1982 Mr. Olympia Chris Dickerson has reportedly passed away on Dec. 23, 2021, at the age of 82. The cause of death has not yet been made available.
Dickerson was the sixth winner of bodybuilding’s biggest title — Larry Scott, Sergio Olivia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, and Frank Zane were the first five winners, in that order. His passing came less than two months after the death of 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden. Shawn Ray of Digital Muscle first reported Dickerson’s passing and shared the news on his personal Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: A Look at the 2022 IFBB Pro League Men’s Open Bodybuilding Calendar]
Chris Dickerson was born in 1939 as one of a group of triplets in Montgomery, AL. His first entry into bodybuilding came in 1966, where he won three of his four contests — the Mr. New York State, Mr. Atlantic Coast, and Mr. Eastern America. He placed second in that year’s Mr. North America contest. Standing at five-foot, six inches, Dickerson wasn’t the tallest competitor, but his shape and symmetry were revered by fans and competitors alike.
According to Muscle Memory, Dickerson competed in and won numerous contests for organizations around the world. Among the titles he won are the 1968 AAU Mr. USA and 1970 AAU Mr. America titles as well as the NABBA Mr. Universe championship 1973 and 1974. His first contest in the IFBB Pro League came at the 1979 Canada Pro Cup, which he won. He would go on to place fourth in that year’s Mr. Olympia contest. Frank Zane was the champion that year.
1980 through 1982 are Dickerson’s most successful years as a professional competitor. In 1980, he won five contests and placed second in another four. 1981 saw him claim four more victories and another four runner-up finishes. He placed second at the 1980 and 1981 Olympias. Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed the title in 1980 while Franco Columbu took the title the following year — both champions came out of retirement during those years.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: The 10 Best Posers in Men’s Bodybuilding History]
Dickerson’s moment in the limelight came in 1982 when he was finally crowned Mr. Olympia. Dickerson’s Olympia win made history on multiple fronts: he was the the first openly gay winner. He didn’t compete again until 1984 when he returned to the Olympia stage. He placed 11th overall in that contest, which Lee Haney won. His final contest was the 1994 Masters Olympia, where he won the Over 50 category and placed fourth overall.
Dickerson is the fifth Mr. Olympia winner to pass away (16 men have lifted the Sandow trophy). 1967-69 winner Sergio Oliva died in 2012 at 71, followed by inaugural champion Larry Scott (1965-66), who died in 2014 at 75 years old. Columbu passed in 2019 at the age of 78, then 46-year-old Rhoden tragically died in November of 2021.
BarBend will update this article when more details about Dickerson’s cause of death are made available.
Featured Images: @digitalmusclemedia and @shawnrayifbbpro/Instagram