seems like a cool guy.
Similar Bodybuilding Threads:
seems like a cool guy.
Similar Bodybuilding Threads:
Yet they stare now across the plain at 10,000 SPARTANS commanding an army of 30,000 free Greeks! HAROOH! The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one! Good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny, and usher in a future brighter than anything we could imagine. GIVE THANKS MEN, TO LEONIDAS AND THE BRAVE 300! TO VICTORY!
-Dilios at Plataea
Interview Shawn Ray did with V Richards:
In the early 80’s Bodybuilding for both young and old, professional and amateur was at its peak! The Austrian Oak and 7-Time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger (80’) was a well known Hollywood Movie Star as Conan the Barbarian his training partner, Franco Columbo (75-81’) was also a 2-Time Mr. Olympia and Strongman. Chris Dickerson (82’) and Samir Bannout (83’) were winding down the era of Sub 200lbs Mr. Olympia Champions as the reign of Lee Haney was shaping up by way of winning the first of 8 consecutive Mr. Olympia titles at 250lbs plus from 1984 to 1991! That said, there were few athletes in the industry that built names for themselves not by virtue of the Contest Stage but simply by virtue of building Muscle with Mass and lots of it! One name comes to mind above all others in the world of Bodybuilding and potential as a competitor, the Original Nigerian Nightmare for many, Victor Richards!
Here is a guy who as a Teenager put fear into grown men with the mere idea of toying with the possibilities of becoming a professional bodybuilder. Victor was a Prodigy of sorts in that the amount of muscle mass he carried at such a young age had never been seen before. He first began getting noticed when he competed in the Orange County Muscle Classic as a Teenager in Buena Park, California back in 1983 at Knott’s Berry Farm where he dwarfed the competition but did not mange to hold onto victory finishing in second place. Victor later began training with the Twins from Rhode Island, David and Peter Paul the famous “Barbarian Brothers” two of the bigger, strongest guys training at the Mecca, Gold’s Gym in Venice, California. Victor never did compete on a Pro stage yet he garnered the attention of Joe Weider and secured sponsorship from him which enabled him to continue appearing in the magazines and travel the world while being marketed as one of the Greats in the industry. I recently caught up with the 44 year old father of 3, now residing in Portland, Oregon weighing a paltry 315lbs and still training to answer a few questions about where he is now, where he has been these last few years and his opinions on the industry. Never one for a loss of words, this highly Spiritual man has his philosophies deeply rooted in what God has in store for his life while walking to the beat of his own drum.
SR-: Victor, how did this all start for you? The process of which, you chose to grease up one day and step onstage as a Bodybuilder.
VR:I never really planned to be a bodybuilder, when I was a teenager my friends and I skipped class to go to Gold's gym in Venice, California in search of our T.V action hero Lou Ferrigno “The Incredible Hulk.” He wasn't in the gym but the Barbarian Brothers were. The twins were shocked with my genetics and introduced me to Pete Grymkowski, the owner of Gold's Gym who gave me a free gym membership on the spot.
SR: At what point did you realize this was something you could use to help leverage financial rewards?
VR:When I was very young, I was initially flattered that I was being offered $500 for appearances while seasoned Pro's were getting $300. As a Teenager, it makes you feel good to be recognized but as I got a bit older, I realized that there were no financial rewards in Bodybuilding. If you are lucky enough to be the best in the world you win two hundred thousand dollar prize after spending three hundred thousand dollars to with that prize. Conversely, you can be a third string Pro football player, have nowhere near the discipline or sacrifice of a Pro Bodybuilder and make a decent living.
SR: Who were your mentors/ teachers in this industry?
VR:The Barbarian Brothers, Larry Jackson, Samir Bannout , Chris Dickerson and Rufus Howard.
SR-Q: At which point did you realize that Bodybuilding was more than lifting weights and stepping onstage to be judged by others?
VR:I made that realization very early when I felt the natural high I achieved after lifting weights. That feelings far surpassed standing half naked with a group of men on a stage and if I was upset with my girlfriend or stressed about something I would train several times a day just to clear my head and forget things. Weight lifting was a therapeutic outlet rather than a men’s beauty contest for me.
SR: What role did training at Gold’s Gym have in your outlook on the sport? Did you benefit from training there as opposed to say, XYZ Gym in One Horse Town, Nebraska?
VR: Gold's Gym was mixed blessings. I was fortunate to watch and learn from many great bodybuilders but at the same time, I learned many things that made me question the ethics, integrity and principles associated with sport. I say "sport" but for me, bodybuilding has always been considered my "discipline."
SR: Tell us about some of your most memorable encounters with Pro’s or Amateurs that you recall help define your personal outlook on the sport?
VR:I have a plethora of opinions about bodybuilding but in the interest of brevity I will touch on a few key memorable encounters that will demonstrate why it is that I feel the way I do. First, there is what I call "disguised poverty” which is rampant throughout the sport. Many very popular and big name bodybuilders are living hand to mouth and because it has never been my goal to publicly humiliate my colleagues, I will not provide any more specific detail or names on this subject. However, I am confident that many people who are familiar with this sport will support my “disguised poverty" observations.
Second, is what I feel to be a callous indifference to the value of a person, as a person rather than as a competitor or an object. For example, I remember very vividly when Momo Benazziza died from his dedication to the sport and a fellow competitor callously told me "Good, just another motherfucker out of the way that I don't have to worry about.” Had that opinion been limited to one individual it would not have had the same effect on me but sadly it wasn't. Third, not all promoters but many promoters, are just plain greedy and deceptive. As far back as 1989, I recall a particular promoter at the Orange County Bodybuilding Classic trying to pocket my guest posing fee of $2,500. I had specifically asked for the money to be donated for children of Muscular Dystrophy. The promoter agreed but never made the donation.
SR: What advice would you have for a 17 year high school kid coming into the industry to compete at the Orange County like you day back in the day, what can he expect or look forward to?
VR:I would like young people to do it for themselves, not for other people. Use the sport to build discipline, self-confidence and overall health. Then enjoy the benefit of looking good but the foundation cannot be based upon just looking good. Looking good is the icing on the cake and the short term goal. If they only body build for the sake of physical competition they may become quickly disenchanted but if they use it to create healthy disciplined habits, they can expect great things in all avenues of their life.
SR: Why do you think the Teenage Division numbers have dropped so dramatically in the past 20 years?
SR: If Drug Testing were brought back would you support it?
VR: I would support responsible, objective medical monitoring to ensure healthy competition but not necessary drug testing just for the sake of drug testing.
SR: What motto do you live by now that you're a father?
VR: My Motto is to live your life to the best of your ability, not live to the expectation of others.
SR: What did you hate most about the industry?
VR: "Hate" is a word I avoid, but as I mentioned earlier, I am truly disappointed with greed, deception and inhumanity that infiltrated the sport.
SR: What defines who you are as a man?
VR: Like everyone, my experiences in life and how I have chosen to deal with those experiences.
SR: If you were running the industry today, what 3 things would you do immediately to make the sport better for the athletes?
VR: First, create a union. Second, hire a good P.R professional to promote and change the negative image of Bodybuilding with general public. Finally, sponsor objective medical monitoring to ensure healthy, sustainable competition for every bodybuilder who wants to compete while making sure that all Pro bodybuilders have full health care coverage.
SR: How do you find living in Portland, Oregon as opposed to California?
VR: It is peaceful, non superficial, environmentally health consious and in general has more polite people.
SR: What are you working on up there these days, any projects in the works?
VR: I am planning to develop a Wellness Center on large acreage or a mini farm. A place where people can come learn about holistic bodybuilding in a natural, serene setting while dining on organic meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables A full service wilderness retreat where people can get healthy and enjoy natural surroundings as well.
SR: What’s it like being a father for you compared to your Single days?
VR: I am less materialistic and selfish. I have come to understand that one's life is much more than "one” life." It is about far more than just me as an individual.
SR: With Dexter Jackson being chosen Mr. Olympia by the Judges, are we heading in the right direction with his look?
VR:I am unclear about what one's "look" refers to in this business but I will say that it will take much more than a “look” to transform this industry. Everyone will have to work together for true change. Arnold was a wonderful ambassador for bodybuilding and we should all follow his lead, so that no one bodybuilder will ever be pressured to achieve any one "Look" for the sport to succeed.
SR: What are the Bodybuilders of today seriously in need of?
SR: At your age, do you feel the need to be carrying the body mass you have now necessary or is it just genetics weighing in over 300lbs today?
VR: At 5'10 I look too thin at 250 pounds, so I believe for me, it is primarily genetic.
SR: When you die, how would you like to be remembered? What would you like people to say?
VR: I would like to be remembered as a person of integrity, a person who did not compromise his beliefs, regardless of whether those beliefs were popular or not.
SR: If you had it to do all over again, what would you change?
VR:I would have spent more time with my family. I also would have done more of the activities that I enjoy like camping, fishing and sailing.
SR: You were quoted famously as eating as many as 30,000 calories a day, you want to go on record and clarify this statement?
VR: I have certainly eaten 15,000 -20,000 calories in one day- but not every day! Anyone familiar with Caribbean cuisine knows that it is not unusual to have huge meals averaging 7,000 calories. If you have a few of those meals over a 24 hour period, 20,000 calories is not out of line.
SR: Hypothetically, you just won One Million Dollars, what would you do with it?
VR:A large portion would go to my children's college funds. I would also donate some of it for the health care of my fellow bodybuilders who have had significant health issues as a result of their efforts to earn a living by bodybuilding.
SR: Besides your children, what do you hold nearest to your heart?
VR: My Father and Mother.
SR: Give me some of the best poundage’s you've lifted: Bench- Shoulder Press- Squat- Biceps Curl?
VR:I have bench pressed between 550 on incline bench and 600+ pounds flat bench; 200 pounds on dumbbell press. I’ve done shoulder presses in the range of 450 pounds; squatted nearly 900 pounds, as well I’ve done barbell curls up to 315 pounds and I never liked using a belt or knee wraps.
SR: The true meaning of life for a bodybuilder through the eyes of Victor Richards is……..?
VR:It is about balance of life. The combination of body, mind and spirit all being channeled on the same frequency for ultimate growth. Therefore, building one's body is about life not death, and the results are unique to each individual.
SR: You have the final say, what would you like the world to know about you?
VR: As I mature I started to think about my calling in life and how I ended up in bodybuilding. I never knew anything about the sport and never wanted to be a bodybuilder. I believe that my true destiny in life is to be a teacher. In this sport we have seen pro bodybuilders get very sick, even losing their kidneys. Just because someone is a pro doesn't mean they know what they are doing actually, it is almost to the contrary. Some bodybuilders would drink a gallon of bleach everyday if it meant they could win a trophy. It is my goal to help teach people how to build their body the right way, without compromising their health, whether their goal is to win a trophy or just improve their health.
As always, I can be reached for personal consultations at: www.vicrichards.com
Thank you Shawn, you have always been an inspiration and great role model for anyone who ever walked into a gym, more importantly the professionalism you carried yourself with on and off stage! You’re doing a great job as an ambassador of the sport, continue the great work!
Words from a true “Gentle Giant” in our industry that hopefully will continue to Inspire, Motivate and Stimulate the youth of our world to be more than simply “Muscle Heads” but complete Human Beings that are well rounded and versed in Compassion, Strength, Spirit and Professionalism.
Thanks Victor and Stay Hungry!
what a genetic potencial!
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