I am the editor for IRON MAN magazine, so I read most of the other bodybuilding publications. I was checking out Robert Kennedy’s “Legends of Bodybuilding 2” magazine—very good, incidentally—and…. Hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself. First some background.
I’m from Texas—specifically from South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. McAllen to be exact. About 20 miles away is a small town called Harlingen. That’s where the first-ever Ms. Olympia Rachel McLish is from. She is a bit older than I am by about four years, but we both attended a local college at the same time, Pan American, which is in Edinburg. She graduated in 1980, the year she won the Ms. Olympia. I was doing preliminary work there before I went to the University of Texas at Austin. I graduated from U.T. a few years later.
Okay, back to my reading Kennedy’s mag. In it there’s an article on Rachel. I was always a fan. I remember working at the local newspaper—The Monitor; my father was the sports editor—and across the A.P. wire service came the pics of Rachel winning the Ms. Olympia. I thought it was very cool, especially since she was from the area and I was very much into this weird subculture called bodybuilding. That inspired me to train harder than ever, knowing someone from my neck of the woods succeeded and was getting notoriety for it.
The article in Kennedy’s mag, by Peter McGough, told of her history in South Texas and mentioned that one of the things that inspired her was the first bodybuilding contest she ever saw, the 1980 Mr. Pan American. She had already been lifting weights for a few years, but there were no competitive physique shows for women—yet. “I loved it,” she said. “I was so emotionally charged by the whole process that I was screaming for every contestant.”
Interestingly enough—or not—I won that show, but I never knew that Rachel was there in the audience. That same year was the inaugural Ms. Olympia, Rachel decided to enter and made history. (Good thing she didn’t enter my contest; she probably would’ve beaten me considering the shape she was in.)
I’ve been in contact with Rachel in the past—I used our mutual South Texas backgrounds to help persuade her to be on our cover a few years ago—but I never realized that I was in a contest that helped inspire the first Ms. Olympia. She certainly inspired me—and lots and lots of other people—over the years as well.
It just goes to show you that you never know who you will inspire with your efforts, perhaps leading them to do bigger and better things.
Stay tuned, stay smart and be Built for Life.
Note: For information on Steve’s training ideas and complete workouts, visit X-Workouts.com.