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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.

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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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