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Mr. O for Sale? What?s the World Coming to?
Toronto Pro Invitational Canceled! And More Schedule Changes

What would happen if it wasn?t “Joe Weider?s Mr. Olympia?” The physique world may have to contemplate that notion…

Reported April 28, 2003

Mr. O for Sale? What’s the World Coming to?

What would happen if it wasn’t "Joe Weider’s Mr. Olympia?" The physique world may have to contemplate that notion if rumors prove true that David Pecker, the man who made Joe and Ben Weider an offer they couldn’t refuse for the Weider magazines, is looking to buy pro bodybuilding’s premier event. Back around Arnold Classic time, when Pecker told Folio magazine that he had plans for the Mr. Olympia, you had to wonder if the CEO of American Media—and now Flex, Muscle & Fitness et al.—knew something the rest of us didn’t (, March 1,"The Deals, the Developments"). Well, it may be he wasn’t just blowing smoke. Of course, the obvious questions come to mind: Are the rights to the O actually the Weiders’ to sell, or do they belong to the IBBB, which sanctions the contest? That fine distinction could be almost as murky as the separation of church and state is in some locales. Pecker, a noted acquirer of publications, who also owns (with his investors) the National Enquire and the Star, cut staff at Weider like Enron on ephedrine after popping a reported $350 million for the pubs, leaning out noncreative departments and doing some judicious pruning of masthead higher-ups. His interest in "a weekend of fitness and bodybuilding in Las Vegas" spurs unending speculation.

Look for even more unending speculation if this story has legs. Like what would the rest of the powers-that-IFBB do if Joe and Ben sold the Mr. O right out from under them?

Toronto Pro Invitational Canceled! And More Schedule Changes

The SARS scare hit the bodybuilding world hard this week when promoter Winston Roberts was forced to cancel the Toronto Pro Invitational men’s bodybuilding competition, which was set for May 24. The Canadian Pro Fitness, held last year with the Toronto Pro, had been previously crossed off the IFBB schedule. What with the cancellation of the Southwest Pro Cup (see below), that makes the May 31 Night of Champions the last chance for flexers to qualify for the ’03 Mr. O. Is it possible the federation will find a way to rectify this situation? Stay tuned.

Another couple of pages to rip out of your day calendars are the ones for September 26 and 27. Promoters Ed and Betty Pariso had to pull the plug on the Southwest Pro due to sponsorship problems. That means all five contests, including the men’s and master’s competitions as well as the women’s events, are out. Athletes who were waiting for the fall to take a shot at a Big O qualifier should retime their peaks and shoot for an earlier competition.

On the other hand, the GNC Show of Strength, not on the IFBB’s original pro schedule for 2003, is definitely on for November 7–8. The location is Atlanta, and the four contests in this post-Olympia battle of the buff bodies—men’s bodybuilding, women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure—will all be invitationals. For info call Tammy Simpson at (760) 631-3093.

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