Reflecting On Winning The 1966 Mr. Olympia By Larry Scott

“So one Mr. Olympia was over.” Scott told us. “I was thrilled to have won this competition and getting a win over Poole and Maynard, two of the very best bodybuilders in the world. Some very weird things happened afterwards.”

“I was told that spectators were still waiting outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music untill 3am. Joe Weider told me he hadn’t seen or heard this much excitement since he took Betty to a Beatles concert. Beatlemania was going crazy then. Joe suggested this might be “Scottmania”

“I was starting to feel uncomfortable with how the Olympia was being publicized. Ricky Wayne was a sensation in competing in the Mr. Universe. We would soon see that he had another skill – writing. He would write his account of the 1965 Mr. Olympia and although the article was excellent, he referred to me as “The 8th Wonder of the World.” I was Mr. Olympia. I did not consider myself a “wonder”

Scott continued. “Bud Parker, the VP for the IFBB for North America writing in Muscle Builder declared, “last year we sent our invitations. This year we are sending out a challenge. You bodybuilders claiming to be the greatest, show up in the Mr Olympia. Compete against Scott. Show up or shut up.” Pretty bold talk. I didn’t like that sort of talk. That wasn’t me. I knew what they were trying to do. Really build the Mr. Olympia up. But I didn’t like the way they were doing it.”

“Jon Twinchell writing for Iron Man magazine said, “In his present condition Scott is a match for anyone in the world. In fact, the real question is, is there anyone who is a match for Scott? C’mon Bill Pearl, Reg Park and anyone else. Can you match up to Scott?”

“Even Dan Lurie who was a rival to Joe Weider in his magazine Muscle Training Illustrated wrote; “Compared to Scott, the farnese Hercules looks like a 97 lb weakling.”

“I had made tremendous progress between 1964 and 1965 and was thrilled to win the Mr. Olympia. I was not happy with this publicity although I was flattered, I considered myself a mere mortal and the best in the IFBB, perhaps the best in 1965. I never put myself in the same class as Bill Pearl or Reg Park.”

“In early 1966, I did an interview for Weiders Mr. America magazine and stated that I would like to compete in and defend the Mr. Olympia over 5 years. This was before I saw these articles. I didn’t like the direction the promoters were taking the Mr. Olympia.”

“Another event that occurred to me in 1966 was meeting a very special woman named Rachel. She would become Mrs. Larry Scott. Some of you may know that I was married once before. The marriage didn’t work out. I was working a full time job, going to night school and training 2 hours a day pre contest. I couldn’t build a houseplant on that schedule let alone a relationship. My ex wife was a great person. We divorced in a christian and friendly way, but the pain was there for a long time. She was a good woman. I wanted to be Mr. Universe and had to work for a living. Didn’t give me much time for anything else. Can’t blame her. However, I was determined to never allow this to ever happen again.”

“Training for the 1966 Mr. Olympia was difficult. I wanted to move on with my life. Vince (Gironda) was on my back. “Get serious or get out Scott. Don’t embarrass me, my gym or yourself. If you are not going to train and take the Olympia seriously, drop out.” I was going through the motions. Training, but not with the right intensity.”

“Then several factors took place. First, I was told that Chuck Sipes was officially entering the 1966 Mr. Olympia. Like Poole was pre 1965, he was undefeated in the IFBB and had won Mr. America and Mr Universe. He was a real life legend and one of my heroes. So to compete against Sipes was exciting.”

“Then there was Freddy Ortiz. Yeah Ortiz again. This time he made his way from New York to California to train at Vinces. I remember walking into the gym. Freddy was laying face down on the hack squat machine doing hack machine calf raises. His lats were incredible! I looked down and his calves were looking great too. We shook hands and spoke for awhile. Freddy was now being trained by Vince. And he was looking incredible.”

Freddy Ortiz went to California to train for the 1966 IFBB Mr. Eastern America and the fall IFBB Mr. America and Mr. Olympia contests.

“I first laid my eyes on Rachel as I was driving in Los Angeles in my then new Porsche. When I saw her, I couldn’t believe my eyes. So I turned my car around, parked, approached her and ask her out. I knew right away that we were destined to be soulmates. And right then was when my passion for bodybuilding died.”

“Joe Weider made one of his regular trips to California checking on his Santa Monica office. Joe told me that Poole is in the best best shape of his life and then dropped the big bomb on me by saying that Sergio Oliva was definitely crossing over to the IFBB and would be competing in the fall show including the Olympia.”

“I asked Joe, ‘Doesn’t he have to qualify to compete in the Mr Olympia by winning Mr. America or Mr. Universe first?’ Joe told me that Oliva already qualified by winning the AAU Jr. Mr. America and most muscular man in the AAU Jr-Sr. Mr. America and Mr. USA contests. Joe assured me that Sergio would be competing in either the Mr. America or Mr. World contests. Possibly the Universe which was slated to be held overseas in Bagdad,”

“Sergio is definitely entering the Mr. Olympia. He feels pretty convinced he can win.” Joe told me. And I hear he looks incredible. About 20 lbs heavier than last year. He got robbed in the AAU Mr. America and is officially done with them. York is supposed to sponsor him to the NABBA Mr. Universe which will be held one week after the IFBB show in NY.”

“I had heard enough about Oliva being the greatest and figured that this would be a great way to exit my bodybuilding career. If I could beat Poole again plus Sipes and Oliva, it would be a notable way to finish my career.”

Sergio Oliva had enough of AAU racist politics and switched to the IFBB in 1966. Announced he would be competing against Scott, Poole and Sipes in the Mr. Olympia.

“Some of my friends warned me about competing against Oliva. ‘This guy is a beast Larry. He might beat you.’ My response was that if you want to win the top title in bodybuilding which is what the Mr. Olympia is, then you have to compete against the very best. If I lost to Oliva, so be it.”

“So I stepped up my training. Sat down with Vince and formulated a training strategy. First thing Vince did was take to the back room and had me pose for him. He looked me over. He was nodding his head in a negative way.”

“You were in a lot better shape at this point last year. We have a lot of time to make up. I’ll have to redesign your training for you. We’ll do super sets and tri sets and something new, Giant Sets. 5 exercises in a row without rest. This will create hypertrophy and burn away fat and increase muscularity.”

“We’re also going to change your routine around. Some days you will be working the same bodypart twice, other times only once. This is muscle confusion. Weider calls it the “Weider Muscle Confusion” principle, but he learned it from me.”

“Vince was not just great at designing workouts, he was right there with me training and coaching sometimes screaming at me. Vince was not the easiest guy to get along with. But he was a great trainer. Some guys hated him. I loved the way he pushed me. And I needed it.”

“Rachel was very supportive of me in training for this what would be my final bodybuilding competition. I kept reassuring her that this would be my last hurrah and then my focus would be on building a family, not my muscles.”

“September, 1966 came and my long flight to NY for the 1966 Mr. Olympia. I got there a day early and as like in 1965, attended the prejudging for the smaller contests. We were told that there would be three other contests, Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe. The overseas promoter for the Universe backed out.”

“In June, Joe Weider told me that Harold Poole and Earl Maynard would be competing in the Mr. World. I figured this would give me a chance to scout them. Turned out that Poole saved himself for the Olympia and Maynard got a gig with a pro wrestling promoter so dropped out.”

“In the Mr. America it was exciting. I was hoping for my friend and fellow Vinces Gym member Don Howorth to win. He had tough competition. Chet Yorton looked awesome and there was Frank Zane who made fabulous progress from 1965. Also Jesse Rock Stonewall. Anyone of these three would have made a worthy winner. I picked Yorton even though I was hoping Howorth would win. And as it turned out Yorton did win and one week later he beat Arnold Schwarzenegger for the NABBA Mr. Universe. As in 1965, I predicted that Yorton would be a major threat if he entered the Olympia. He was one of the most underrated bodybuilders. Wins over Howorth, Zane and Arnold proved that.”

Scott said that he thought Chet Yorton was one of the most under rated bodybuilders and would be a serious challenger for the Olympia if he competed. Yorton beat Zane and Howorth for the 1966 IFBB Mr. America.

How good was Yorton? He beat Arnold for the NABBA Mr. Universe. That is saying something. Yorton was one of only three men to beat Arnold.

“I sat with Vince as we watched the prejudging. Yorton looked fantastic. I told Vince that if he competes in the Mr. Olympia, I am going to be in trouble. Vince just nodded and said, ‘You can beat this guy easy.’

“The next contest was the Mr. World do now we would get a chance to see Sergio. There was no doubt that Oliva would win this contest easily. AND HE DID! Vince was taking notes. My jaw dropped when I saw Oliva. He was much bigger than when I saw him a year ago at the AAU Mr. America. In fact, he was bigger than anyone I had ever seen. I had guest posed with Reg Park in South Africa. Park was around 235 lbs and Oliva looked much larger than Reg. And such a small waist. Incredible.”

Oliva made incredible progress from 1965 to 1966. Before Rick Wayne called him the myth, others were calling him the beast. He was huge.

“Vince is perhaps the most critical person I know of bodybuilders. He kept pointing out flaws in Oliva. I wasn’t as convinced as Vince was that Oliva had that many flaws. When Oliva turned to the side, Vince busted out laughing and said, ‘That butt would look good on a female, but not on a male bodybuilder.”

Vince Gironda thought that Oliva had a “big butt”

“Vince also told me that Oliva’s delt’s looked underdeveloped. His traps were too big. His biceps were huge but lacked peak and refinement. Then Vince let out, ‘He reminds me of a better developed version of Grimek. JCG ruined his physique with too much heavy lifting. Looks like Oliva is doing the same.”

While Oliva was naturally broad shouldered, Vince Gironda thought Oliva’s delts were underdeveloped probably because his traps were over developed. According to Vince and Scott, traps bully the delts. If you build big traps first, you will have a very hard time if ever building your delts.

Oliva was supposed to be sponsored by York to compete in the 1966 NABBA Mr. Universe. York withdrew the sponsorship when they heard that Oliva was competing in the IFBB. York made up some crap about Oliva’s citizenship which wasn’t true and then later defended their decision by saying that “Oliva entered a competition where he was guaranteed a title” Excuse me. Oliva lost to Scott in the Mr. Olympia. How was he guaranteed a title???

Sergio Oliva competed very successfully in AAU sanctioned olympic weightlifting. Vince Gironda felt that the heavy weightlifting may have ruined Oliva’s natural lines.

Sergio did manage to win the Mr. World competition which qualified him to compete in the Mr. Olympia.

Big Dave Draper would win the Mr. Universe title. Draper looked fantastic and was another man that Scott said could seriously challenge for the Mr. Olympia if he competed.

“Joe Weider and promoter Bud Parker told us that this year there would be a posedown among the Mr. Olympia contestants. Since the Mr. Olympia was not prejudged, this would give the judges a chance to see all contestants side by side and since this would be shown publicly, would also give the audience more of a show as well. I was all for it.”

“Vince was advising me on what poses to do during the posedown. Vince said, ‘When Oliva hits that pose, you do this. Don’t try and match him in his pet poses like the lat spreads. When he does the arms overhead pose, you do your double biceps, knuckles forward. Show your superior deltoid development and overal aesthetic qualities. Oliva is big with small joints but he has a lot of weak points. You will beat him easily’ Vince was reminding me of my old gymnastic coach. I wasn’t as optimistic as he was on my being able to beat Oliva easily”

“I picked Draper to win the Mr. Universe easily and he did. And I thought I would be in trouble if Big Dave entered the Olympia. Word was that Dave would wait untill 1967 to compete in the Olympia and such was the case.”

“The night show came. All of the contestants did their posing routines and looked incredible. Harold Poole as pumping up. No tank top this time. Now he was in his posing trunks doing heavy shrugs with 400+ lbs and upright rows. He would come over to me and hit a most muscular shot and he was in the best shape of his career. Bigger than in 1963 and more muscular than ever. He looked awesome.”

“I’m going to win this year Larry. Been training my butt off.”

“I wished him good luck and didn’t want to admit it or show any weakness, but I knew I had my work cut out for me. Poole looked incredible. This was going to be a wild contest.”

“Chuck Sipes was off to the other side doing some heavy bench presses. Looked like he had loaded the barbell to over 500 lbs and was getting ready to bench it. I asked him if he needed a spot. Chuck just smiled and said, ‘not for this weight. Maybe when I go heavier.’ I thought yee gods. Chuck did a couple of reps fairly easy. I couldn’t believe the power this guy has. After the bench presses, Chuck would grab an ez curl bar and so some pullovers and tricep ext.”

“We heard Bud Parker announce the winners of the contest. Not surprisingly Yorton won the America, Oliva the World and Draper the Universe. All worthy winners.”

“Oliva scurried back to the pump up room. I thought he was taking a workout. He did bench presses and then chins, then behind the neck press and upright rows, then some squats, curls and triceps ext.”

“The expediter told us to get ready. Oliva said he needed more time to pump up. It sounded like Oliva was supposed to be the first contestant, he complained so they send Sipes out first while Oliva kept pumping.”

“I listened to the audience. They went wild over Sipes and I could see that he was in the best shape of his life. In my opinion, his only weaknesses were his legs and back, which were not bad, just underpar compared to the rest of his physique. Huge chest, thick pects and incredible abs. HE was one of the first big men to have great abs. Also very muscular and vascular. Veins popping out all over. Chuck was in his late 30s, by far the oldest competitor and looked amazing.”

“Vince grabbed me and told me to get ready. I went over and did some neck presses, pulldonws, side laterals, delt presses and curls. Meanwhile, Oliva grabs a 225 lb olympic barbell, cleans it and does I guess what seemed like 8 very ez reps. And then looks at me and asks if I can do that.”

“I told him that this is not an AAU contest and there are no points for weight lifting. It is how you look on stage. He didn’t like that.”

“Expediter then came in as Sipes was walking off stage and told Oliva he is next. Oliva complained again feeling that he needed more time. But tough luck, he had to go on anyway. And what a roar he got from the crowd.”

“I looked at Poole and said, let’s one of us beat this guy. I don’t like his attitude.”

“Poole smiled and said, ‘This is my year Larry’ as he finished off a set of chins and then hit a lat spread. He looked incredible.”

“Oliva walked off to thunderous applause. Then Bud Parker announced…

“Next contestant…………HAROLD POOLE!!!!!!!

The incredible Harold Poole, youngest Mr. Universe ever, first afro-America to win the Mr. America title and a three time Mr. Olympia runnerup. One of the greatest of all time.

No one does the most muscular pose like Harold Poole. Incredible!!!!!! Poole was also one of the first, if not the very first Afro-Americans to have great calves.

“If the audience went wild over Oliva and Sipes, they really went wild over Poole. He was a local boy and obviously one of the very best in the world without a doubt.”

“I started to feel butterflies. Not only because of the high caliber of competition but more so because I knew this was my final event. I was going out for the very last time. Vince gave me some last minute advice. And as soon as Poole walked off the stage, they started:




Then MC Bud Parker announced, “Now defending his Mr. Olympia title, from California LAAARYYYYYYYY but he was drowned out just like in 1965.

“I went out and hit pose after pose. Finished and walked off. The audience yelled,


“Bud Parker waved his hand to the audience and told then that I and all of the Mr. Olympia contestants would be back. This year for the first time ever, The Mr. Olympia would feature a posedown with all four contestants.”

“The audience roared in approval. Poole walked out first. Then Oliva and I was right behind Oliva. Vince told me to stand right next to Oliva during the posedown which was my goal. All three of us were on stage and the Sipes came running from the rear and he squeezed between Oliva and me. So I was on the end.”

“Vince was coaching me from the audience. “Calves. Hit the calves. That is Sipes and Oliva’s weakness.” So I started flexing the calves then as soon as the boys started posing, I hit my poses.”

“Poole, Oliva and Sipes all hit back shots so I hit my 3/4 twisting back shot. I was enjoying this. Somebody from the audience yelled, ‘It’s the battle of the giants’ And it sure felt like that.”

“I heard the audience yelling my name and I looked at the judges. All eyes were moving on all four of us. The judges were carefully evaluating who would be Mr. Olympia. and I knew I was in for a real battle. In 1965, I dominated the contest. This year, it would be much different. I was heavier, 215 lbs compared to 205 from last 1965 but I was smoother.”

“Vince yelled for me to hit ab shots. ‘Oliva has a small waist but no abs. Show him your abs Larry.’ Which I did. The audience was yelling for arm shots and I complied. I must have hit every pose in the book. Vince yelled for me so slow down and hold my poses longer which I did. ”

Larry Scott. Absolutely flawless.

After winning the Mr. Olympia 2 years straight, Scott shocks the bodybuilding world by announcing his retirement.

“In 1966, the judges took longer to decide the winner. Finally the head judge walked up to Bud Parker with the winners name in a envelope. Bud Parker looked out to the audience and said,


I couldn’t believe the reaction of the audience. They were screaming and gave me a standing ovation. Too much. I am not sure I deserved it. Then I told Joe Weider I wanted to make an announcement to the fans. Joe knew what it was.”

“I am no public speaker. My mouth was too close to the mike and the sound went all over the auditorium. Then finally I got it together and started speaking to the fans. I told them that I thanked them for their support but the time has come for me to move on to new horizons. I told them that I met a beautiful lady and was to be married and I could not serve two masters so I would be retiring from competition.”

“Several fans yelled ‘No Larry, no.’ I thanked them but said I had to retire. There was no other way. I waved, said God bless all of you and walked off the stage.”

“As I was walking backstage I heard Oliva and Poole murmuring about the contest. They were both unhappy. Oliva said, “Joe Weider wanted Larry Scott to win.” Harold Poole said,”Weider gave it to Larry because the IFBB is sending Larry to the UK to guest pose and they wanted him to go as Mr. Olympia.”

“When I heard this, I went right to Joe Weider and said I was prepared to relinquish the Mr. Olympia title. I told Joe that when I came over to the IFBB in 1962, the agreement was that judging would be fair and the best man would win.”

“Joe was perplexed and wondering why I was complaining in that I had won. I told him that Oliva and Poole both thought that I didn’t deserve it. About this time Leroy Colbert walked by. Joe asked Leroy to get the ballots for the Mr. Olympia. In those days, they did not use scoresheets for the Olympia, only ballots. Each judge voted for the man they thought deserved to win.”

“Joe handed me the ballots. I looked at each one of them and every judge picked me. Oliva came by and forcefully grabbed them out of my hands, looked that them and said, ‘This is bullsh’t. Weider just like Hoffman. IFBB just like AAU.’ Poole looked at the ballots and couldn’t believe he didn’t even get one judge to vote for him”

“Oliva walked out. Poole stayed and Sipes was there. Chuck came over to me, extended his hand and congratulated me. And said, “If anyone should be upset, it should be me. I was Joe’s poster boy before you came on board Larry and was undefeated coming into this contest. As I see it Larry, you won because you deserved it.”

“Joe Weider looked at Poole and scolded him. ‘I’m disappointed in you Harold. If anyone is a Weider boy, it’s you. Not only do you get the same publicity that Larry gets in my magazines, but you also work for me. You are one of my employees. If I wanted to fix my contests for anyone to win you would be my #1 choice.”

“You’ve been to my home. Betty has cooked for you. We have had dinner and lunch together. Worked out together. You are on my payroll. You are almost like a son to me. While I do pick the judges, I don’t tell them how to vote. I wanted you to win Harold. If I were a judge, based on what I saw, I would have voted for Larry too. He was just a little bit better.”

“And Harold, do you remember when you came here 3 years ago? You were very upset with what happened to you with the AAU. You wanted fairness. I promised you fairness and what happened? You competed against Larry in what was the biggest title then the IFBB Mr. Universe.. Larry was the “Weider Boy” He was the current IFBB Mr. America. He was all over my magazines. Endorsed my products. Modeled my exercise equipment. You were the newbie. But what happened Harold?” Joe asked.

Harold meekly answered, ” I won. I beat Larry.”

“Yes Harold you won. And you became the youngest Mr. Universe in history. I don’t know if anyone will match, let alone beat that record. And what did Larry do when he lost?”

Harold responded, “He shook my hand and congratulated me. ”

“That’s right Harold. That is how real champions react to a loss. And that is what I want you to do. As your boss, I could make you do it, but I won’t. Be a man Harold. You lost fair and square. The judges who picked Larry are the same judges who picked you over Larry three years ago.”

“Harold Poole looked at me rather sheepishly and limply shook my hand. It didn’t seem sincere, but what the heck. It was some progress. I told Harold to hang in there. That he was so close to winning. Next year (1967)could be his year.”

“I also asked Joe Weider to work with Oliva. While I didn’t like Oliva’s attitude, I admired his physique and knew he had a great future. Joe said he would talk to him and as we all now know, Joe did and Oliva did have a successful career with the IFBB.”


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