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Harold Poole

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The Inspirational Journey of Harold Poole: A Bodybuilding Trailblazer

Harold Poole, born on December 25, 1943, in Louisville, Kentucky, was an extraordinary individual whose journey through the world of bodybuilding left an indelible mark. Poole’s life story is a testament to his remarkable athletic prowess, determination, and resilience, serving as a source of inspiration for generations of bodybuilders and sports enthusiasts.

From the Gridiron to the Stage:
Poole’s early years were characterized by his remarkable athleticism, evident from a young age. He emerged as a quarterback on his high school football team at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, demonstrating both his physical prowess and leadership skills. However, Poole’s athletic talents extended far beyond the football field.

He excelled in the wrestling arena, securing fourth place in the state high school wrestling championships. His speed was unparalleled, as he could run 440 yards in a mere 50 seconds, a testament to his exceptional sprinting ability. Poole’s power was also on full display, as he could propel a 12-pound shot put an astonishing 55 feet. These early achievements hinted at the greatness that lay ahead for this young athlete.

A Pioneering Path in Bodybuilding:
Harold Poole’s journey in the world of bodybuilding began to take shape in 1960 when, at the tender age of 16, he entered the AAU Mr. America competition. His decision to compete was a remarkable feat, considering his youth and relative inexperience in the world of bodybuilding. Despite being the youngest contender, Poole secured an admirable 18th place out of 25 contestants, hinting at his immense potential.

The following years saw Poole’s relentless dedication to the sport. At only 17 years old, he rose from 18th to an impressive 4th place in the 1961 AAU Mr. America competition. His rapid improvement continued, culminating in an extraordinary showing in the 1962 AAU Mr. America, where he not only placed second but also secured the prestigious Most Muscular award, a testament to his growing muscular prowess.

A Remarkable Feat of Resilience:
The path to success was not without its challenges. In the 1963 AAU Mr. America competition, despite a close contest with fellow bodybuilder Joe Abbenda, Poole ultimately finished second. Notably, Poole’s journey was marked by more than just athletic prowess; he faced a speech impediment that caused him to stutter. In an attempt to overcome this obstacle, he attended a speech school for a year before the 1963 competition.

A New Beginning with the IFBB:
Fueled by determination and the desire to showcase his talents on a larger stage, Harold Poole decided to transition from the AAU to the IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness) in 1963. Poole’s remarkable journey reached new heights when, at the age of 19, he clinched victory in the 1963 IFBB Mr. Universe competition, making him the youngest Mr. Universe competitor at the time.

A Legacy of Inspiration:
Harold Poole continued to be an active businessman, operating a gym and discothèque. His reach extended far beyond the bodybuilding realm, as he served as a bodyguard for renowned fashion model Twiggy, accompanying her on her travels across North and South America, as well as the UK.

Retirement and Induction into Hall of Fame:
Poole’s competitive journey reached its conclusion following the 1982 IFBB Night Of Champions, where he placed outside the top 10. Despite his retirement from competitive bodybuilding, he remained committed to his passion for fitness and martial arts until the end of 2010, when he relocated to New York City.

In recognition of his monumental contributions to the sport, Harold Poole was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2004 and the WBBG Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008, he was honored as the Greatest Teenage Bodybuilder of All-Time, a testament to his enduring impact.

A Tribute to a Legend:
Harold Poole passed away in New York City on August 7, 2014, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and resonate with athletes and bodybuilding enthusiasts worldwide.

Harold Poole’s journey serves as a poignant reminder that greatness knows no boundaries. His unwavering dedication, resilience, and trailblazing spirit continue to inspire individuals to push their limits and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination. Harold Poole will forever remain a symbol of triumph over adversity and a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Harold Poole Bodybuilding Competition History

1960
Mr America – AAU, 18th
Mr Mid-America – AAU, Most Muscular, 2nd

1961
Mr America – AAU, 4th
Junior Mr America – AAU, Central Overall Winner

1962
Mr America – AAU, Most Muscular, 1st
Mr America – AAU, 2nd
Mr North America – AAU, Winner

1963
Mr America – AAU, Most Muscular, 1st
Mr America – AAU, 2nd
Teen Mr America – AAU, 2nd
Universe – IFBB, Tall, 1st
Universe – IFBB, Overall Winner

1964
Mr America – IFBB, Tall, 1st
Mr America – IFBB, Overall Winner

1965
Olympia – IFBB, 2nd

1966
Olympia – IFBB, 2nd

1967
Pro Mr America – WBBG, Winner
Olympia – IFBB, 3rd

1968
Pro Mr America – WBBG, Winner

1971
Mr USA – IFBB, Tall, 1st

1972
Mr World – IFBB, Tall, 3rd

1979
Canada Pro Cup – IFBB, Did not place

1980
Night of Champions – IFBB, 11th

1981
Canada Pro Cup – IFBB, 9th
Grand Prix California – IFBB, Did not place
Grand Prix New England – IFBB, 9th
Night of Champions – IFBB, 6th

1982
World Pro Championships – IFBB, 9th

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