Like many bodybuilders in the 60’s, Sergio Oliva got his start in Olympic Weightlifting. In fact, he did well enough to compete for his native Cuba at the 1963 Pan-Am games. Though he was very strong, his Olympic lifting ability was actually hampered by his relatively thin waist. The foundation built by Olympic lifting still served Sergio well in his bodybuilding career though, he went on to win the Mr. Olympia Contest in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
In days gone by, bodybuilders used to be as strong as they looked… Casein point: here’s a classic shot of the 1963 Mr. Germany, Gernulf Garbe, curling what looks to be around 180 pounds. Garbe went on to become a famous physician and authored several books on bodybuilding.