Review - 1970 IFBB Mr. Europe & 1971 IFBB Mr. Universe DVD
Review - by Matt Canning.
1970 IFBB Mr. Europe - Essen, Germany.
The 1970 Mr. Europe Contest was held in Essen Germany and featured such champions as Franco Columbu, a future 2 times Mr Olympia winner, and the great Serge Nubret. This was the same stage where they held the 1972 Mr. Olympia.
Being that this DVD was shot on film, the format was that a collage of bodybuilders posing on the Essen stage with a variety of music playing in the background. For that reason, it wasn't structured like the majority of modern bodybuilding contest DVDs by GMV. The overall feel and quality was as you would expect from the early 70s era, and I have to say that despite the lack of video sports technology available at the time, the physiques were very good. I would definitely aspire to the look of pretty well any of the bodybuilders competing at the contest.
When Franco Columbu hit the stage in Short Class 3, his conditioning impressed me. For a bodybuilder of 5'4, even today Franco would fare well. Dave Henry is around the same height and weighs in at around 205 in contest. Franco was around 185 lbs and was no slouch in terms of dense muscularity or conditioning. I would say Franco could perform well in contests today, especially with his very wide back. His height would hold him back just as it used to, but overall there is an element of rock-hard timelessness in his physique.
In Medium Class 2, Gunter Heinlein of West Germany had a great battle with Janko Rudman (Sweden) and the West German Helmut Schneider, with them finishing up in these positions. Heinlein was totally shredded.
What I find in the bodybuilding magazines these days is that everyone tries to sell bodybuilding as if it is an exact science. Looking at the physiques that were present at this 1970 contest, and given that there was not nearly as much knowledge on training, nutrition, and supplementation, not to mention there the supplements and steroids were not nearly as advanced, you have to wonder if bodybuilding is really as complex as it is being sold as.
Let's not forget that GH, insulin, IGF-1, etc, etc, were not even available to use back then and that the bodybuilders present either developed their physiques naturally or using steroids only. Is bodybuilding difficult? Sure. Is it complex? Definitely not. The only "trick" is consistency: eat big, train hard, and if you choose to go down that route - use supplements or performance enhancing drugs.
In truth, there really is not much more to it than that. At the very most elite level of competition today, there is some degree of complexity (or at least, individuality) when it comes to the specifics of contest preparation, but to become big and shredded is never an exact science. Being a pro bodybuilder or top amateur level bodybuilder is a slightly different story, but even then, the basics ARE the basics.
Serge Nubret hit the stage in Tall Class 1, and he was another extremely impressive bodybuilder. He was 6'0 in height and around 200 ripped pounds. There are ample young gym rats today who would love to have a physique like his - powerful yet moderate, big yet human. These days, every pro is a cartoon character and I don't think many people aspire to that look because they know that it is either totally unrealistic or not possible without years of big eating, heavy training, and serious juicing. I do like the pro physiques today, but moreso for their entertainment value.
In the Overall Posedown it was Columbu taking out the title of Mr Europe for 1970 with Nubret 2nd followed by Heinlein 3rd.
The contest promoter was Peter Fasching.
1971 IFBB Mr. Universe - Paris, France.
When the 1971 IFBB Mr. Universe contest started, the song "I'm not the man I used to be" by the Fine Young Cannibals played. The caliber of physiques was very good and well beyond the level of a local show I attended in June. Later on in the contest, the song "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood played in the background of the DVD as the event was recorded on silent film.
It was a little difficult to gauge the approximate height and size of each competitor since I didn't have anyone to compare them to, e.g., if the 5'9 and 1/2 Frank Zane had showed up, I would be able to compare the heights of the other bodybuilders to him. Back then, there were height classes in the IFBB and at the end of the show the class winners would be compared to determine the overall winner. I noticed that a lot of the bodybuilders of the day were in comparable condition to each other, but not close to the condition of bodybuilders today.
There were some exceptions of course, but it was interesting to see how bodybuilding has evolved. How interesting that Franco Columbu and Al Beckles were at a level of conditioning frequently seen today, while most of the other bodybuilders were not. It goes to show how far ahead those two were for their time. Also, some of the bodybuilders I noticed did not shave all body hair or have a good tan or oil on. Times have changed and these days there are a lot of specifics like that to contest prep.
Albert Beckles was another future pro in the contest who looked closer to a modern day bodybuilder in terms of his conditioning than the bodybuilders he competed with at the time.
Mike Katz was at the contest, and although he was huge at 6'1 and around 230 pounds, he was not in good condition by modern standards, although he was in good condition for the time to place 3rd. When Albert Beckles posed it was interesting to note the comparison between his posing at this show and at the 1987 Mr. Olympia. His posing had evolved in later years but kept some of the same basic touches. The song "I'm not satisfied" by the Fine Young Cannibals played in the background of the DVD.
When Mike Katz posed, he did look smooth as I mentioned and as was pointed out in Pumping Iron, he had a huge torso for his relatively small arms and calves and did look sort of like a spider when he hit some poses. While Mike did look good for his era, as soon as other bodybuilders at the time came out with better conditioning, it was hard for Mike to look favourable when compared.
Finally the awards were presented and the respective winners received their trophies. Mike Katz was shown and as I mentioned earlier on, he looked big, just not shredded or balanced. Had he had those qualities I think it's safe to say he would have done better in his career. Karl Bloemer took out this class with conditioning and style, plus great posing. The more rugged physique of Helmut Riedmeier took out a well deserved 2nd place. Canada's Vic Downs took 5th.
This was brilliantly won by England's Al Beckles.
There were some true greats in these 2 contests, and it's nice to have a little bit of bodybuilding history recorded that otherwise wouldn't be there if not for Wayne Gallasch of GMV. The promoter of the Paris contest was Serge Nubret.