Muscular Development, Vol 10, No 9, Page 8, September 1973


By John C. Grimek

IT WAS A WARM AND BEAUTIFUL weekend in Williamsburg for the National Weightlifting Championships and Mr. America contests. The venue, too, was exquisite and befitting the occasion, as was the traditional Southern hospitality. . . up to a point! By that I mean that by the time the contest ended each night, which was eleven or past, all of the eating places were closed or were in the process of locking up! Competitors and spectators alike roamed around trying to find a plaice where they could pacify their hunger and thirst but everything, and I mean everything, was battened down for the night! The only drinks that were available were those found in vending machines, and after one or two of these over-sweetened concoctions, one was thirstier than before . . . and sicker! The water in this area wasn't the most palatable, although when it was iced, it wasn't bad. One group Saturday night after the show decided to drive over to Newport News in hopes of finding something there, but whether they did or not I never found out. Consequently, a lot of people went to bed hungrier than they ever did . . which might have been a good thing. Of course around the corner was a delicatessen store, and the place remained opened and crowded until late. This place probably did more business that weekend than it has done in a long, long time.


1Jim Morris369
2Peter Grymkowski339
3Anibal Lopez337
4Paul Hill323
5Willie Johnson322
6Fred Shandor321
7Tyrone Youngs320
8Doug Beaver318
9Joe Sasso277
10Bill Seno264
11Nathan LeBlanc261
12Mike Besikof261
13Jim Handley260
14Patrick Ruelle255
15Daniel Padilla252
16Ned Drew251
17Gene Massey250
18Floyd Odom249
19Dick Hathaway244
20Charles Loesch240
21Ken DiAngelo232
22Paul Santos219
23Neil Hastey201
24Gregory Long198
25Robert Holden198
26George Rumas198
27Herbert Bair175
28Robert McNeill171
29Edward Mayo170
30Denny Harkai168
31Robert Lauda167
32Harold Bakkelund138

Subdivision Winners

Best Arms - James Morris
Best Chest - James Morris
Best Abdominals - Anibal Lopez
Best Back Willie Johnson
Best Legs - Peter Grymkowski

Most Muscular Man Winners

  1. James Morris
  2. Peter Grymkowski
  3. Willie Johnson

I've never seen so many sandwiches being made, or just a half pound of this or that meat. . . plus milk, juices and pop being dispensed, except at picnics. I myself didn't mind starving for I knew that any weight I lost there that this would only allow me to eat twice as much when I got home, and better, more nourishing food. However, I must admit that the gnawing sensation in the pit of the stomach wasn't very pleasant, even after drinking several glasses of ice water. . . which only gave me some cramps! The next morning, however, I got up early and chowed up to makeup for the night before. But even after eating lunch and dinner, by midnight the hunger pangs again bothered me. I retired early to forget them! Other than that, Williamsburg was not only the fine, quaint, old historical place one reads about but was very neat and friendly, and those who were there certainly enjoyed their visit.

The whole set up looked like an ideal spot for the championships but some of the lifters, after having lifted, did not like the platform. However, while testing the lights for the physique contest I happened to walk over and stomped upon the platform. It was made up of heavy interlocking rubber sections, and it looked to me like it would be a great thing. However, I failed to consider how it would feel to a lifter when he was handling a heavy weight. Lifters are used to sliding their feet, and this was difficult on this platform, consequently, some of the lifters attributed their misses to the rubber platform. In any case, there was more missing and "bombing out" in this year's championships than ever before. Maybe it was the platform, then again, maybe some of the men weren't in the peak condition they thought they were, It's really hard to say.

Many spectators, and some of the competitors, in the past complained about the enervating heat that predominated over some of the National Championships, and many felt that if the environment was more comfortable, air conditioned, the men would do better and lift much more, while the spectators would enjoy the proceedings better. So this year Bob Crist, the meet director and sponsor of these championships, tried to please everyone. He selected a venue that was fully air conditioned that made it a great pleasure to sit there and watch the action. Some of the lifters, however, thought it was too cold but only because, I think, they came into the vast auditorium from the warm-up area that was not air conditioned, so the striking difference made itself felt. Some, on the other hand, seemed so intensely involved in their lifting that they were unaware of the temperature difference until it was all over. The audience, nevertheless, was very receptive and applauded every valiant attempt any lifter made, and this in spite of the fact that very few records were attempted, much less made!

In the physique competition 36 entries were mailed in but 32 showed up for the actual competition. The prejudging took place in a specially assigned room just for this purpose, with a seating capacity for 200 people to watch, The contestants were asked to report for the prejudging by 9:30 Sunday morning. I wanted to get in on this preview, so rose rather early and went out for breakfast, not knowing when I will have time to eat again. Breakfast, however, took longer than expected and when I arrived the men were already going through their poses. . . I had missed them as they came out in groups for comparison, which is the usual procedure.

The place looked filled, at least up front but I managed to squeeze into a spot and watched the men go through their posing display. When this was completed, which took about two hours, the people were asked to vacate the room in preparation for the interview, but first the competition for the various subdivisions took place. A few of the men were called out again and again while the judges studied them before making their final selection. This was followed by the interview. When this was finished it was well into the afternoon, I heard a couple of the contestants complain about being famished from the ordeal--and who wouldn't be?

It was quite obvious that most of the audience who observed the preliminary judging seemed to agree that this was going to be a good, close contest, judging by the way certain individuals were being called out again and again, yet when the final scoring was announced to the audience that night, the whole thing didn't jive. A total of 30 points separated the winner from the runner-up, after which less than 10 points separated the next six men. How was this possible? Unless there was an error in the final tabulation, but otherwise it's virtually impossible for any man to be that far ahead of others in today's competition. Such a man would have to rate a near-perfect score, while the runners-up would have to fall far behind. Yet it happened. Consequently, when the scores were announced it was at this point that the assembled throng started booing, something that has not been in vogue lately, and when it was, it was merely an isolated incident. But this time the booing verberated strongly throughout the huge auditorium and took some time before it died down. That evening, and the next day, many people were asking one another whether they agreed with the decision.

When the question was asked of me, my usual reply was that I had nothing to do with it, and if this was the decision of the judges, we will abide by it. We did this with others, so why not this time? The winner didn't give himself all those points, so he cannot be blamed, but the total seemed excessive, particularly since the contest seemed so tight and close.

I personally felt that the winner, whomever he might be, would not outclass his opponents by more than five points at the best, and possibly not more than two or three. But 30 is excessive, and in today's competition no man is capable of outclassing any opponent regardless who he is, or whom his competitors are. The men are too closely matched in today's contests, and no one seems to outperform the other, so how can he rate higher than a few points above his rivals, much less 30? But then study the points the third place man got, the fourth, fifth, etc. and you'll see there is only a point or two difference, which is closer to the usual scoring, although the discrepancy may possibly lie in the actual tabulation. This will not alter the places of any of the men even if there was an error in the final tabulation but simply make the scoring more on par.

In the Most Muscular Man contest, the scoring was more even as was all the subdivisions. The fact is, the top five this year shared all the trophies. . . that's what you call "keeping it ALL TOGETHER!"

So another contest came and went and, next year another one will be up for grabs again. Can anyone foretell the winner? Not on your life, although anyone can hint who it might be. But who can say about a newcomer who might jump into the limelight and fool everybody. It can happen, and does--occasionally!

The following are some pertinent facts about each man as supplied by Len Boseland, the MC for the evening. The men are listed in the order they appeared on stage and not in the way they placed.

Herbert Bair, Chesilhurst, N.J. is 38 years old, married and has two children. Is a supervisor and has been training 10 years.

Harold Bakkelund, Rockford, Ill. is 48 years old and started training when he was 40. Is bricklayer by trade.

Douglas Beaver, Fremont, Ohio is 30 and a college student. In the Jr. Mr. America contest Doug made quite a hit with the crowd by winning the Best Abdominals and Best Arms awards, while placing high in the Most Muscular contest, too. He's been training 10 years.

Mike Besikof, Van Nuys, California is married and 32 years of age. Has three children and is an attorney. He's been training 15 years.

Ken DiAngelo, Pennsauken, N.J. is 25 years old, married with three children and is a salesman. Ken's been training for 10 years and was inspired by his father, a former physique champion.

Ned Drew, Gaithersburg, Md. is 32 years old, is single and has been training for 10 years. Is a 3M market analyst.

Peter Grymkowski, Rochester, N. Y is 27 years old, has been training for seven years, is married and is a co-owner of a building maintenance company. He's placed second for three straight years!

Jim Handley, Baltimore, Md. is 27 years old, married with one child and is a fireman. He's been training for 11 years.

Denny Harkai, Cleveland, Ohio has been training for 10½ years. Married with two children and is a salesman.

Neal Hastey, New Britain, Conn. is 28 and single. Is a restaurant manager. He's been training for five years.

Dick Hathaway, Overland Park, Kansas is 30 years old, married and a salesman. Training for four years.

Paul Hill, Los Angeles, California is 30 years old, married and has been training for six years. He works for the telephone company.

Robert Holden, Cockeysville, Md. is 30 years old, married and has been training for 14 years. Has doctorate in business.

Willie Johnson, Akron, Ohio is 29, married with three children and has been training for seven years. Works in manufacturing truck tires. In recent Jr. Mr. America took several subdivisions and won Most Muscular Man title. Has improved a lot over the past two years.

Robert Lauda, Pittsburgh, Pa. is 28 years old, training for eight and is in wholesale meats.

Nathan LeBlanc, Hayward, California is 29 years old, single and is a butcher by trade. Has been training for seven years.

Charles Loesh, Minneapolis, Minn. is 25, single and is a paramedic emergency medical technician.

Gregory Long, Philadelphia, Pa is 24 years old, single and an iron worker. Training for eight years.

Anibal Lopez, New York, N.Y. is 30, married with two children, and works for the N. Y .C. transit authority. Been training eight years.

Eugene Massey, Mira Mar, Fla. is 24, training 11 years, is single and has a health food store.

Edward Mayo, Canton, Ohio is 26, single and been training seven and a half years. Is electronic technician.

Robert McNeil, Philadelphia, Pa. is 39 years old, married, two children and a private investigator. Been training between 12 and 14 years.

James Morris, Los Angeles, California. Jim won the Mr. America title this year. He's 37 years old and been training for 19 years. Is sales representative.

Floyd Odom, Longview, Texas is 33 years old, married and is a car dealer in Texas. Been training only two years.

Dan Padilla, Rochester, N.Y. is 22 years old and has been training six years. Operates grocery store.

Patrick Ruelle. Pontiac, Mich. is 24, single and a college student. Training for six years.

George Rumas. Chicago, Ill. is 22, single and a machinist. Training for seven years.

Paul Santos. Hartford, Conn. is 21, single and works as a carpenter. Training for five years.

Joe Sasso. Lynfield, Mass is 33, married and has four children. Has been training for 16 years and is an insurance salesman.

William. Sena. Western Springs, Ill. is 34 years old, married with two children and is a teacher. He's been training 14 years.

Fred Shandor, Manville, N.J. is 29 and engaged to be married. Has been training for nine years. Is a probation officer.

Tyrone Youngs. San Diego, California is 25, single and works for a truck corporation. Been training five years.


- Two groups of physique contestants, 16 men in each line-up, as they came up on stage and were introduced to the audience.

- The '73 Mr. America - Jim Morris

- Mr. America and runners-up. They are, left to right: Willie Johnson 5th; Anibal Lopez 3rd; Jim Morris the winner, Peter Grymkowski 2nd; and Paul Hill 4th.

- A fine back spread of Willie Johnson, winner of the Best Back trophy. Willie was also 3rd in the Most Muscular.

- The only man in the Mr. America History to place 2nd for three consecutive times - Peter Grymkowski! This must be some kind of a record!

- One man who has improved and placed high in this year's contest was Anibal Lopez. He took 3rd. he also placed 3rd in the Junior A. just a few weeks earlier.

- The first group as they lined up for the prejudging.

- Another group getting the once-over from the judges.

- The same group taken from another angle.

- Still another angle. This and the two other pictures are of the same group. Tyrone Youngs, a newcomer from San Diego, is the lead man in photo below. Was muscularly impressive.

- Another group taken during the prejudging. Left to right: Paul Hill, Robert Holden, Willie Johnson, Bob Laude and Nathan LeBlanc.

- Chris Dickerson and Gordon Andrews, the man in charge of selecting the Mr. A judges, seem to be enjoying a discussion. Chris still keeps himself in great shape.

- A fine back pose of Paul Hill, who appears to be heavier and more muscular this year, with exceptional abdominals, too!

- Fred Shandor, has been rated closer to the top this year, and does show improvement. He placed 4th in the recent Juniors.

- Floyd Odom, Longview, Texas, 18th.

- Dick Hathaway, Overland Park, Kansas, 19th.

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