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Oliva Jr. is the only person in the sport that is the son of a former Mr. Olympia — that would be three-time champion Sergio Oliva Sr., who ruled the sport from 1967 through 1969. Oliva the father actually held his son onstage at the 1984 contest in what was his next to last competition. The younger Oliva explained to Dennis James on this week’s Menace Podcast how it feels to take on that legacy.
“I think no matter what, people always have something to compare me to,” Oliva Jr. said. “Every bodybuilder in history, except Hunter [Labrada], has the luxury of getting compared to themselves. This person does a show, they’re going to get compared to their last show. I get looked at against my last show and against one of the greatest bodybuilders ever.”
While Oliva Jr. acknowledges that may be the case, it isn’t like he runs away from it. As a matter of fact, he even performs his father’s famous Victory Pose during every routine he completes.
“I believe that I don’t even really look that good when I do it. I think it has to be from the right angle at the right time. No, it really is just for him,” Oliva told DJ. He also feels that he could serve as a connection between bodybuilding’s past and future fans of the sport.
“I always say to myself that I’m one of the biggest fans of the sport. So I think I want to be a remembrance too for these newer fans.”
As for his own career, Oliva Jr. is currently training for the 2021 Arnold Classic. Should he win, he will move on to this October’s Mr. Olympia. He understands that this opportunity is about much more than a single competition. He can stand next to several top competitors before the Olympia even takes place.
“I think it’s pretty cool that Hunter and I are going against each other,” he says. “As a fan, I’m excited to see me, Akim (Williams), and Hunter go against each other. It’s cool because we could be the next tier.”
Oliva Jr. and James also talk about being raised in Chicago by a bodybuilding legend, how his father didn’t want him to compete, the issues surrounding being sponsored, and much more. This hour long episode is one that you don’t want to miss. Catch it in its entirety over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel.
0:25 – Talking Height, Weight, and Age
3:12 – Seeing Bodybuilders in Pictures
4:48 – Growing Up
6:15 – Senior Didn’t Want Junior to Compete
8:45 – When He Started Bodybuilding
12:11 – Moving to Pursue His Passion
12:39 – Carrying the Oliva Legacy
16:16 – The Victory Pose
18:15 – 2021 Plans
22:22 – Olympia Prospects
26:16 – Stuck in Australia
31:15 – What was it Like Watching the 2020 Olympia?
36:06 – Big Ramy and 2021 Olympia Possibilities
42:17 – Roelly Winklaar and Other Potential Contenders
43:59 – Commitment and Partner Support
46:20 – Athletes and Representing Companies
52:14 – Coaching Changes
53:13 – Working with Someone Experienced
56:56 – Importance of Posing
1:00:46 – Chris Aceto
1:01:52 – 2021 Olympia Prediction