Samir Bannout and The Golden Age of Bodybuilding

There’s a explanation why that the Nineteen Eighties are thought to be a “Golden Age” within the historical past of bodybuilding. Champions within the game integrated such vintage legends as Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Franco Columbu – and Samir Bannout. Those competition all had tremendous aesthetic physiques and weren’t so massive that more youthful bodybuilders couldn’t aspire to practice

There’s a explanation why that the Nineteen Eighties are thought to be a “Golden Age” within the historical past of bodybuilding. Champions within the game integrated such vintage legends as Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Franco Columbu – and Samir Bannout. These competitors all had super aesthetic physiques and weren’t so massive that more youthful bodybuilders couldn’t aspire to practice of their footsteps.

Big Ramy is an amazing and deserving Mr. Olympia. However there aren’t many younger bodybuilders in gyms world wide who have a look at him and say, “One day I’m going to construct a body like that.”

There additionally befell a confluence of forces that befell all through that length. Muscle & Health Mag was once so rapidly a success it was once referred to as “the publishing miracle of the Nineteen Eighties” through the trade. As a result of Joe Weider was once positioned in Los Angeles, and had many of the best bodybuilders beneath contract, lots of the execs both lived within the house or visited frequently. Me and different Weider photographers have been all the time capturing them at Gold’s Fitness center or within the studio, which helped Gold’s, Venice earn its recognition because the “Mecca of bodybuilding.”

Bodybuilder Samir Bannout wearing red shorts and smirking
Samir Bannout at Gold’s Fitness center in Venice, “The Mecca of Bodybuilding”. Invoice Dobbins

As a result of footage in Muscle & Health and Flex have been most commonly completed on the fitness center in Venice, this introduced bodybuilders from in every single place the sector to coach there the place they may rub shoulders with the champions of the day. If truth be told, such a lot of guests got here from overseas international locations, particularly in the summertime, I used to shaggy dog story that I felt I wanted a visa to exercise on the fitness center.

Samir Bannout working out his legs in Gold's Gym
The Lion of Lebannon educated for the Olympia at Venice Gold’s. Invoice Dobbins

A few of the different champions at the fitness center flooring, one of the distinguished was once Samir Bannout, referred to as “the Lion of Lebanon”, Samir left his local Lebanon and emigrated to The united states the place he first moved to Detroit, Michigan and later relocated to Santa Monica, California. He started competing on the newbie stage the place he rose up the ranks and sooner or later accomplished IFBB professional standing through successful the light-heavyweight magnificence on the 1979 IFBB Global Beginner Championships. Bannout took 4th position on the 1982 Mr. Olympia contest and returned the next 12 months to

Munich, Germany to take house the Olympia identify in 1983. Bannout weighed 196 lbs. for his win on the contest which made him the ultimate Mr. Olympia to weigh beneath 200 lbs. His victory ended what’s known as the “aesthetics” generation for the Mr. Olympia contest which had initially began with American Frank Zane successful the identify in 1977 and reverted to emphasizing larger mass and dimension beginning with American Lee Haney successful in 1984 for the primary time and following up his inaugural victory with 7 further consecutive wins for a document grand overall of 8 titles.

Samir posing in green shorts
A vintage body proven hitting a vintage bodybuilding pose. Invoice Dobbins

This was once the ultimate length in professional bodybuilding earlier than the arriving of the “muscle monsters,” champions like Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman and next extra actually giant Mr. Olympia winners. Nowadays, Samir can be within the 212-pound magnificence, as would Zane, Lee Labrada, Franco Columbu, Wealthy Gaspari, Shawn Ray, Bob Paris and plenty of different legends of the length. At the present time, even the “smaller” professional bodybuilders have a tendency to weigh greater than 212 kilos and should compete on degree subsequent to physiques which can be 270, 290 and even 300 kilos.

Samir Bannout showing his aesthetic
For Samir Bannout, aesthetics are extra necessary than sheer mass. Invoice Dobbins

“Like every critical bodybuilder, “Samir says, “I labored onerous to construct muscle after I began coaching. However I used to be by no means excited about mass for the sake of mass. Bodybuilding to me has all the time been about aesthetic high quality, sculptural element. We have a tendency to respect statues of athletes from historic Greece or the sculptures of Michelangelo no longer simply because they’re muscular however as a result of all that muscle is gifted as so stunning.”

I photographed Samir again and again on degree and within the fitness center. Then at some point in 1989 we made up our minds to visit within reach Marina Del Rey and do out of doors footage within the nice California seaside daylight. Samir was once no longer in ripped contest form, however he regarded excellent, and you should surely see the cultured qualities that made him a champion. I remembered this photograph consultation not too long ago and went taking a look via my huge photograph library for the photographs.

Samir Bannout at Marina Del Rey
Samir Bannout at Marina Del Rey, 1989. Invoice Dobbins

It became out that the type of colour slide movie had used was once Kodachrome 25, which created very top quality and unique tones. The one downside is when those frames have been fixed on cardboard slide mounts, they infrequently ended up having the sides somewhat clipped. Besides it’s glaring that those pictures are value sharing with Samir’s many buddies, enthusiasts and admirers. For something, they make it transparent why the early 1980s were considered a Golden Age – and why.

As champions proceed to get larger and extra huge, there may be rising nostalgia for a time when aesthetic and high quality have been extra necessary sides of a champion body and sheer mass merely wasn’t that massive an element.

Samir Bannout sitting on the ocean cliff
Samir and surf. Invoice Dobbins

Samir Bannout Bodybuilding Pageant Historical past

· 2011 IFBB Professional Global Masters Bodybuilding eleventh

· 1996 Masters Mr. Olympia sixth

· 1994 Mr. Olympia nineteenth

· 1994 Grand Prix Spain twelfth

· 1994 Grand Prix Italy twelfth

· 1994 Grand Prix Germany thirteenth

· 1994 Grand Prix England 14th

· 1993 San Jose Professional Invitational tenth

· 1993 Ironman Professional Invitational thirteenth

· 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger Vintage thirteenth

· 1992 Mr. Olympia sixteenth

· 1992 Grand Prix Germany eleventh

· 1992 Arnold Schwarzenegger Vintage N/A

· 1991 Mr. Olympia sixteenth

· 1990 NABBA Global Championships Skilled second

· 1990 Pittsburgh Professional Invitational 1st (Winner)

· 1990 Mr. Olympia eighth

· 1990 Houston Professional Invitational 2rd

· 1990 Grand Prix Italy sixth

· 1990 Grand Prix Finland fifth

· 1990 Grand Prix England sixth

· 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger Vintage 4th

· 1989 Mr. Olympia ninth

· 1989 Grand Prix Sweden third

· 1989 Grand Prix Spain (second) fifth

· 1989 Grand Prix Spain fifth

· 1989 Grand Prix Holland fifth

· 1989 Grand Prix Germany fifth

· 1989 Grand Prix France eighth

· 1989 Grand Prix Finland sixth

· 1989 Arnold Schwarzenegger Vintage 4th

· 1988 Grand Prix Italy ninth

· 1988 Grand Prix England tenth

· 1986 WABBA Global Championship 1st

· 1985 WABBA Global Championship 1st

· 1984 Global Grand Prix fifth

· 1984 Mr. Olympia sixth

· 1984 Canada Professional Cup fifth

· 1983 Mr. Olympia 1st

· 1982 Mr. Olympia 4th

· 1982 Grand Prix Sweden second

· 1981 Mr. Olympia ninth

· 1981 Night time of Champions tenth

· 1981 Grand Prix New England sixth

· 1981 Grand Prix California seventh

· 1980 Pittsburgh Professional Invitational N/A

· 1980 Mr. Olympia fifteenth

· 1980 Night time of Champions tenth

· 1980 Grand Prix Pennsylvania seventh

· 1980 Grand Prix California 4th

· 1979 Global Beginner Championships, Mild Heavyweight 1st

· 1979 Canada Professional Cup, N/A

· 1979 Highest within the Global, Beginner 1st

· 1978 Mr. World, Middleweight second

· 1977 Mr. World, Middleweight second

· 1976 Mr. Universe, Middleweight twelfth

· 1974 Mr. Universe, Medium Magnificence seventh (Youngest contestant)

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