Having previously discussed the first ever Mr. Olympia contest held in 1965, it was a great and welcomed surprised to stumble across this report on the ’66 Olympia. Featuring a host of names from the golden age of bodybuilding, there’s something almost quaint about the sportsmanship and seeming politeness of this particular show. Especially when compared with the strictly professionalised competitions held nowadays.
The big question in 1966 was of course whether Larry Scott, the champion from the previous year, would retain his coveted title. At the risk of spoiling anything, I’ll just say read on!
With the presentation of the last awards (to the MR. AMERICA, MR. WORLD, and MR. UNIVERSE), the stage was cleared and the lights adjusted for the final contest, the most coveted physique event in all the world – the MR. OLYMPIA contest. A hush fell over the audience.
The first man out was Chuck Sipes, a former MR. AMERICA and MR. UNIVERSE winner, who possesses one of the finest physiques in the world. His rock-hard definition and massive proportions thrilled the fans. He was in great shape. In any other event he would have won – but this night it was a fight among the greatest. The fans roared their approval.
Next, Sergio Oliva – just minutes before proclaimed MR. WORLD. Sergio is massive and possesses ideal proportions that are defined to their limit. Recognized as one of the world’s all-time greats, he is just “beginning” his career as an IFBB champ. Like Sipes, in any other event he would have taken the title without effort.
Next, Harold Poole, also a former MR. AMERICA and MR. UNIVERSE. Harold was looking at his best this night, far superior to his development last year – when he lost the OLYMPIA title to Scott. The audience recognized that improvement and cheered him wildly. He was thick and cut-up. His posing routine was perfect. At this point, it looked as if the contest would swing his way.
Then – Larry Scott, the title-holder. The applause was ear-shattering. With the perfection of a seasoned poser, Larry mounted the dais and went through his poses. In the best shape of his life, he was clearly the choice of the audience – judging by the ovation. When he stepped off, the fans cheered for more.
The selection would be difficult for the judges, and the panel wanted to be certain, so they asked the contestants to come our and pose together. The men mounted the dais and, side-by-side, went through various poses. Now all eyes were studying.
A brief intermission was called to give the judges time to reach a decision. They worked at it for 20 minutes – and then the announcement was made: – “MR. OLYMPIA for 1966 … Larry Scott.”
The fans applauded and whistled and stamped their feet in approval, and Joe Weider presented Larry with his commemorative silver plate – lined with $1,000.00 in cash.
Then, something startling – Larry took the microphone, thanked all his fans sincerely for their years of support and confidence in him, and announced that this would be his last competitive event. He was retiring from the posing dais, stepping out of the picture to make room for the new champs.
Even when the curtain fell for the final time, this great event would not end. The thousands of fans rushed around the stage door and awaited the champs – who filed out and passed through the crowd, shaking hands and giving autographs – the end of an historical and memorable evening.