Sergio Oliva - History and Life of "The Myth"

It all started in 1941. On July 4 in a family of 22 brothers and sisters Sergio was born. He was born in Guanabacoa, Havana, Cuba.

At 12 years old he was helping his father by working in the sugar cane fields and later (around 16 years old)was enrolled in army.

It is considered that the nickname "The Myth" he got after 1967 Montreal World's Fair because he was so huge for those times.

However before that let's talk about how he went into weightlifting & bodybulding....

Some say that once when he was hanging out on the beach and a guy he met there invited him to the local weightlifting club and Sergio loved so much lifting weights that after just 6 months he was already lifting over 300lbs in clean and jerks exercise.

Sergio started to compete and in 1962 he took second place at National Weightlifting Championship for Cuba and in the same year he was chosen to represent Cuba at the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games hosted in Kingston, Jamaica and that was the time when he ran to the American Consulate and demanded political asylum which he received.

Sergio Oliva is considered by most to be the world's most genetically gifted bodybuilder... He set a whole new standard for competitive bodybuilding;

In fact his arms were bigger than Arnold's and may be everyone else at those times. In The Nautilus Book, Volume II by Arthur Jones who actually measured arms in those times of best bodybuilders and Sergio had 20.5 inches arms(in some sources it says 22.5 inches).

Did you know that in USA he worked as a TV repairman, also later he was working in foundry and as a policeman and in all these he always had time for working out. He had an incredible work ethic.

His first American bodybuilding contest awas in the 1963 and he won it - Mr. Chicagoland.

Sergio was the first non-white bodybuilder to win Mr.Olympia contest.

In 1967 he won his first Mr.Olympia contest, then he won it again in 1968(we read that in 1968 uncontested and unchallenged) and in 1969 he won it again beating well known Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold later wrote in one of his books that Sergio was so huge and that is when Arnold understoo why everyone called him "The Myth".

Before their last Olympia battle with Arnold, Sergio sent him a letter with his biceps where it was huge and he put a note there "see you at the Olympia" :) Arnold was shocked at Sergio's size!

It seems that Sergio was one of those bodybuilders who pushed Arnold more than others did.

Sergio was from a family with many children and he was used to hard work.

A shocking thing happened with Sergio in 1986 when his wife shot him and he sustained 5 bullet wounds. Well, may be his mass saved him then or at leas helped.

From what we read is that Sergio had some issues with joints (may be due to incorrect training technique during his early days into weightlifting) so he changed his approach to training. He started to train not doing full exercise movement. This helped him move forward.

He was a hard worker. After a full day of working at his job (physical work) he came to the gym and trained there.

Also he was using antagonist training method - when you train opposing muscle groups.

As he says: "You had to work hard all day. It was so intensive that in every contest, from the first one to the last one in ’84, I only dieted three weeks out from the show. I didn’t need to diet; I was eating everything."

Sergio died at the age of 71 on November 12 2012. Rest in Peace Champion.


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