Gary Strydom, 49, May Be Planning Olympia Comeback
By Joe Pietaro
On the heels of the news that Ronnie Coleman is coming back to compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia, we now have been hearing whispers that Gary Strydom intends on standing on the same stage in Las Vegas – this year. Returning to the spotlight is not new for Strydom, 49. He retired in 1992 after winning back-to-back World Bodybuilding Federation titles and then finished seventh at the 2006 IFBB Colorado Pro.
Strydom is reportedly planning on entering two qualifying shows with a goal to make the 2009 Mr. Olympia in September. The IFBB schedule shows that the PBW Championships (August 7-8), Europa Super Show (August 15-16), Houston Men’s Pro (August 22) and Atlantic City Pro (September 11-12) are left before the O.
After his impressive appearance in Denver, Strydom did not view it as a ‘one and done’ type of scenario. In fact, he was in such demand for appearances all around the world that he had to scratch plans for more shows in 2006 and 2007. “Denver was no one night stand,” Strydom said on his official website, date published unknown. “When I said I was back, I meant I was back. I didn’t go to Denver as a once-off attempt just to see how I would do. I am a bodybuilder; it’s my passion and it’s my life.
“In the years since I retired I’ve never stopped living that lifestyle or training,” he continued. “The comeback was more like the beginning of a new competitive career for me. I had planned to do a couple more shows last year but that didn’t work out. But this year I’ll be back up there on stage again and maybe for [a] good couple of years to come, too.”
It appears that this was posted in 2008, a year in which Strydom did not compete.
No one could deny that Strydom has what it takes to stand up there with the mass monsters of today’s game. At 6?2? and an offseason weight of over 300 pounds, the South African native will compete at approximately 283 pounds. he has 22-inch arms, a 61-inch chest, 29-inch thighs, 19-inch calves and a 32-inch waist. He can hold his own; there is no question about that.
A regular on the IFBB scene in the late 1980s, Strydom was an extremely popular bodybuilder. He won the 1987 Night of the Champions in his professional debut, which was one of the more prestigious shows on the calendar at the time. In his only Olympia appearance, Strydom finished fifth in 1988. In 1991, he chose to join with Vince McMahon’s new WBF and dominated the new league for its two years in existence.
When he hung up the posing trunks, Strydom did so to concentrate on his bodybuilding clothing business. Anyone who frequented a gym back then no doubt had at least one item from Crazee Wear. Being a businessman is still in his blood as he also has launched Strydom Wear and the SPS Strydom Professional Series supplement line. He is also said to be residing in Thailand, where he is the sole distributor of Vitargo Thailand Energy Drink.
MuscleSport Mag has reached out to both Strydom and Muscle Evolution magazine (a South African publication that mentioned it in their latest issue) and we are awaiting responses so we can confirm and expand on these points.
GARY STRYDOM’S COMPETETIVE CAREER
* 1983 NPC Florida Championships, Junior – Heavyweight, 1st and Overall
* 1984 NPC USA Championships, HeavyWeight, 1st
* 1986 NPC Nationals, HeavyWeight, 1st and Overall
* 1987 Night of Champions, Winner
* 1988 Chicago Pro Invitational, 2nd
* 1988 Mr. Olympia, 5th
* 1989 Arnold Classic, 3rd
* 1989 Grand Prix France, 1st
* 1989 Grand Prix Germany, 2nd
* 1989 Grand Prix Melbourne, 1st
* 1989 Grand Prix Spain (2), 2nd
* 1989 Grand Prix Spain, 2nd
* 1989 Grand Prix Sweden, 1st
* 1989 World Pro Championships, 2nd
* 1990 Grand Prix England, 2nd
* 1990 Grand Prix Finland, 3rd
* 1990 Grand Prix France, 2nd
* 1990 Grand Prix Germany, 4th
* 1990 Grand Prix Italy, 3rd
* 1990 Houston Pro Invitational, 2nd
* 1990 Ironman Pro Invitational, 4th
* 1991 Night of the Champions
* 1991 WBF Grand Prix, 1st
* 1992 WBF Grand Prix, 1st
* 1996 Night of Champions, 12th
* 2006 Colorado Pro Championships, 7th
IFBB PRO Rule 4 – Qualifications for Special Events
4.1 Mr. Olympia:
The Promoter of the Mr. Olympia competition must invite the following competitors:
1. The top 6 from the previous year’s Mr. Olympia;
2. The top 6 from the same year’s Arnold Classic;
3. The top 5 from the same year’s Iron Man Pro Invitational and New York Men’s Professional Bodybuilding Championships;
4. The top 3 from any Grand Prix or similar open competition held after the previous year’s Mr. Olympia; and
5. Any other competitor who qualifies pursuant to Rule 4.5.