by Christian Duque
Bodybuilding fans are a very diehard bunch, particularly those who have been into the sport for more than ten years, because they’ve seen different champions, they remember the magazines, and many may even remember seeing bodybuilding on TV, from Fox Sports to ESPN. The longer you’ve been a fan of something, the more hardcore you are, because you’ve grown with the sport. A bodybuilding contest, a gym, or even particular supplements could mean something more than what they are, you might associate them with significant others, with places you lived in, and/or with different times in your life. You might have been more optimistic then, maybe you were more gungho; people change over time.
One thing’s that for certain, especially with things from the past, is a certain nostalgia effect. This is a reason why everyone thinks that their era of bodybuilding was the greatest. That having been said, historians from all eras of bodybuilding, seem to agree that the late 80’s and early 90’s, represented a very special time in the sport. This was the heyday of Lee Haney, the beginning of Dorian Yates, and the days when guys like MIghty Mike Quinn graced the cover of all the magazines, brought houses down with guest posing routines, and commanded throngs of fans like modern rock and rap stars would today. At a time when top-tier bodybuilders complain about peaking for one or two contests a year, guys like the Mighty Quinn, would peak 6-8 times in a month, while traveling on tour buses and small airplanes, all over North America, Europe, and Asia. Social media has changed everything, but one thing it’s really done, is highlighted how hardcore bodybuilders used to be, creating all new fanbases for the legends of yesteryear. One of the most talked about and celebrated bodybuilders of all time, is the subject of today’s article, Mighty Mighty Quinn, and here’s why?
Back in the 80’s, Mighty Mike Quinn broke into the scene, earning professional status twice. That’s right! Quinn won the AAU Mr. Universe, but upon the creation of the NPC, it was required that he win a pro qualifier there, in order to get IFBB Pro status and that he did. From the moment he earned that card, Quinn worked tirelessly on becoming a household name, getting shot by the best photographers, and living up to the nickname that was given to him. Unlike guys today, donning names like “The Gift,” “The Predator,” and/or even “Flexatron,” Quinn was given the very controversial name of “The Bad Boy of Bodybuilding.” That wasn’t a name he gave himself, rather, it was a name given to him. On the one hand, it created for a huge amount of fanfare, but on the other, it was almost like an open-ended invitation from big-talkers to roughnecks to call him out and see if the myth was fact or fiction. Quinn couldn’t go anywhere, without that nickname following him. It was both a blessing and a curse.
The legend of Mighty Mike Quinn was real and that’s probably why he enjoyed such a successful run. Anyone who did their homework and fact-checked, would see that Mike hailed from Brockton, Massachusetts, otherwise known as the “City of Champions.” When I interviewed Mike in 2015 in South Florida, he told me all about his upbringing in the blue collar town, training with his dad, and doing so 100% naturally. Nowadays, guys are taking everything but the kitchen sink without first developing a strong foundation in training and building muscle. Quinn did things the right way. Once you know how the body works, how to effectively build muscle, and once you climb the bodybuilding ranks, very few can stand in your way. When you’re all drugs, you don’t know shit – at least as far as this journalist’s concerned.
The legend of Mighty Mike Quinn only grew more as he entered the IFBB Pro ranks, earning top placings and honors. He brought insane size, condition, and symmetry. He was also far stronger than most of his contemporaries. Bodybuilding isn’t powerlifting, but very few guys could hang with his training – then or now! When it came to posing, he was a natural, and that’s saying a lot, considering fellow champions he was sharing the stage with, guys from Lee Labrada to Rich Gaspari to the Totally Awesome Lee Haney!! Mike wasn’t a guest up there, he belonged there, and that undeniable talent, coupled with the fact he loved the fans, guest posed throughout the world, and brought a competitiveness to the stage that gave the media exactly what they wanted, made Quinn very marketable. In fact, when Vince McMahon tried to launch his own federation, Mighty Mike Quinn was one of the names he had to have. Quinn earned a truckload of money, was a major player in that federation’s media outlets, and continued to make new fans. Although the McMahon run was fun, Mighty Mike Quinn’s real home was the IFBB and it’s where he belongs.
To date, the Mighty Quinn remains active in the bodybuilding world, doing plenty of press and offering contest prep services. Those who work with Quinn, get to boast that their coach is a living legend – how many people can say that? Over the years, there’s also been a lot of talk of a movie and a book, which will be great when they’re made with the right people. This isn’t a race; it’s about doing things the right way. I can see people watching a movie in theaters about the Mighty Quinn, the days of being the Bad Boy of Bodybuilding, and his many adventures on and off the stage.
For now, I’m very happy to have been able to have written this article celebrating this awesome champion and friend. I hope you enjoyed reading it at Iron Magazine. I look forward to reading your comments.