In bodybuilding history, sometimes it’s not just the poses that happen on stage. Drama could play out too. Bodybuilding is a sport that has always been surrounded by controversy. Whether it’s the use of performance-enhancing drugs or the judging criteria for competitions, there have been many moments in the history of bodybuilding that have sparked intense debates, discussions, and even bitter rivalries. Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 most controversial moments in the Golden Era of bodybuilding and examine each one in-depth.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Use of Steroids
The bodybuilding community has always held sensitivities towards the ‘S-word’ aka steroids, and the use of other anabolics. So it came as no surprise when the arguably best and indisputably most iconic bodybuilder of all time admitted to taking steroids in his heyday that it shook the bodybuilding world to it’s roots.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most iconic bodybuilders of all time. However, he has also been the subject of controversy due to his admission of using steroids during his bodybuilding career. This revelation has sparked debate among fans and critics alike, with some arguing that it tarnishes his legacy while others see it as a necessary part of the sport.
While the use of steroids is illegal in most sports, it was not always that way in bodybuilding. In fact, during the Golden Era of bodybuilding, steroid use was rampant and largely accepted. It wasn’t until the 1990s that drug testing became more widespread in the sport.
2. Corruption in Bodybuilding? The 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy
Another Arnold controversy, second on the list of controversy in bodybuilding history is the infamous 1980 Mr. Olympia contest. The contest was won by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came out of retirement to compete. However, many fans and fellow bodybuilders felt that Arnold did not deserve to win, as his physique was not as impressive as it had been in previous years, which made the 1980 event widely regarded as one of the most controversial moments in bodybuilding history.
The controversy surrounding the 1980 Mr. Olympia led to changes in judging criteria for future competitions. The focus shifted from pure size to a more balanced physique, with an emphasis on symmetry and aesthetic appeal. This change paved the way for bodybuilders like Frank Zane and Lee Haney, who were known for their well-proportioned physiques.
3. The Use of Diuretics in Bodybuilding
Diuretics are a type of medication that can be used to reduce water retention in the body. They are often used by bodybuilders in the days leading up to a competition to achieve a more defined and “dry” look. However, the use of diuretics has been controversial due to their potential side effects, which can include dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
In recent years, there has been a push to ban the use of diuretics in bodybuilding competitions. Many experts argue that the potential risks of diuretics outweigh the benefits, and that they have no place in a sport that is supposed to promote health and fitness.
4. The “Mass Monsters” of the 1990s
In the 1990s, a new type of bodybuilder emerged known as the “mass monster.” These bodybuilders were known for their extreme size and muscularity, often achieved through the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The rise of the mass monsters sparked debate among fans and critics, with some arguing that the sport had become too focused on size at the expense of aesthetics.
The mass monster era was dominated by bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates, who pushed the limits of what was possible in terms of muscle mass. However, this era also saw a backlash from fans who felt that the extreme size and conditioning of these bodybuilders was not sustainable or healthy in the long term.
5. The Death of Andreas Munzer
Andreas Munzer was an Austrian bodybuilder known for his extreme conditioning and shredded physique. However, he also had a history of using performance-enhancing drugs, including diuretics. In 1996, Munzer died as a result of complications from drug use, sparking renewed debate about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs in bodybuilding.
The death of Andreas Munzer was a tragedy that underscored the potential risks of drug use in bodybuilding. It led to renewed calls for stricter drug testing and more education about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.
While the use of drugs in bodybuilding is still a controversial issue, the death of Munzer helped to raise awareness about the potential risks involved.
While the sport has come a long way since the Golden Era, with increased focus on health and wellness, there is still much work to be done to address the issues that have plagued bodybuilding for decades. These are our takes for the top spots of most controversial moments in bodybuilding so far. Do you remember these moments? Or do you have other epic/controversial moments that could rival these? Let us know!