Opinions on the ideal physique and the impact of contractual obligations have been subjects of debate for decades. One individual who never shied away from expressing his views was the legendary Sergio Oliva. In a candid statement, he touched upon the dominance of Mike Mentzer, the influence of the Weider contract, and his perspective on renowned bodybuilders.
The crux of Oliva’s statement revolves around his unequivocal support for Mike Mentzer, declaring, “Mentzer all the way. There is no doubt about it.” Oliva, known for his exceptional physique and three Mr. Olympia titles, appreciated the unique qualities that Mentzer brought to the bodybuilding arena.
However, Oliva didn’t mince words when discussing the contractual ties that bound certain bodybuilders to Joe Weider. Drawing a distinction, he emphasized, “Mike came from the outside; Zane was with Weider. Don’t let anybody fool you. Zane, Arnold, Columbu, Haney… all those guys were under contract.”
The mention of Lee Haney, whom Oliva considered a friend, didn’t escape scrutiny. Oliva expressed his respect for Haney but questioned whether, in the “old days,” Haney would have clinched the Mr. Olympia title. According to Oliva, Haney’s physique was deemed unproportional, lacking in certain areas such as arms and calves.
Dorian Yates, another celebrated bodybuilder, faced Oliva’s critical gaze. Oliva contended that Yates possessed a physique that was not complete, citing a “belly like a cow and no arms.” This critique underscored Oliva’s commitment to what he deemed proportional and symmetrical in bodybuilding.
The crux of Oliva’s argument was the influence of contractual obligations on the outcomes of major competitions. He suggested that in a contest not dominated by Weider’s influence, the results might have been different. Oliva proposed a hypothetical scenario, stating, “If they put Zane and Mentzer together in a contest that was not Weider dominated, then Mike would have won.”
In shedding light on these perspectives, Sergio Oliva’s statement becomes a window into the complexities of the bodybuilding world, where ideals, contracts, and personal relationships shape the narrative of success on the competitive stage.