antigua, a former Pro Universe winner. Paul is managing a health studio in Milan and has one of the most faultless and beautiful physiques of all time. Runner-up to Paul was Yvres Permal of Guadeloupe, a former winner of this class. A very powerfully muscled man with tremendous arms. Third was Leopold Merc of Austria who won this class last year. He told me it was his eighth Universe visit. This time he had a pupil in the amateur contest. Fourth was Nicolas Kemp, Belgium, six times a competitor in our Universe.

CLASS 1 was a 100% win for the mighty Reg Park of England/South Africa, because Reg is now a resident of South Africa. Second and in fantastic shape, he says he will come again was George Paine, USA, what a delightful and modest person. Third was Reinhard Smolona of W. Germany with a wonderful physique.


Class 3 the small men -- eighteen in all and what a wonderful overall class. In recent years over here quite a few shorter men have taken the top titles, which has given great encouragement to the shorter man who never thought it was possible. Our current Mr. Britain, Terry Parkinson is 5 ft. 5 ins. Other top men in this height class were the faultless Pierre Vandentseen of Belgium, his posing display has to be seen to be believed one of the best I have ever seen in years of PC. Pierre had won this class twice and was trying for the overall title. Elmo Santiago, 34 now but he came in 1961 and was third in this class. He vowed he would come again to win and boy did he keep that promise. He was sensational and swamped all the competitors for size and muscularity. We knew at once that here was a man who though only 5 ft. 5½ ins. must be in the running for the amateur title.

There were others in the running, John Citrone second in this class last year a 22-year-old English lad and a British Power Champion, a young Italian, the current Mr. Israel, some fabulous West Indians: what a class; current Mr. S Africa Lou Lifman and many other top men. It was Elmo all the way with 100% first places from fourteen judges, the only man in the amateur contest to do this! Second was Pierre Vandensteen of Belgium who nosed out current Mr. Britain, Terry Parkinson, fourth was John Citrone, England, fifth Wilfred Sylvester St. Lucia and sixth Lou Lifman current Mr. South Africa.

CLASS 2 UP TO 5 Fr. 9 INS.

Eighteen in all, a very open class. The overall winner came from this class last year. We had some very good men in it, and others in the reckoning were two top S. Africans Fanie D Toit current Mr. RepubLic of South Africa, and Achilles Kallos one of your contributors, runner-up in the Republic of S. Africa contest; Albert Beccles, a new sensational West Indian, two very good Germans and many others. Winner was Fanie Du Toit S. Africa those arms are some of the best I have seen. We had a good majority from our own Roy Perrott who had a beautifully symmetrical physique and wonderful abdominals, he had five first places to Fanie's eight. Third was Albert Beckles of Barbados with sensational muscularity. Fourth was Achilles Kallos S. Africa, fifth Beresford Morris, Jamaica, and sixth Horst Mikulski, Germany.

CLASS 1. OVER 5 Fr. 9 INS.

Sixteen in this including last year's Mr. America, Val Vasilieff, our own Paul Nash, former Mr. Britain and third last year, Gordon Van Sertima, a former Mr. British Guiana, and our own Geoffrey Whitaker, current Mr. Italy, the best Italian I have seen, Pietro Torrisi.

Not an easy class to judge, so many with little to choose between them.

We felt Val was a little smooth and abdominals were poor. Paul Nash was much fuller and deeper and legs and back better, but it was close. Paul had eight firsts to Val's five with one judge plumbing for Gordon Van Sertima who was third. Geoffrey Whitaker, fifth, Pietro Torrisi, Italy, fifth, and Emmanuel Pluton current Mr. Europe, sixth.

The big moment had come to pick the overall Amateur Mr. Universe winner from the three height class winners though we looked at all fifty-eight competitors to do so and ensured we had made no mistakes.

Eight judges chose Elmo Santiago USA, five chose Paul Nash England and one picked Fanie Du Toit S. Africa. The result seemed to please the majority and when Elmo and all the top men posed at the Universe dance before 600 madly enthusiastic supporters, they all agreed we had done right. We cannot please everyone of course, but we have nothing on our conscience.

I pray we shall be left in peace to run the Universe contests as we have done for seventeen years.


- These are superb photos of the two Mr. Universe winners, in the big London contest. Doesn't Reg Park look terrific? His shape is better than ever and he has those cuts and definition that make the great champions greater. Elmo Santiago has been fighting for years for a big title and after working hard and secretly for four years he emerges with a greatly improved physique and wins the Amateur Mr. Universe title. This was Reg Park's third win.

- Here is the opening scene at the London Mr. Universe, with the huge lineup of the best physiques to be found.

- Another fine shot of Reg Park. He looks great even in the flash photos taken at the show by Paul Hawker.

- Val Vasilieff was another of the Americans to enter, and display the physique that won him the Mr. America title.

- Another shot of Elmo Santiago, the new Mr. Universe. Elmo has improved his shape and greatly improved his definition over his previous best and he created quite a stir at the contest.

- George Paine has not been entering contest recently but really worked hard and had one of the most outstanding physiques at the show. He has very unusual definition as well as great shape.

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