Your Physique, Vol 16, No 3, Page 16, December 1951
Those officials who have the notion that the USA has nothing to learn from other countries when it comes to running a Physical Excellence contest, should have been at the Scala Theater, London, England on the night of September 1st. Sponsored by the NABBA, the British Bodybuilding Organization, the 1951 Mr. Universe Contest was a decided triumph and an outstanding success, not only from the viewpoint of slick organization of the entire proceedings but also from the abounding enthusiasm of every contestant and official.
The crowded auditorium re-echoed again and again to the cheers of weight training enthusiasts when Reg Park was crowned Mr. Universe for 1951 and his triumph was shared by his pal and training partner, Joe Weider, himself a contestant in the same height class as Reg. As a very interested spectator, I waited for the audience reaction to Joe's appearance. They received him with a loud burst of applause, indicating that certain dirty work behind the scenes meant nothing to them and they appreciated a sportsman and one who wasn't adverse to taking his own medicine.
The impression I gained from the entire affair are lasting ones . . . impressions not likely to leave me for a long long time. I feel that American bodybuilders, who have long had the field to themselves, are going to get a heck of a heap of competition form their British and European comrades. The standard of development was a very good one, especially in the two shorter classes. The "Tall Man" division lacked somewhat in bulk with three notable exceptions, and as a prominent bodybuilder remarked to me, "The continentals have only to see a good set of abdominals and a man ten pounds below what he should normally weight, and the contest's his."
The entire affair was marked by a lack of confusion and stage crowding. Every man knew his job, his place onstage, and there wasn't a single moment's delay. Throughout the entire show, all the fans had to do was sit back and enjoy themselves. Due to the system of preliminary judging, there was absolutely no time lag, a situation which occurs all too often in American contests. Messrs. Johnson, State and the other members of the organizing committee are to be congratulated on a darn fine job. Of course there are some criticisms but these I feel are not of too great an import. The actual Competition Officials appeared to be impartial and strictly concerned only with a contestants attributes. Affiliation and nationality didn't mean a thing.
The contest proper opened with the preliminary judging on the morning of September 1st at the Royal Hotel. Only competitors and officials were present with members of the public excluded. Thus photographers had a field day with no interruptions or obstructions and the Judges were able to score a man with out being influenced by applause from the audience. Lucien Besset and K. D. Arax of France. . . A Carali of Egypt . . . P. E. Craeye from Belgium . . . B. Ghosh of India and W F. Archer and George Greenwood of England comprised the Judging Panel,a truly International Body.
Under NABBA rules, men were judged not only on their physical development, but also on presentation that is how they displayed their physiques . . . and again on ability . . . what they could DO with their muscles. Personally I feel that performance has nothing whatever to do with a man's development. The contest is a Physical Excellence affair, with muscular development and proportion the prime considerations. The fact that ability scores almost as much as development and presentation, places certain men under a handicap and gives others with somewhat mediocre physiques an unfair advantage. However I am sure that this point will be ironed out in the near future.
Contestants were given 15-20 points for development . . . 15-20 points for presentation and 15-18 points for ability. All men would have done well in US contest and none would have been disgraced. It is obvious that American training have sown their seeds in extremely fertile ground for every man evidenced on his body a great deal of hard training. All the men first stood completely relaxed under ordinary lighting, then turned front and back. They then stood at attention and then, when called into the posing platform individually, went through their posing routines. They took as many poses as they cared to with the judges calling a halt. In this preliminary judging, six men were chosen for the final appearance on the stage in the actual show, altho every competitor was given the opportunity of exhibiting himself to the audience. But as indicated above, only six men were taken from each class for the final judging for the first, second, and third positions.
To me, the heavy use of oil and make up appeared obnoxious. With some exceptions, all contestants smeared themselves with oil and only one or two used it correctly. . that is sparingly. One man had smeared himself with some sort of dye, presenting a ridiculous appearance with his pale face and red-brown streaked body, the color ending abruptly at his throat.
In Class 3, under five feet six inches in height, the two Indian competitors stood out like sore thumbs. Monotosh Roy, the man who won the Mr. Asia contest, had a terrific development while his posing was just "out of this world" as the saying goes. It was obvious why he had beaten Mahmoud Namdjou and one can only draw the conclusion from the Iranian lifters outburst that he must have an extremely exalted opinion of himself. John King of England had very good definition and young Dennis Winn a powerful musculature, but it was Roy and Monohar Aich who stole the show in this class. Not only did Roy give an exhibition of extreme flexibility but he placed the point of a spear in his throat and then, leaning his weight on the spear head, bent the iron shaft to which it was attached. James Laurie exhibited suppleness and Guy Marxello kept pace with him. The officials hardly needed to exercise their judgment for there was a burst of applause from the audience when Monotosh Roy was announced as the winner with his compatriot, Aich placing second and Guy Marrelo third.
In class two, men not more than five feet nine inches and not less than five feet six inches appeared. In my opinion the two outstanding contestants were Juan Ferraro and Spencer Churchill. Fourteen men paraded before the fans and each one presented a fine appearance. Mario Marrelo looked very good and like all Continentals posed very well. The outstanding feature of this class was the wealth of good future material. Even to a man brought up on a diet of Ross, Reeves, Grimek and Park, the physiques of the competitors in this class were outstanding. It is my opinion that Spencer Churchill deserved a better break. Even alongside the winner, Ferraro, Churchill stood out. Unfortunately he has a very bad carriage and posture, but even with these faults, I feel that the judges erred in scoring below Marrelo and Jama, second and third place men, Juan Ferraro's great popularity and outstanding personality gained him a treatment burst of applause and the judges decision, which was very well received.
By this time, spectators . . and there wasn't a vacant seat in the hall. . . had worked themselves up to a peak of excitement. The short interval prior to the final height division and the announcement of the winner of the Universe title, saw that excitement in no way abated. There was a restless stirring when fans took their seats for the windup of the night's entertainment and Oscar State, the announcer, was received with a loud cheer when he stepped up to the mike. "There's been an unusual development in this class" said Oscar and we all waited tensely for the announcement that was to follow. "Glad I've got you on edge a bit" State went on, '"but it's a pleasant surprise" and then he called the Tall Man's division onto the stage. Twelve contestants paraded and as in the other classes, all presented an inspiring sight as they stood across the platform. Peter Gunn, a local boy, tall, slim waisted and broad shouldered, looked great. Ted White, his buddy looked good too. These two men train together and are both near 30 years of age. Yet so immense is their enthusiasm that they both claim "there is a great future ahead of us in weight training".
Arnold Dyson posed very well. He is a tall young fellow with a large frame. He has great possibilities and with correct training should be able to challenge the best. When Reg Park appeared the audience went wild. No words I can make use of could remotely describe this man's musculature. It is almost a year since I last saw him and his progress in that period has been nothing short of remarkable. His arms are huge. His deltoids are huge. His legs are huge. In fact every individual part of his physique is terrific and yet blended with it is a shapeliness and definement that makes his development so outstanding. At no other period in weighlifting history has there been a man with such a wonderful combination of shape, size, definition and STRENGTH. The boy has everything. Even hardened officials gasped with amazement when Reg, slowly turning his back to the crowded auditorium exhibited his stupendous back, arms and deltoids. For my part, I have never seen anything like it.
Oscar Heidenstam, now well over 40 years of age, was in great condition and had a development that would have put many a man twenty years younger to shame. Oscar gave an exhibition of agility and it was hard to grasp the fact that this man was the wrong side of 40 . . . that age we all dread so much. Hubert Thomas from Wales, the current Mr. Britain, had a fine development and was unfortunate in having to compete against Reg. Joe Weider was called onto the stage to a tremendous burst of applause and hand clapping. All around me I heard people expressing great surprise at his development. "I used to think his photos were faked" said one man sitting next to me, "now I see Joe is really well built." Back stage after the show, Joe told me why he had entered the contest, even though he knew he would have to compete against men like Reg Park, Robert Duranton and Oscar Heidenstam. All the way over on the Queen Mary, Joe had had no chance to train and hadn't touched a weight for two weeks prior to sailing. We had the worst crossing in Cunard history, the huge ship registering a roll of 29 degrees. Thirty-one passengers and crew members were injured and 13 of them are still in hospital. Yet despite the rough passage and lack of training Joe decided to enter. "Perhaps if I let the British people see me I will show them I DO practice what I preach"', Joe told me.
Incidently, Joe was the only man who chose to make use of a barbell to show the judges what he could do. For his ability test, Weider pressed 200 - had a bit of a struggle at first because of the greasy bar and hands and lack of chalk -- then he did several squats and some jerks from behind neck with the 200 pounds. Robert Duranton -- hair cut and everything -- looked much heavier than when I last saw him in New York. He posed well and his South of France tan set off his musculature to the best advantage.
Finally, Oscar State ended the terrific tension by announcing the names of the top six. Arnold Dyson was beaten into 6th place by Joe Weider who placed 5th. Hubert Thomas placed 4th, and . . . the big surprise that Oscar State told us about . . Heidenstamtied for 2nd place with Robert Duranton. We all knew who had won the decision without any word from Oscar . . . REG PARK! And again there was a tumultous burst of cheering, several members of the audience running over to congratulate Reg's Mum and Dad.
And then hushed and still, the entire crowd waited with breathless anticipation for the crowning of Mr. Universe. All the contestants lined up across the stage. Duranton nervously bit his lips. The two Indians were smiling and looking down the line to Reg and Juan Ferraro. '"Ladies and gentlemen" called Oscar State, "Mr. Universe for 1951 is . . . . . REG PARK".
For several minutes you just couldn't hear yourself speak as everyone went wild. Last year, Reg had lost by the proverbial whisker to Steve Reeves. Many thought he deserved to win that contest. There had been rumors about this one too . . . Reg had lost again, but no one really believed them. The rumors were just those that appear to be customary when an important contest takes place. Reg stood there, embarrassed a little and I felt sure, humbly thankful for his victory. And my thoughts proved to be correct when Reg stepped up to the mike to say a few words. "I feel, I can only share this triumph" said Reg, '"with my Mum and Dad, my friends and my training partners".
And so on this humble note ended a great contest . . . one of the best staged it has been my privilege to see. Yet I feel the spirit of the entire affair was best summed up in the words of Ken Webster at the dinner to officials and contestants the night before the contest. "Here we are" said Ken . . . "Frenchmen, Englishmen, Greeks, Indians, Belgians, Dutchmen and Americans . . . nearly every nationality sitting here in peace and friendship and when I see that, then I know that we weightlifters and bodybuilders are doing a damn sight better job for peace and man's understanding of man than the United Nations could ever do."
|11||Robert McShane||N. Ireland||348¾|
|11||Norman Bratty||N Ireland||343½|
Judges: Lucien Besset & K. D. Arax (France), A. Carali (Egypt), P. E. Craeye (Belgium), B. Gosh (India), W. F. Archer and George Greenwood (England).
Contest was judged upon International Rules
|Presentation of Physique||15-20 pts|
|Posing of Physique||15-20 pts|
|Evolution or Ability||15-18 pts|
- The line up of the Mr. Universe competitors. Forty-three of the finest built men in the world from 14 countries took part in this outstanding show. Joe Weider can be seen on the extreme left.
- A view of the competitors in the preliminary judging. Joe Weider, Publisher of YOUR PHYSIQUE and MUSCLE POWER is on the extreme right. Joe received an enthusiastic welcome from the crowded hall and surprised everyone with his superb condition.
- The world's greatest physique . . . Reg Park, Mr. Universe for 1951. His triump is one of tremendous determination and perserverence. See this super bodybuilder in person at the November 30th show in New York.
- The three place winners in the Medium height division. This class displayed considerable talent with every man competing good enough to take part in any American contest. Left to right . . . Marrelo . . . Jama . . . Ferraro.
- Mr. Universe receives the applause of the contestants as he stands on the posing platform. "I share this triump with Mum and Dad, my friends, and training partners," said Reg.
- Look at that mighty right arm of Reg Park. Showing incredible improvement over his 1950 appearance, the new Mr. Universe amazed everyone. Reg is seen admiring the medalion presented to him by the French Federation.
- Joe Weider, publisher of the greatest and most popular Bodybuilding magazines in the world, YOUR PHYSIQUE and MUSCLE POWER, at the dinner to officials and contestants. Charles A. Smith, Official American observer, Consultsant Editor of Weider Publications, is on his right.
- The Short Man's Class winners. In the center is Monotosh Roy, Mr. Asia, winner in this division. Left stands Monohar Aich, second place man and right Guy Marrelo, third place winner.
- Juan Ferraro of Bordeaux, winner of the Universe title in the medium height class. As with all the Continental competitors, his posing was of an exceptionally high standard.
- In the same height class won by Ferraro, Spencer Churchill of England, placed fourth. In the author's opinion deserving a much higher position, Churchill has a super development built up with methods advocated by Weider.
- Mario Marrelo of France, second place man in the Medium height class. All the French competitors placed high in each division. Another feature of their displays was their agility in the "Ability tests".
- Juan Ferraro and Joe Weider discuss a Canadian and New York tour. Ferraro, Mr. Universe winner in the Medium height class will appear at the New York November 30th show. See this sensational French bodybuilder in person, yourself.
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