by Joe Pietaro | MuscleSportMag
There are times when an athlete hits his prime in an era that doesn’t fit. Victor Richards is a prime example of that. When he burst onto the bodybuilding scene back in 1982, such massive size was not commonplace on the contest stage. His 5?10? frame packed on an incredible 370 pounds of muscle during the offseason, which for a man that entered only five competitions in ten years, was his common bodyweight.
Richards won four of those shows and was the first runner-up in the other, and included three in the U.S. (1982 America Cup, 1983 Teen Los Angeles, 1984 California Gold Cup Classic) and two abroad (1989 Mr. Barbados, 1992 Nigerian Championships).
Although a 36-inch waist may seem fairly wide for a bodybuilder, when you have a 67-inch chest and 26-inch arms, your belt line doesn’t sound as large. But Richards, who was profiled frequently in the Weider publications, was always viewed as someone who could not be taken seriously because of his thickness.
One must remember that during the main part of Richards’ career, Lee Haney was the reigning Mr. Olympia and had a muscular build with symmetry, a word that would never be confused with Richards.
The year that Richards stopped competing, Dorian Yates succeeded Haney as Mr. Olympia and began the monstrous era. Thicker bodies, including waists and ultimately abdominals, eventually became commonplace and the next one to be crowned Mr. O, Ron Coleman, took it to a different level.
He is sometimes called the “Natural Uncrowned Mr. Olympia,” but that sounds like pure fantasy no matter if you read into it or not, and in more ways than one.
Richards did possess a physique that was not appreciated then as much as it would have 10 or so years later. The USC graduate may have become a winner of more than one Sandow if he came along later on, but that doesn’t take away what he once was.