HISTORY OF NABBA & NABBA USA
1901: This year is the first of an
organised bodybuilding contest in Europe when a famous German Strongman,
Eugene Sandow, judged an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The
event drew an attendance figure in excess of 2,000.
1906: The Health & Strength League was formed on a wintry evening
in December by a group of enthusiasts who wished to pursue all aspects
of physical culture. The league title was taken from a fitness magazine
of the same name - first published in 1894.
1930: The first MR & Miss Britain Title was held. This inaugural event
caused a great upsurge in membership and 1936 alone 11398 new members
enrolled. The organisation became Worldwide and had a motto ´Sacred
thy body even as thy soul´ inscribed on its membership badge. By
1943 the League had a staggering 191,000 members.
1948: Health and Strength magazine organized the first MR Universe contest
to commemorate the Olympic Games being held that year in London. Won by
John Grimek, twice MR America winner who had previously represented the
USA as a weight lifter at the 1936 Olympic Games.
1950: NABBA was formed. MR Universe was won that year by MR America Steve
Reeves, who later went on to make more than thirty Hercules movies. The
following year, when Reg Park won, one of the competitors was a young
man from Canada, Joe Weider.
In the years that followed the top bodybuilders worldwide came to England
to try and win the Universe title. Famous names like John Grimek, Steve
Reeves, Bill Pearl, all Americans, were part of a group which also included
Reg Park, England and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria, a 4 times Universe
winner. These 5 were the most influential winners who later became the
legends of the Universe.
1955: The late OSCAR HEIDENSTAM was appointed full time secretary and
became the main driving force in NABBA for more than thirty years.
1983: Bob Gruskin, the President of NABBA USA, was responsible for bringing
NABBA to the United States. Bob attended his first NABBA Universe this
year and was so impressed with the efficiency of the organization, its
world-wide establishment, and its direction in catering to and having
athlete's interest foremost, he took it upon himself to lay the ground
work for NABBA USA.
1984: At a meeting in London NABBA International was formed and became
host to the European, World and Universe Championships. This branch of
NABBA is now supported by more than fifty countries.
1992: NABBA USA was officially christened, providing athletes with a new
opportunity to compete nationally and internationally as an amateur and
to qualify for professional competitions.
1998: We celebrated fifty years of the NABBA Universe - a time span that
has made the federation the oldest and most established in the history
of bodybuilding. At a celebration dinner in Birmingham, England, several
hundred people attended the greatest night in the history of NABBA. More
than thirty former Universe Champions, men and women, were present, including
NABBA legends Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Reg Park and Mickey Hargitay.