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SERGIO OLIVA PASSED AWAY
by Andrew Michalak
Just two days after the 66th World Men’s Championships, on November 12th, 2012, a sad news reached the world of sport: famous bodybuilder Sergio Oliva has passed away at the age of 71 after suffering from kidney disease. He was famous not only because of his sport achievement but also because of his inspirational and unique life story.
Oliva was born in Cuba on July 4, 1941. Grew up working with father his father in the sugar cane fields. When he was 16, his father convinced him to join the Batista’s Army and fight against the Fidel Castro forces. After the victory of the Castro revolution, he spent most of the time on the beach where he met one a colleague who invited him to the weightlifting club. Sergio emerged as a gifted weightlifter and after some time he qualified to the national weightlifting team for the 1962 Pan American Games in Jamaica. Being there, he took the risk and run away from the guarded headquarter of the Cuban team to the US Consulate there. Soon, 65 other Cuban athletes followed him. Maybe this 60-meter-run was the most important decision in his life.
Receiving the US asylum, he went to Miami but being afraid of his live (Castro agents) he moved to Chicago and started to work in the local police. Also continued to train a gym, doing unbelievable progresses in muscle and strength development. This led him to the local bodybuilding contest and then to the IFBB international competition. He was nicknamed "The Myth" (El Mito) due to his unbelievable size and muscularity.
Winning the 1966 Mr. World he qualified to the IFBB Mr. Olympia that same year but lost to Larry Scott. Her returned the next year, won the Olympia title, and became unbeatable in the next two years: 1968 and 1969. He was the only bodybuilder who won over Arnold Schwarzenegger on stage (in 1969). They both met once again in 1970 but this time Arnold was the winner. The same happened in 1972. Sergio returned to Mr. Olympia contest at the age of 43, finishing in the 8th position in 1984 and 1985, when he finished his competitive career.
Once again returned to newspapers’ pages in 1986, being shot by his then-wife Arleen Garrett. He sustained 5 bullet wounds.
Oliva starred in two Mexican action films: “El Poder Negro” (Black Power) and "Los Terribles" (The Terrible Ones). In 1999 he was inducted into the Joe Weider IFBB Hall of Fame.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has paid tribute to bodybuilding icon Sergio Oliva. In his blog Mr. Schwarzenegger writes - "Sergio Oliva was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time & a true friend. A fierce competitor with a big personality - one of a kind."
http://www.ifbb.com/newsletter/detail.p … prov=index