Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans



GASPARI VS. HANEY   Check the scoreboard and this doesn’t look like much of a competition. In fact, Rich Gaspari versus Lee Haney was the second of three great short-man versus tall-man duels, and all were statistically lopsided. The other two were Franco Columbu (0 wins) versus Arnold Schwarzenegger (8 wins) and Shawn Ray (0 wins) versus Dorian Yates (7 wins). Collectively, the three bigger men beat the three smaller men 22 out of 22 times, and they racked up 21 Mr. Olympia titles versus two (both by Columbu) for their shorter and lighter foes. Size matters.   Gaspari/Haney is in our top 10 because of four consecutive years of youthful battles between the former training partners. At the 1985 Mr. Olympia, rookie Rich Gaspari was only 22, and reigning Mr. O Lee Haney was only 25. That year, Gaspari was third, and the following three years he was runner-up while Haney added to his growing Sandow collection. It was never evident the younger man would overtake Haney’s superior size and structure, but it was exciting to see him try. Taking his dieting and training to an extreme, Gaspari virtually invented striated glutes. Haney won a record eight Olympias and Gaspari won nine pro shows, partly because each pushed the other to maximize his potential.



VIATOR VS. DICKERSON   In the early ’80s when there was an explosion of pro Grand Prix contests, four men vied for most of the titles: Boyer Coe, Albert Beckles, Casey Viator, and Chris Dickerson. On any given Saturday, you never knew how their placings would be shuffled. Within this quartet, the greatest rivalry was Viator vs. Dickerson. It spanned 13 years and 11 contests, starting with the 1970 Mr. America, which 31-year-old Dickerson won while 18-year-old Viator was a stunning third. The following year, Viator, at 19, became Mr. America.   When Viator finally made his pro debut in 1979, Dickerson was again in first place. The following year, they faced each other seven times, including four contests in which they finished one-two (Viator won three). Their physiques couldn’t have been more different. At the 1982 Olympia, Dickerson was 189 at 5'6" and won with refinements and details. Viator was a then-staggering 240 at 5'10" and was third because of the sheer overwhelming force of his thickness. The years of 1980–’82, when pro bodybuilding took shape, were highlighted by the polished 1982 Mr. O winner and the mercurial mass monster who stood in stark contrast to him.

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