Chris Dickerson, Breaking Bodybuilding Barriers, Dies at 82

America’s win was more important than muscle.

Like Miss America, Mr. America was expected to represent “this incredible image of the most perfect, virile American man.” 1970s, he said in a phone call. Besides their physique, the jury also took into account the contestants’ interview skills and their potential to represent the sport positively at a national level.

Black athletes have repeatedly claimed the competition’s Most Muscular title: Arthur Harris did it in 1959, and Cuban Sergio Oliva followed in 1965 and 66. But overall victory had never before gone to a non-white opponent.

Mr Dickerson said this groundbreaking win was even more important to him than the Mr. Olympia title. “As the first man of color to win the contest, I had to say a few words,” he said in an interview. Bodybuilding Legends Show in 2015. “I didn’t want to make it a race issue, but the truth is, it was.”

Colleagues said he stuck to the basics when competing: an impressively sculpted physique and a quiet homage to the sport. He was known for his grace in posing, informed by the ballet lessons he took as a young man.

“He brought class, dignity and culture to bodybuilding,” said Mr. Neylon.

1980 in Sydney, Australia. In the Olympia competition, Mr. Dickerson took second place after future governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. California. Some attributed this result to nepotism. in 2009 paper Published in Iron Game History: The Journal of Physical Culture, Mr. Dickerson took note of the obstacles he faced in bodybuilding. The organizer of the Mr. Olympia contest said he was “a really despicable life, a bigot, who didn’t really like me partly on racial grounds and partly because of my sexual orientation.”

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