Muscular Development, Vol 3, No 3, Page 42, March 1966
DO YOU KNOW the thrill it is for any hard training bodybuilder to achieve the pinnacle of his bodybuilding success -- that of winning a big physique title? Such a thrill appears to be reserved for only a few people, and those who have experienced this thrill readily admit it is beyond description.
Nevertheless it did happen to Elmo Santiago of New York City just recently in London at the Mr. Universe contest. Of course like all contestants who enter physique contests all are hopeful of winning, but when they see some of the other contestants they begin to lose hope.
Ever since 1961 after his return from London the first time, Elmo kept but one thought in mind - to win. During all this time he kept himself in good shape but it wasn't until several months prior to this event that he increased the tempo and vigorousness of his training, and got himself in the best shape of his bodybuilding career. No wonder he was flabbergasted as he stood atop of the pedestal and heard his name announced as the winner. . . he could hardly believe his own ears. But it was true . . . and it couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow!
Of course, Elmo has been training for years and had taken part in a number of physique events before this recent success. In fact, when he first migrated to New York from Puerto Rico, more than a dozen years ago, he was very anxious to make a niche for himself in the physique world. He met Robert Gebbe, a fine photographer in New York, and arranged to have some pictures taken. Gebbe took some very fine shots of him, several of which were submitted to S&H's photo contest. One of this group was selected and Elmo was given the Man of the Month trophy - his first. This provided Elmo with greater incentive and he began entering other physique contests in his area, winning a few. He even tried for the Mr. America title a few times, and although be placed favorably in these events he failed to place among the first three. He did, however, win the Mr. North America title in York one year, which is considered one of the Big titles.
Then in 1961 he whipped himself into fantastic shape and decided to try his luck in the Mr. Universe contest. Because he was employed with the Pan American Airways at the time he decided to go, being more anxious to observe their method of scoring rather than trying to win. He was satisfied with the fair judging and made up his mind to come back and try again soon. He kept this in mind and continued training to retain his muscularity and size. All the fellows at Tomas' gym, where he trained for the past year or so, gave him a lot of encouragement. And Enrico Tomas, who operates this gym and he himself a Mr. Universe winner back in '54 (professional category), also encouraged him to enter this year. So Elmo got plenty of encouragement and did train harder than ever before with but one goal in mind; to go to London and win the title!
Although Elmo was in York among the big crowd that attended the Power Meet and S&H Picnic over Labor Day weekend, he never mentioned one word to anyone about his condition, although all of us who saw him did feel that he looked mighty fit. But Elmo himself did not even mention that he had intentions of going to London. Of course Elmo is not a boastful person but most of his friends did mention that he was in hard training and was planning on making the trip. We were glad to hear that he won. A well-deserved victory, indeed.
Competition in London is always keen, and though Elmo had trained for this event and had high hopes of winning, he wasn't quite as confident when he sized up all the other contestants. However, after the contest when all the scores were tallied, a great silence fell over the crowded hall to await the announcement. And whose name do you think rang clear over the microphone? ELMO SANTIAGO'S! Cheers greeted the announcement but it took Elmo several seconds before he finally realized that he indeed was the winner.
For Elmo it was a dream come through and a thrill of a lifetime. . . and for the moment at least, Elmo was the happiest man in the world!
For size and shape Elmo is not a big man. Standing 5' 7" in height he weighs a muscular 180 to 190 pounds with very fine symmetry. By nature he is rather easy-going and soft spoken, always willing to impart his knowledge to those who seek it - a real credit to the Iron Game.
We know Elmo will wear the crown well, and we wish him every success. Elmo Santiago, the 1965 Mr. Universe titleholder.
- The Herculean and muscular physique of Elmo Santiago, the Mr. Universe winner, can be seen to advantage in this pose. The fine midsection, the rounded pectorals and the horseshoe outline of the triceps all indicate that Elmo was in top form for this contest.
- Elmo, overjoyed and elated over his Mr. Universe victory, takes his place along with Reg Park (professional title winner) on the winner's podium after his name was called out. Some of the other contestants in the background seem to be pondering the decision. All photos on this page by Gordon Wright.
- Some of the poses that Elmo did for the audience in London. All contestants are pre-judged backstage the day before the event, but only the judges know the winners. The winners are announced after each contestant has posed for the audience, such as being done here by Elmo.
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