I remember walking into the gym that I trained at in my competitive bodybuilding days in the 80's when the gym manager and Mr. Florida Eddie Nieves tells me "Hey look who's there your friend!" I had seen most of the top bodybuilders of the era yet I had never seen anyone that looked like that. I asked Eddie is that Sergio Oliva and Eddie just laughed? This was after his prime yet I now knew why they called him "The Myth." Photos did not do him justice. Sergio had the huge monstrous shoulders, tiny wrist, over 20 inch arms that were bigger than his head, a wasp waist and huge legs. That day we did not train much. We all just stared at him training and asked him questions in Spanish. Years later I saw him again in Westland Mall in Hialeah and everyone that walked the mall had to stop and stare at the Myth.
Oliva considered by many as the greatest bodybuilder ever was born in 1941 in Cuba. He was later an Olympic weight lifer and defected from Castro's Communist Cuba in 1960. He live in Florida for about a year then moved to Chicago and was a Police Officer for 25 years. He won the IFBB Mr. World and Universe. He was the 2nd Mr. Olympia winning it 3 times. He was the only man to ever beat Arnold in the Olympia. He also won the WBBG Mr. Olympus. He competed as a professional bodybuilder and won titles into his 40's. He acted in Spanish movies. I remember going to the movies to see him star in "Poder Negro" (Black Power.) In 1999 he was inducted into the Joe Weider IFBB Hall of Fame.
It was great to see Sergio at the Arnold Festival after so many years. We spoke in Spanish of his great bodybuilding days. I told him about Iggy a bodybuilder that worked out at Brodies Gym in Miami in the 70's that defected with him in 1960. He told me to say hello to him. I told him that i had not seen him since the early 80's. Iggy and Mr. America Jorge Navarette would always argue on who was the best bodybuilder of all times. Iggy's vote was for Sergio and Jorge was an Arnold fan. Even today people continue to have the argument. When he autographed a photo for me he told me that he was going to write what he writes only to his Cuban brothers "El Mito" (The Myth in Spanish.) In any language Sergio Oliva will always be El Mito the Myth.