Robert Gardner / M + F Magazine
November 29, 2019 would have been the 100th birthday of Joe Weider. I was fortunate to have an 18-year collaboration with Joe who passed away on March 23, 2013. He was initially an employer who had turned into my mentor, then into a friend and eventually became like a second father. If he works so closely with him, there is one word that summarizes him completely: visionary.
For over 70 years, Joe preached that a bodybuilding lifestyle was a healthy endeavor for everyone, and he was driven by the idea of turning fitness visions into reality.
Joe invited me to move from the United Kingdom to the US in 1991 and work for FLEX. I quickly realized that Joe absolutely loved bodybuilding: he loved it (and he trained almost every day until his 80s) and he loved talking about it. He forever promoted a fitness lifestyle to make his 10 predictions made in 1950 come true.
Joe Weider was really a workaholic. He loved being in the office and loathed vacationing. In 1996, the 35th wedding anniversary of Joe and his wife Betty was just around the corner.
Betty approached Joe to celebrate, vacationing, and spent "four days in San Francisco, four days in Las Vegas, and four days in New York. "Considering the itinerary, Joe rubbed his chin and said: 'Hmm, let me down for the four days in San Francisco.'"
WHAT WOULD THINK?
How would Joe have looked through the scene during the 55th Mr. Olympia tournament in Las Vegas in September? The father of bodybuilding would have looked around the Orleans Arena and admired the efforts of promoter Dan Solomon and his team. He would have seen the 15,000 spectators for the Mr. Olympia finals and known the hundreds of athletes who competed in various divisions throughout the weekend. His predictions were not focused on the needs of elite hardcore bodybuilders. He wanted to provide all people with health and fitness – and the numerous activities on Olympia Weekend fulfilled this dream.
Joe would have been impressed by the over 300 booths that attracted nearly 65,000 fans. He would have wondered about $ 1.4 million in prize money, especially compared to the 1965 Olympics, when Larry Scott won a $ 1,000 check and won out of a three-man field.
Joe Weider created this industry, made us all disciples through his vision, faith, competitions and magazines. Perhaps many did not notice it at the 2019 Olympics, but Joe took each of them to Olympia, his world of bodybuilding. The world he created not only changed the look, it also changed life – millions of them.
Joe Weider's legacy continues to grow – as befits a bodybuilding company – as he predicted all those years ago.