IronMan, Vol 28, No 1, Page 34, November 1968
I have no doubt in my mind that the 1968 NABBA Mr. Universe Contests held in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre on the 21st of September, 1968, were the greatest physique championships ever held.
Many organizations hold so-called Mr. Universe contests in Europe and America but they cannot compare with the NABBA's superbly run show held yearly in London. Competitors come from all over the world.
America, Argentina, Algeria, South Africa, Australia and nearly every European country send representatives. Other organizations cannot boast this amazing patronage. The standard this year, in my opinion, was the highest ever. In the Amateur Section over 70 competitors assembled and two Mr. America winners had to battle it out. Whilst in the Professional division three of the world's greatest physiques fought it out. A few unknowns gave some of the top boys tough competition. First of all, before describing my views on some of the competitors let me tell you something of the workings of the judging.
We were all booked in at the Royal Hotel where the pre-judging was held one day before the actual show. This took a full day and we were split into various height classes. The Amateur section was divided into three divisions: class I, those who were over 5'9"; class II between 5'6" and 5'9"; class III up to 5'6". This enabled the judges to adjudicate in a fairer manner. The Professional section had only two classes because of fewer competitors.
To begin, each height class was lined up and inspected in repose. Then each competitor came out to individually pose for the judges. There was no posing light, nor was any oil allowed. Only a fair decision could be arrived at in these circumstances. There were 15 judges, namely: Jean Stoos, France; Dr. G. Garbe, Germany; U. Devetak, Italy; L. Sell, Ian McQueen, Bill Stevens, Bert Loveday, H. Wrigley, Ken Latham, Bill Noms, Ted White, O. Heidenstam all of the United Kingdom.
The next day we went to the Victoria Palace Theatre which was the venue for a quick dress rehearsal, which is always necessary for a smoothly-run show -- shows for which NABBA is world famous. The actual show was entertainment at its best because there were also variety acts between the posing displays of each height class.
Now to tell you about some of the competitors.
AMATEURS -- Class I -
TALL MEN -- The current Mr. America, Jim Haislop, was closely beaten by a much improved Dennis Tinerino (1967 Mr. America). It must have been one of the toughest decisions for the judges to make. Haislop has a terrific taper, similar to Steve Reeves', and very good legs. Whilst Dennis was more rugged with bigger arms and pectorals. Frank Richard of England, who is only 22 years old, beat famous Vic Downs of Canada. Whilst the current Mr. Britain, big Brian Eastman, could only place fifth. That's how tough the competition was!
AMATEURS -- Class II -
MEDIUM HEIGHT -- This most probably proved the toughest to judge because the first three were very evenly matched. On the other hand, the standard in this division was not as high as the other two height classes. Roy Perrott of England has competed in several Universe competitions and always gives a good account of himself, and won this height division, with Arthur Fairhurst of England a very close second. Janko Rudman of Sweden placed third and had improved tremendously over last year.
AMATEURS -- Class III -
SHORT MAN -- Once again the short men proved difficult to judge. An unknown Italian, Franco Colombo, now living in Germany, gave Wilfred Sylvester the fight of his life. Wilfred emerged the winner. Franco subsequently won the most muscular title. The Austrian, Adolf Ziegner, placed third and won the best arms title. His arms measured 20 inches at a height of 5 ft. 5 inches.
PROFESSIONAL -- Clases I and II
With three Universe winners and a highly regarded American, this section was very exciting.
SHORT MEN -- We were fortunate in seeing the Puerto Rican-American, Freddy Ortiz compete in this division. Most probably he has the greatest pair of arms in the world. They must measure at least 20 inches, and when you consider his height 5'6", this is truly fantastic. Freddy's posing routine was something quite different -- he would go into a pose and slowly flex his muscles until fully expanded. This thrilled the audience; they thought they had seen his muscles fully flexed, but then Freddy would expand them even more. John Citrone of England beat out Ortiz in a very close battle. John looked to be in the best condition of his life. When I saw him pumping up in the dressing room I could not believe that a man could pack so much muscle into such a short frame. Former short man winner, Yves Permal of France, although in excellent condition, placed third.
TALL MEN -- This division had only 6 entrants, and Arnold Schwarzenegger had little difficulty in winning it. He went on to win the overall title, but make no mistake, he did not have it all his way. Citrone and Ortiz proved formidable opponents. I had not seen Arnold before, and was very impressed with his overall size and muscularity; however, some thought that he did not look as good as last year.
I have not mentioned much about the variety acts because full reports will be published by others. Besides, I was too busy backstage taking photographs and chatting to various competitors. I was impressed with the friendliness and sincerity of the boys. Many of us had traveled thousands of miles to attend this mammoth show. Some of us could not converse freely with the Germans, Italians, French and Swedes because of the language barrier, but we somehow understood each other.
I had long chats with Jim Haislop and Dennis Tinerino. Both were very friendly and sincere. Dennis contemplates returning next year to compete most probably in the Professional section, whilst Jim doubts if he will compete in another contest because he would like to settle down and get married soon.
The British competitors in particular were most helpful. Brian House, Arthur Fairhurst, Frank Richards and Roy Perrott were always willing to assist whenever called upon. I photographed these four fellows at Rusty Wodds gymnasium. I intend reporting on their training ideas shortly.
Gregory Arax of Paris, the world famous photographer, was once again at the judging and show, taking photographs. He is 72 years of age and has been coming over to each Universe contest since its inception some 20 years ago.
All in all, the 1968 Mr. Universe contest proved a thrilling event in my life, and I'm sure many of the other competitors felt the same.
still to be typed in
- Arnold Schwarzenegger is the new professional Mr. Universe, beating out Citrone and Ortiz.
- John Citrone, greatly improved over last year, was the winner of the short mens class in the Professional contest.
- Dennis Tinerino, back again this year, was the Amateur Mr. Universe winner.
- The group above includes Franco Columbu, 2nd in amateur class three, Wilfred Sylvester, first in class three, Dennis Tinerino, first in amateur class one and Amateur Mr. Unvierse, Roy Perrott, first in amateur class 2, Arthur Fairhurst second in amateur class 2.
- Photo at left shows the perfection of the physique of Wilfred Sylvester, the Amateur Class Three winner. On the opposite page (below) we see the measurements and other data about the competitors that will be of interest, including the photographers' notes as to the winners.
Class 3 (up to and inlcuding 5 ft. 6 in.)
|1||SYLVESTER, Wilfred||St. Lucia||22||5-3||165||16½||27||24½||16½||18¼||47|
|4||BUTT, Mohammad Umar||Pakistan||33||5-4||150||16½||30||23½||15½||16½||44½|
|6||LE CREN, Jean Jacques||France||24||5-4½||168||17||27½||24½||15½||17¼||46½|
|11||MASHINI, Shipo||S. Africa||-||5-5||175||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|16||BOZAN, Kamal Mhmad||Syria||28||5-6||180||17½||29||24½||-||17½||48|
Class 2 (over 5 ft. 6 in. and up to and including 5 ft. 9 in.)
|24||DUFFIELD, Tony||Jersey, C.I.||29||5-7½||180||17||30||24½||17||17¼||46½|
|25||KALLOS, Achilles||S. Africa||37||5-8||195||17½||32||24½||17||17½||49|
|32||RUDERHAM, Peter||Jersey, C.I.||33||5-8½||189||17||32½||25||16¼||17||50|
Class 1 (over 5 ft. 9 in.)
|45||KEYSER, Chris||S. Africa||-||5-10½||195||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|53||BYRNE, Pady||S. Ireland||30||6-1||200||17||33||24½||16½||16¼||47½|
Class 2 (5 ft. 8 in. and under)
|57||MEYSSAIN, Everard||Fr. Martinique||31||5-4||162||15¾||29¼||23½||15¾||16¾||42|
|61||ORTIZ, Freddy||Puerto Rico||28||5-6||190||16½||27||24½||16½||19½||50|
|64||JORDAN, Abe||S. Africa||28||5-6½||180||18||32||25||16½||18½||49|
|65||MUNOZ, Jose Donato||Spain||37||5-7||180||17||30||25||16¼||17½||48|
Class 1 (over 5 ft. 8 in.)
|68||LOUVIERS, Jacques||F. Guadeloupe||27||5-8½||198||16½||30¾||25½||16½||17¾||47½|
|70||KLEBER, Nicolas||F. Guadeloupe||28||5-9¾||202||16½||32½||25¼||17¼||17¼||47¼|
|72||PLUTON, Emmanuel||F. Martinique||27||5-10½||225||17¼||29¾||26||16¼||17¼||49½|
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