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Tom Platz may have never won an Olympia, but the 1980 IFBB Mr. Universe winner was a perennial crowd favorite over the course of his bodybuilding career. When he placed third at the 1981 Olympia behind Chris Dickerson and winner Franco Columbu, the event sparked controversy because many fans felt that Platz or Dickerson would have been more deserving of the Sandow.
He may have come up short on stage—in the judges’ eyes, at least—in the seven years he pursued a Sandow, but he thrived after his third-place finish in ‘81. He remained one of the most popular bodybuilders around until he hung up his posing trunks for good in 1987.
One look at Platz in his prime will tell you that his most striking muscles were his quads and hamstrings. Those otherworldly legs earned the fair-haired “Golden Eagle” a second, equally apt nickname: “The Quadfather.” To this day, Platz is often cited as the having the best legs in the history of bodybuilding.
These days, Platz is still a force in the bodybuilding community, traveling the world to give seminars and teach squat clinics. Like the vast majority of current and former pro bodybuilders, he’s also active on Instagram, where he posts a healthy balance of throwback shots and current life updates for more than 195,000 followers.
We’ve rounded up some of Platz’s most impressive throwback photos, and we guarantee they’ll make you equal parts jealous and motivated to hit the squat rack hard on your next leg day. Check them out below, and follow Platz on Instagram at @tomplatz.