Strength & Health, Page 40, September 1964
THIS YEAR'S MR. AMERICA CONTEST WaS a worthy one from the standpoint of the number of entrants (there were 30 of them) and from the high caliber of the contestants. Although many of last year's musclemen were missing, there were a lot of new faces to take their places.
The most important part of any Mr. America contest is the quality of the officials who make the selections. Their knowledge and experience; their honesty and integrity must guarantee that the best man wins.
|1.||Val Vasilieff, Sicklerville, N. J.||94|
|2.||John Gourgott, New Orleans, La.||90|
|3.||Randy Watson, Manchester, Tenn||89|
|4.||Bill Seno, Melrose Park, Ill.||87½|
|5.||Dr. Craig Whitehead, USAF, Texas||87|
|6.||Mike Ferraro, Buffalo, N. Y.||86|
|7.||Sergio Oliva, Chicago, Ill||83½|
|8.||John Decola, Framingham, Mass.||82½|
|9.||Joe Nista, Jr., Downey, Calif.||80½|
|10.||Arthur Turgeon, Harrisburg, Pa.||78|
|11.||Bob Gajda, Chicago, Ill.||77½|
|12.||Charles Estes, Nashville, Tenn.||76½|
|13.||Paul Wachholz, Englewood, Colo.||74½|
|14.||William St. John, Glassboro, N. J.||73|
|15.||Steve Sakoulos, Chicago, Ill.||73|
|16.||Floyd Despirito, Union, N. J.||73|
|17.||Robert Cameron, Kokomo, Ind.||72½|
|18.||Jerry Doetrrel, Buffalo, N. Y.||72|
|19.||Gilbert Hansen, Waterloo, Iowa||70|
|20.||George Wojnowski, Franklin, Wisc.||66½|
|21.||Steve Kotis, Chicago, Ill.||65|
|22.||Gary Neu, Deer Park, Ohio||64½|
|23.||Anthony Tisovec, Willowick, Ohio||64½|
|24.||Charles Kutzer, Chicago, Ill.||62|
|25.||Henry Vega, Chicago, Ill.||60½|
|26.||Kent Kuehn, Saginaw, Mich.||59½|
|27.||Edmund Cook, Waco, Texas||59|
|28.||Dan Elery, Indianapolis, Ind||59|
|29.||Francis McFarland, Honolulu, Hawaii||57½|
|30.||Dominick Duche, Warren, Mich.||57|
AAU Chairman Rudy Sablo appointed Joe Raymond who is Weightlifting Chairman of the Lake Erie Association, as Chairman of the Judges. Joe has served in this capacity before. He has been a weightlifter and a physique man for 35 years. It was his task to appoint the judges and supervise the contest. Here are the men who served through:
Captain Joe Paul of the Central AAU District, a man with four decades of experience in weightlifting and judging physique contests.
Perry Rader of the Iron Man magazine and Weightlifting News, who has been a judge many times and is one of our most qualified officials.
Morris Weissbrot, Chairman of the Metropolitan AAU and an active weightlifter.
Clarence Johnson, International President of the Weightlifting and Physical Culture Federation and a member (as is your reporter) of the International Physical Culture Committee.
Bob Bendell of New Jersey AAU, Delegate at Large to the National Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Committee.
Dave Mayor of the Mid-Atlantic Association who was a member of the 1936 Olympic Team, former national champion, Immediate Past President of the AAU and identified with this sport for more than 30 years.
Steve Stanko of York, former Mr. America and the first Mr. Universe. He was the first to total 1,000 pounds as a weightlifter and is a former world's record holder.
In all, it was a very good panel of experts.
The competition was expected to be very keen. There were so many good physiques that it would be a job of the first magnitude to evaluate their relative merits. How well they did this was proved by the fact that there was not a single boo, whistle or other sound of disapproval when the winners were announced. (This was a marked difference from some of the past contests.)
Naturally, many felt their disappointment when the winner was selected but most recognized that they were seeing crowned one of the greatest Mr. America's. They saw a man of the Steve Reeves type who will go on to even greater fame.
I have long recognized the merits of this young man and thought well enough of him to take him to Paris a few weeks ago where, in spite of nationalism and politics, he placed third in the World Physique Championships--just one point away from second place. He was the big favorite of the audience for he has much of what people who attend the physique contests like.
The record which Clarence Johnson compiled for us will show how all the contestants placed. The choosing of the first ten was very difficult. Prejudging and interrogation took place on Saturday morning, the Most Muscular Man contest on Saturday night and the final scoring of the Mr. America on Sunday night.
The Most Muscular Man contest went to Bill Seno of Melrose Park, Ill. He was featured on the August cover of Muscular Development magazine. Second was Val Vasilieff of Sicklerville, N.J. Third, Sergio Olivia of Chicago, a refugee from Cuba. Fourth, Mike Ferraro and John Gourgott--a tie.
The contestants were in a dither, a state of nervousness and excitement for three full days. They knew that they were under observation for all this time and it was indeed a strain.
During the prejudging and interrogations I was invited to be an observer--to see all and hear all but I had no vote and could not say a single word as to merits of the contestants.
Every contestant had to pose at the prejudging. This was where the judges could form their opinions as to the merits of the men as they walked around, pump up their muscles and stood at ease. The judges had a good opportunity to study the fine points of all the contestants.
As the result of their efforts, ten men were selected finalists. None of the judges knew the standing for each judge had made his own score and turned it over to Clarence Johnson for the totalling of the points.
Arthur Turgeon of Harrisburg, Pa. It was his first time among the top ten after many years of trying.
Joe Nista, Jr., a recent Strength & Health coverman from Downey, Calif.
John Decola of Framingham, Mass., who just won the Junior Mr. America title.
Sergio Olivia. He is a sensational muscle man and one of the weightlifters who absconded from the Cuban team at the Central America Olympics in Jamaica. He is now living in Chicago.
Mike Ferraro of Buffalo, former Teenage Mr. America and winner of the Mr. North America title.
Dr. Craig Whitehead, a captain in the US Air Force, who was third in, last year's contest. He went with me to Paris for the World Physique Championship and finished fourth.
Bill Seno. Bill really had his admirers, partly because he was a Chicagoan and partly because he is one of the best. He is a powerful weightlifter and a record holder.
Randy Watson of Manchester, Tenn., who was last year's Junior Mr. A. He is an ordained minister and a great gymnast.
John Gourgott of New Orleans. Third in last year's World Physique Championship, fourth in last year's Mr. A. and a former Teen-age Mr. A.
Val Vasilieff, who placed third in this year's World Physique Championship, has won over 40 trophies but never the real big one. Decola just beat him out in the Jr. Mr. A. In this contest however, Val had the advantage - Decola did not have the maximum in athletic points for the Mr. A.
The audience were now just as excited, impatient and in as much of a dither as the contestants. The judges had completely tabulated all scores and so we called out the winners. One of them would be Mr. America.
Fifth place - Dr. Craig Whitehead - a surgeon who can remove cataracts from your eye or transplant a cornea.
Fourth place - Bill Seno - the Most Muscular Man in the meet.
Third place - Randy Watson - small, mighty, handsome and symmetrically developed.
Second place - John Gourgott - one of America's best lifters - a student at LSU now and maybe a doctor next year.
And now who would be the '64 Mr. America? Still standing on the stage and only one of them the new Mr. America were: Mike Ferraro, John Decola, Sergio Olivia, Randy Watson, Joe Nista and Val Vasilieff. -- Six supermen and anyone of them worthy of the title. Then came that moment of breathless silence as the announcer took the microphone and said, "The 1964 Mr. America -- Val Vasilieff!"
The crowd roared its approval. Here was a man they really liked. A handsome man of the Steve Reeves type. A muscular man with a 53-inch chest and a 3O-inch waist. A strong man who one arm curled a 135pound dumbell. A hard man whose muscles feel like they are carved from oak.
He has everything.
He will certainly be one of the greatest.
The judges made a good selection. He is good now but he will get better from day to day.
He will be a great Mr. America, one of whom we can be proud. I need but one word to tell you how good he is -- WOW! What a man!
Val Vasilieff is 25 years of age. He deserves special credit for he was orphaned at three years and has had to make his own way all through life. He has sold papers and shined shoes. He has had to help his brothers and sisters and educate himself too. He is not rich but he and his brother now do well in the business of selling new and used cars. Val drives a Corvette Stingray and when he starts off -- have your safety belt fastened.
He is handsome, he is symmetrical and best of all he is strong. At one of our Muscletown picnics he deadlifted 600 pounds without a warmup. Although he rarely practices the Three Lifts, he recently pressed 305, snatched 270 and clean and jerked 350.
Val takes part in Power Lift contests and a few weeks ago he won the 198-pound division with a 200-pound curl, a 400 bench press and a 575 squat. At a bodyweight of 214 he curled 220 and bench pressed 440. At the World Physique Championships he weighed 204 and one arm curled 135 - a feat of strength that was the talk of the contest!
That he was second to Bill Seno in the Most Muscular well illustrates that he has what it takes--handsome appearance, great strength and unusual muscular development.
Val Vasilieff, 1964 Mr. America, will be a great inspiration to all bodybuilders.
-The 1964 Mr. America, Val Vasilieff. He is being congratulated on his victory bo Olympic Weightlifting Coach Bob Hoffman. Val also placed second in the Most Muscular Man portion of the contest and showed much improvement over a few weeks back when he placed second in the Jr. Mr. A. contest.
-The three best built men in the Mr. A. Contest. From left to right: John Gourgott from Louisiana, Val Vasilieff from New Jersey, and Randy Watson, an ordained minister from Tenn.
-The contestants with the mostest - muscle that is. The winners in the Most Muscular Man contest. From left to right, Val Vasilieff, the Mr. A. winner, Bill Seno, and Sergio Oliva.
Sergio Oliva's name was consistantly spelled Olivia
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