Muscular Development, Vol 6, No 1, Page 34, January 1969


By Oscar Heidenstam

TWENTY YEARS AGO, 1948 to be exact, NABBA held its first Mr. Universe contest, and since then with the exception of 1949 when no contest was held we've been sponsoring this gala event.

As many of you may recall the first contest in 1948 was won by John Grimek who beat out Steve Reeves for the title that year. Reeves came back again in 1950 to beat out Reg Park, and Reg won the title the following year, 1951. After that other great champions came and won this title such as Jack Delinger, Bill Pearl, Bruce Randall, Earl Clark, Leo Robert and host of others, some returning to win it more than once.

Our contests continue to improve and many contestants who come back a second or third time have noticed this improvement. They have been kind enough to write and tell us so. Of course our thanks to Bob Hoffman and MD magazine for giving us their generous support and we appreciate this more than we can express.

This year as in other years we had many overseas entries, but there were more this year than ever before. These men represented 23 different nations and more than 50 contestants were on hand for the prejudging. Of course over 70 contestants entered originally but some of these failed to showup. Nevertheless we had a fine group of men that gave the judges quite a headache in trying to place them.

I would like to stress a point at this time. NABBA is strictly a nonprofit bodybuilding organization and we hold two separate contests; one for amateurs and another for professionals. At no time have cash awards or other professional incentives been used and we think our amateurs are as much amateurs as any other organization. And though our trophies are not as huge as those given to winners in the States, yet our trophies are more expensive. For example, our Mr. Universe trophies cost around $250. in American money, so you can see they are more expensive than any trophies awarded to contestants anywhere.

Our amateur contest is held in three height divisions; 5'6" and under is Class-3, over 5'6" and up to 5'9" is Class-2, and over 5'9" is Class-1.

The Judging: Whenever possible we have as many international judges as might be present on that day. This year we had 13. All these men had varying experiences in bodybuilding and many are former competitors and title holders. This year France, Italy, Austria and Germany were well represented. We do not use the point system but each judge makes his selection and our three secretaries tally up the score. The judging takes place the day before the actual contest and usually requires about eight hours to complete it.

Class-3 is judged first. We have the whole class line-up for the judges to compare them, then each man comes out individually, or sometimes in groups of three or four so the judges can make a better comparison. We find this system fair and so far the judges and contestants all seem to approve of this system.


This class consists of men 5'6" and under. Fourteen contestants vied for the title with an entry from Argentina, Italy, Austria and South Africa being represented. Some terrific men were in this division, including two formidable competitors: an Austrian and an Italian who works and lives in Munich. This is the town where Arnold Schwarzenegger comes from and his victory last year certainly had its influence on bodybuilders in that area.

In this class a real battle raged between Wilf Sylvester, Franco Columbu, the Italian, who was the muscular sensation of the meet, and the mighty Austrian, Adolph Zeigner, a man under 5'6" in height who sported 20" arms, 52" chest and weighed 218 pounds!

Besides these three formidable contestants several other outstanding men were in this class, including Brian House whose exceptional calves strongly impressed your editor, John Grimek on his last visit here, Michael Piliotis, another Britisher, Jacques Chenier, a very shapely Frenchman, Ferrucia Viola, the Mr. Argentina title holder, and rugged, muscular Harry McFarlane who came from the West Indies and who has improved a lot since living in Britain.

Wilf Sylvester scored heavily with his fine symmetry, his sharp muscularity and excellent posing routine . . . but he was a worried man. Right on his heels was the Italian, Franco Columbu, who had a bigger frame, amazing muscularity but his leg development and posing was below par. The massive Adolph Zeigner placed third and won the Best Arms award. Though he was huge for his size he did appear a bit too smooth. In fourth place was Harry McFarlane, while Jacques Chenier of France took fifth and Brian House was sixth. Columbu won the overall Most Muscular Man title.


Overall this was not a tough class to judge as Class-3 although the physique standard was excellent. John Decola from the USA was entered but failed to show up. This was the second time we had hoped to see John but once again he failed to show. Basing my opinion on his latest pictures seen in MD he looks like he's in great shape and would have presented some interesting competition.

The winner of this class went to popular Roy Perrott a British competitor. This was his eighth try! This man doesn't have to pose to show muscles. . . he stands there and his muscles stick out all over him, even when he stands relaxed. But on his heels was another Englishman, Arthur Fairhurst, who has made great improvement of late and looks impressive. Third place went to Janko Rudman of Sweden, another much improved competitor. Fourth place went to Harold Gobetz, another Austrian who would be sensational if he wasn't so bulky and had more muscularity. He weighed 222 pounds with a 53½ chest and stood 5'8" in height. Fifth place went to Raymond Everlet a Frenchman, and sixth was taken by Bob Blokzeil a Hollander. The Frenchman won the Best Poser award.


In this category some 14 fantastic physique entries were on hand, and a line-up of champions that will long be remembered. Great conjecture revolved around the two Americans; Tinerino and Haislop, both Mr. America winners. Yet in this class we also had our Mr. Britain winner, Brian Eastman, whom we felt might be a threat to these men. Besides these three, there was Vic Downs, a former Mr. Canada title holder, and the newly crowned Mr. South Africa, Chris Keyser.

Competition revolved around Tinerino, Haislop, Eastman, Frank Richard, Doug Bull (a Jr. Mr. Britain winner), Karl Keinrath, Norman Rough, and Henry Greaves. Seven judges voted for Tinerino while six gave Haislop their votes . . . a very close decision. I think Tinerino triumphed only because he had the more overall mature physique, with better arms, fuller trapezius and fine deltoids. Haislop, on the other hand, had the better legs (the best in the whole contest), a wider V-shape plus a harder muscular condition. The judges truly had a hard decision to make. Both deserved the award, but eventually it was Dennis who won his height class and the overall title. Jim was a close second, while third went to Frank Richard, a man who bears watching in the future. Vic Downs got fourth, Brian Eastman was fifth, and 39-year-old Chris Keyser took sixth.


There was a total of 13 professionals entered, eight in one category and five in the other. There was some eager anticipation as to how last year's amateur winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would do in the professionals this year, and if the small but amazing Freddie Ortiz could wrest the crown from him. But competing as a pro for the first time was John Citrone, whose strong muscularity and shapely physique had to be contended with. John seems to improve with each appearance. This day he was certaiuly outstanding.

CLASS-2 Short Man's Division

This class seemed to revolve around Ortiz, Citrone and Permal, a former winner of this height division. Ortiz drew gasps at the judging and at the Mr. Universe display when he flexed his huge arms at a height of less than 5'6". But John Citrone who at 5'5" and weighing 180 pounds was no pushover. Ortiz showed himself to perfection, but Citrone displayed his overall symmetry and amazing muscularity and scored heavily for his outstanding chest, back and particularly his legs. He got nine our of 13 possible votes, so took first, Ortiz got second, Yves Permal took third and Abe Jordan fourth.

CLASS-I - Tall Man's Division

Arnold Schwarzenegger proved to be an easy winner in his class and also winning the overall title. In my opinion, however, John Citrone, outside of his height, was every inch as impressive with his fine symmetry and razor-sharp muscularity. Nevertheless, this was a great victory for the big 20 year old Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger who is certain to take his place among the world's greats.

Several other contests were judged, including the Miss Bikini contest. This contest was won by Sylvia Hibbert, a well-built girl with a fine figure. She's been trying to win it for some time and finally made it. She and her husband have a fine balancing act so both are real physical culturists.

Thus ended another great show and one that will long be remembered. But we already started thinking about the one next year, and you can bet it will be as good as this one or better. It always is!


- The two physique champions. Left, Arnold Schwarzenegger of Austria, winner of the professional title, and right, Dennis Tinerino, Brooklyn, N.Y. winner of the amateur Mr. Universe crown.

- Oscar Heidenstam, secretary of NABBA and sponsor of this gala event, is shown presenting the trophies to the winners.

- The runner-up and finalist. Left, Jim Haislop who finished a close second to Dennis Tinerino, and Britisher Brian Eastman, who placed fifth is on Haislop's left.

- Class-3: The short man's category

- Class-2: Medium Height division

- Class-1: Tall man's category

- Some of the top competitors displaying their arms for the judges during the prejudging. Left to right: Frank Richard, third, Vic Downs, recent MD coverman, Jim Haislop and Dennis Tinerino.

- Rugged and muscularly proportionate is Roy Perrott (below) who won his height division, Class-2.

- Class winners and runners-up, left ot right: Franco Columbu, Italy, finished second in Clas-3. Wilf Sylvester, the Class 3 winner. Dennis Tinerino, Amateur Mr. Universe WInner. Roy Perrott, the Class-2 winner, and arthur Fairhusrt, second in that class.

- Some of the contestants in the professional division, Class-2, posing during the prejudging. Freddie Ortiz, New York, is giving the judges a lat-spread pose while the other contestants look on and await their turn.

- John Citrone (below) winner of Class-2 in the professional category. John is considered one of England's best developed physiques, regardless of size.

- A Miss Bikini contest is also part of the Unvierse festivities. Winner and runners-up pose for official NABBA photographer, Arax. Sylvia Hibbert, in the center, won the title. From a very slender beginning Sylvia succeded, through regular exercise and hand-balancing, in modling the shapely figure she displays above.

- A line-up of the professional division of the Mr. Universe contest. Overall winner Arnold Schwarzenegger is easily seen in the back row. This was Arnold's second victory.

- A Mr. Britain title holder and now winner of Class-3 height division is muscular Wif Sylvester, a well-developed specimen from St Lucia.

- Yves Permal is classically posed when this interesting shot was taken by Arax during his posing display at the Mr. Universe contest.

- Franco Columbu, the muscularly built Italian, placed second in Class-3 but won the overall Most Muscular title in the Universe contest.

If you find these articles interesting and useful, please