Lee Haney: The First of the Muscle Monsters

I keep in mind standing outdoors of Gold’s Gym in Venice again in the early Eighties and listening to a younger bodybuilder complain that there have been no extra “huge guys” in the sport.  At that time, Arnold had retired, and prime rivals included Samir Bannout, Chris Dickerson, and Frank Zane.  Excellent bodybuilders, however not very huge ones.  But little did I or that younger bodybuilder notice {that a} sea change was about to happen in physique competitors, and it could be introduced by the arrival of the huge and aesthetic Lee Haney.
Lee Haney had mastodon muscle tissue however not mastodon bones, which created nice form and aesthetics. Bill DobbinsI run into massively mesomorphic physiques all the time, our bodies that appear like they have been designed for linemen in the NFL.  Lee Haney doesn’t have that sort of physique.  The story I heard was that he received into bodybuilding as a result of he broke his leg twice taking part in highschool soccer.  That would point out that Lee has mastodon muscle tissue however not mastodon bones.  And, of course, that’s the key to his excellent aesthetics.  With smaller bones and joints, you possibly can find yourself with extra shapely, tapered muscle tissue.  Otherwise, you find yourself with thick, huge however extra blocky muscle tissue.  Look at images of Lee and see how small his wrists are.  I at all times observed the similar factor about Arnold.  Huge forearms tapering all the way down to surprisingly small wrists.
In the age of 300 kilos plus Mr. Olympia rivals, Lee Haney won’t appear that huge.  But when he received the NPC Nationals in 1982, he appeared like one very huge dude, certainly.  He was the first of a line of future huge rivals similar to Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler – main ultimately to Big Ramy, who’s so huge he seems to be as if he could be a member of a distinct species.
Lee Haney received eight Mr. Olympia titles – and was at his greatest the yr he retired. Courtesy of Weider Health and Fitness / M+F Magazine 
Lee Haney was the first of the “Mass Monsters” in fashionable professional bodybuilding. Bill DobbinsAgain in the 80s, the Nationals champion went on to compete in the IFBB Mr. Universe.  I keep in mind speaking to Lee on the flight to Belgium for the Universe and having him inform me he had by no means been to Europe earlier than.  “You will not be actually going to Europe now,” I advised him.  “You are simply going to a different contest.  An airport, a lodge, a theater.  The similar factor you might be already used to. Concentrate on that and revel in a visit to Europe later, after you’ve received the contest.”
Dorian Yates and Lee Haney in 1991 – the finish of one period, the begin of the subsequent. Bill DobbinsEvidently, Lee did win the Universe and went on to victory in eight Mr. Olympia occasions.  The final was in 1991 in Florida.  The query at the time was whether or not “newcomer” Dorian Yates would be capable to beat the champion and develop into the new Mr. Olympia.  I keep in mind being backstage when Dorian got here in to pump up.  He was of course very spectacular.  And then Lee got here in took off his shirt.  Photographers and journalists watching instantly realized the contest could be for second place.  Lee was one of these bodybuilders, together with others like Lee Labrada, who was at his greatest the yr he retired.
I had event to {photograph} Lee Haney many instances, on stage, in the health club, and in the studio.  He was at all times a complete gentleman, simple to take care of.  Joe Weider despatched me twice to Atlanta to shoot Lee in his gyms.  The authentic one had no air con.  You would suppose, doing images in November, wouldn’t be an issue.  But I’m from very dry Los Angeles and Atlanta was extraordinarily humid, so though it was not super-hot, I ended up with a set of Lee Haney tee-shirts since I stored getting replacements after I sweated via the ones I used to be carrying.
Bill DobbinsThe subsequent Lee Haney health club shoot was at his newer health club, all chrome and air-conditioned.  It was widespread for photographers at the time to spray topics with water to imitate sweat.  I sprayed Lee a number of instances, however the health club was very chilly at that time, and he discovered this uncomfortable.  So, he lastly stated to me in his mild however very pronounced southern drawl, “Bill, please don’t spray me with no extra water….”
That was about as “tough” as Lee Haney was succesful of being.  An excellent-nice man, everybody would agree.
Loads of Olympia titles right here: Lee Haney and Lenda Murray, each 8X winners. Bill DobbinsBodybuilding Titles
1991 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1990 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1989 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1988 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1987 Grand Prix Germany (II), 1st
1987 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1986 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1985 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1984 Mr. Olympia, 1st
1983 World Pro Championships, third
1983 Mr. Olympia, third
1983 Night of Champions, 1st
1983 Grand Prix Switzerland, third
1983 Grand Prix Sweden, 2nd
1983 Grand Prix Las Vegas, 1st
1983 Grand Prix England, 2nd
1982 World Amateur Championships Heavyweight, 1st
1982 Nationals Heavyweight & Overall, 1st
1982 Junior Nationals Heavyweight & Overall, 1st
1979 Teen Mr. America Tall, 1st
1979 Teen  America 1st
Bill DobbinsBill Dobbins



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