Eugene Sandow, this guy from northern Germany, is known as the father of modern bodybuilding. He started it all. He believed in the Grecian Ideal, basically meaning he developed his physique to the exact dimensions of Greek sculptures. He was active during the late 1800's.
This is what he looked like:
Then there was Georg Hackenschmidt, an Estonian strongman notable of his kick ass nickname ("The Russian Lion"). He was active around 1890-1910.
Then comes Angelo Siciliano. This guy is so badass he legally changed his name to 'Atlas' in 1922, then started a successful business in 1929 selling exercise equipment to people at a time when the average shmuck in America couldn't even afford food. He brought body building to the masses by way of a huge ad campaign in the backs of comic books in the 40's and 50's. Every ad featured the exact same scenario: Skinny geek gets humiliated by a bully in front of his girlfriend, goes home, kicks a chair, and orders Atlas' program, giving hope to frustrated nerds everywhere.
I forgot to mention he was also named "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man™".
Next is Hercules - I mean Steve Reeves. One of the earliest Mr. Universe winners (1950).
Next step is the 1970's, when professional bodybuilding got lot's of publicity from the 1977 film Pumping Iron. These were Arnie's glory days. (Everyone knows who I'm talking about when I say Arnie, right? Okay, good.) This is the era when steroids started coming into the game.
This is Arnie in 1977:
... And this is Arnie today:
And that, kids, is why we don't do steroids (unless you want boobies).
Today, because of the unrelagation of steroids in major competition and a general attitude of 'not-giving-a-fuck', we have monsters like:
Lee Haney (Mr. Olympia 8 straight years, 1984 - 1991)
Dorian Yates (Mr. Olympia 6 straight years, 1992 - 1997)
Ronnie Coleman (Mr. Olympia 8 straight years, 1998 - 2005)
Greg Valentino (Subject of the documentary 'The Man Who's Arms Exploded', which makes it sound a lot more interesting than it really is.)
Here's a picture of him being arrested for steroid possession:
And, of course, Carrot Top, who at the beginning of his career in 1990 looked like a 100 pound woman, and at the end of his career still looked like a 100 pound woman (roughly one year later). Today, though, he looks like a 100 pound woman with massive biceps. Behold:
Still, steroids don't explain how seriously messed up he looks compared to 20 years ago:
The only explanation is that the real Carrot Top was killed long ago, and someone made a synthetic version to ensure humanity would be forever entertained with really bad prop jokes.
Oh yeah, and this guy too:
Thanks for reading. And a very special thanks if you're on dial-up.