When one thinks of Mr Olympia, one may certainly picture an LEBANESE bodybuilder with the “perfect physique”.
One of the most amazing athletes in the bodybuilding competition is Samir Bannout, who has attained incredible proportions via extreme self-control.
Who is bodybuilder Samir Bannout?
Born on November 7, 1955, Samir Bannout, also referred to as “the Lion of Lebanon,” is a well-known figure in the bodybuilding community.
As a coach, actor, and social media influencer, he has adorned the pages of well-known fitness magazines such as Strength and Health, Muscle Digest, and IronMan.
With almost 158,000 Instagram followers, the celebrity primarily shares old photos of his amazing body.
He joined the esteemed ranks of Larry Scott, Sergio Oliva, and Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2002.
With his three children, Lea, Jesse, and Sergio, he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, together with his wife Randa.
During his first marriage to Lourdes, the sister of colleague
When did Samir Bannout start bodybuilding?
When he was sixteen years old, he started training in a gym that was located on his home’s roof. At the age of eighteen, he won his first prize in 1974 as the youngest competitor in the Teenage Mr. Universe competition.
After immigrating to the US from his native Lebanon, Bannout started competing at the amateur level and won the Lebanese Junior Championship after just six months of bodybuilding.
Prior to this, he had acknowledged using anabolic steroids to get his remarkable physique, adding, “I have to be quite honest with you, I have used anabolics.”
“I’m not going to have to deny it, because all the other Mr Olympia contenders, I feel that they are using it, and I only use it to reverse catabolic effect.”
Throughout his career, he was characterized as charming, witty, straightforward, and extremely passionate, macho, proud, and explosive by others, making him a controversial athlete.
After rising through the ranks of the sport and winning his light-heavyweight division at the 1979 IFBB World Amateur Championships, Bannout rapidly gained notoriety for his nearly flawless proportions.
What year did Samir Bannout win Mr Olympia?
The “Lion” finished fourth in the competition the year before and went on to win the Mr. Olympia title in Munich, Germany in 1983.
At the time, he was the first Mr. Olympia under 91 kg, weighing 89 kg.
The win bookended the contest’s “aesthetics” era which started in 1977 when American Frank Zane won, weighing just 86kg.
His never-before-seen “complete package” of muscularity, lower back density, and proportion was highly appreciated; he was forevermore cemented as the “Lebanese Cedar”.
He was just the eighth male recipient of the esteemed honor.
After placing sixth in the 1984 event, Bannout’s romance with Mr. Olympia came to an end when he was handed a three-year suspension by the IFBB for his involvement in a rival competition.
He never again placed in the top six at a Mr. Olympia competition, but he has implied there were political overtones in the winner selection process and said he was “robbed”.
In 1996, Bannout stepped away from the professional bodybuilding scene after 17 years and more than 50 contests.
In October 2023, a fan inquired about Bannout’s attendance at the upcoming Mr. Olympia conference. The bodybuilder responded, “more likely yes buddy… best regards n hope to see you soon.”
Commenting on an Instagram throwback picture of Bannout’s physique, another fan wrote: “Samir is so underrated. I can’t find a flaw. Deserves way more respect.”
Another said he was “forever our Legend”.