February 18, 2002
Chris Cormier, who at first said he was going to bypass the IRONMAN Pro to concentrate on the Arnold Classic, changed his mind and is $10,000 richer for it. Cormier, competing at a sharp 253 pounds on a 5’11’ frame, won three of four rounds en route to a 17-point victory over a best-ever Lee Priest at the event, held February 16 at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. It was the 34-year-old Cormier’s fourth consecutive conquest at the IRONMAN, one short of the record held by Ken ‘Flex’ Wheeler.
Priest, 29, was in tremendous condition, competing at 207 pounds. According to judges, it was Cormier’s superiority in the thighs and from the back, especially in the glute and hamstring regions, that proved to be the deciding factors. First or not, the appearance marked an amazing comeback for the Blond Myth. Three weeks out from last season’s show, Priest was rushed to the emergency room at a local hospital for chest pains. Lee competed in the IRONMAN anyway, but finished way down the line in seventh. The illness, coupled with financial difficulties, forced the 5’5′ star to sit out the rest of the year.
Ernie Taylor edged Amhad Haidar by a single digit for the coveted third spot; the top three qualify for the Mr. Olympia. Taylor, who trains with Dorian Yates at Temple Gym in Birmingham, England, was in really good shape, and he had to be to topple Haidar, who was shredded and had the best abs in the contest. The only rookie in field, Quincy Taylor, did well in his pro debut, placing fifth in the 19-man lineup. Taylor, the largest man in the sport at 6’4′ and 290 pounds, merited pro status with an Overall victory at the 2001 USA.
Tommi Thorvildsen, who earned the moniker ‘Glutezilla’ after I witnessed his insanely ripped glutes at the Toronto Pro International last year, placed sixth, with Garrett Downing landing in seventh and Jason Arntz finishing eighth. Victor Martinez, the 2000 Nationals winner, was placed in ninth, with Jeff ‘Box’ Long rounding out the top 10. Check out the complete photo gallery from the 13th annual event in the Contest Coverage section of this Web site.
Bodybuilding Legend George Eiferman Dies at 76
George Eiferman, the 1948 Mr. America who came back 14 years later to cop the Mr. Universe title, died on Tuesday, February 12, at a nursing home in Las Vegas. Eiferman, who had been suffering from ill health for several years, was 76.
Born on November 3, 1925, Eiferman was one of several bodybuilders who became part of Mae West’s nightclub stage show that traveled all over the country. He eventually settled in Las Vegas, where he owned several gyms. Eiferman was nicknamed ‘Gentle George’ for his easygoing, soft-spoken mannerisms.