The New Guard: Hunter Labrada and Sergio Oliva Jr.

The sons of Lee Labrada and Sergio Oliva follow in their fathers’ footsteps while charting their own bodybuilding glory.


Lee, did you know Sergio’s dad?

LEE: Yeah, we were friends. There was a generation gap there, but I’ve met and spoken to him.

You’re both Cuban.

LEE: I’m glad you brought that up, because there must be something in the water in Cuba! [Laughs] Sergio Sr. and I were born in Cuba; Hunter and Sergio Jr. are Cuban-American. They’re both sons of champions, though I give Sergio Sr. the nod; he’s the greater of the two of us.

SERGIO: I feel like I’m never going to live up to this guy [Oliva Sr.] unless I win four Mr. Olympias.

And I like that, because it never lets me settle.

At what point as a little kid did you realize, Hey, other kids’ dads don’t look like my dad?

HUNTER: I was eight or nine years old. Since I can remember, my dad has been a freak walking around with road-map veins and low body fat. He’s always been in great shape.

SERGIO: Everyone who knew my dad was a fan of his. I never really understood his accomplishments until I got older and people would tell me about him. And it wasn’t until I started competing that I fully understood. He had arms bigger than his head! That said, it’s the offstage stuff I feel he was more famous for. People who knew my dad loved him. I definitely never lost the “my dad can beat up your dad” attitude.

Sergio, your dad was a police officer for a long time.

SERGIO: Yeah, he was a Chicago cop for 30 years and I think that’s what messed him up the most. He saw everything there was to see and I don’t think he knew how to turn that off when he got home. At his funeral I got to hear a lot of great stories because every cop showed up. Chicago shut down when my dad died. It was cool hearing stories about a lot of the crime he would deter just because of his physical appearance. I always liked his specially made uniforms, how the sleeves were split to fit his arms.

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