Less than a week after the passing of 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden, the bodybuilding community thought they had lost another well-known figure. On Nov. 10, 2021, multiple sites reported that 80s and 90s bodybuilding star Victor Richards died at 56. Tributes were posted all over social media and YouTube shortly after the announcement was made.
And then, later that same day, Richard’s daughter issued a statement saying that her father was alive and well. On Nov. 13, 2021, Richards then released a statement assuring fans that he is ok.
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“My dear brethren and family members, I wanted to let you know that I’m well and sound and have never been as healthy as I am today,” Richards wrote. He also explained the reason for his delay in responding to the numerous calls about his well-being. He shared that he was with family and without social media or phone access. “I did not mean to keep you in suspense but had my little 6-year-old with me for the week and had made prior plans for some fun activities with him, and there was no way I was going to allow the demonic spirits of slander, obstruction, destruction, and death to disturb our peace.”
If there’s one upside to this situation, it’s that a new generation of bodybuilding fans are now aware of Victor Richards, who many older fans and media members regarded as a future Mr. Olympia in his heyday.
About Victor Richards
Victor Richards may be considered one of the most significant “what if?” cases in all of bodybuilding. Originally from Nigeria, Richards lived the majority of his life in the United States. After playing football, wrestling, and competing in track during his childhood years, Richards took up competitive bodybuilding in California with some success.
According to Greatest Physiques, he took second place at the 1982 American Cup. Then he won the 1983 Teen Los Angeles title. In 1984, Richards placed first at the California Gold Cup Classic, which earned him some recognition in the magazines of that time.
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He wouldn’t compete again for five years. In 1989, he re-emerged to win the title of Mr. Barbados, and then he stopped competing again. Richards’ second competitive resurrection took place in 1992 at the Nigerian Championships. He won the show and earned his pro card.
By this point, Richards, known as “Mr. Big,” was weighing over 300 pounds during his offseason, and his arms, in particular, were thought to be his greatest asset. In 1993, he showed up at a guest posing event where he stood side by side with six-time Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates. Compared to Yates — who was also known for his size — Richards did not look out of place. Fans were very excited to see the potential matchup between the two super-heavyweights.
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Unfortunately, the Yates-Richards showdown never happened. Richards never actually competed as a professional. Outside of an occasional interview, fans never saw him again. It remains a mystery why a competitor with a physique like Richards and with as much hype around him never competed in a pro show. He still shares opinions on the sport via his Facebook page, and in September of 2021, he teased the launch of a podcast. At the time this article was written, Richard’s podcast is not live.
While fans may have never seen Richards’ potential fulfilled as a professional, they will at least get to see him share his occasional insights since he is still in good health.
Featured Image: @vic_richards and personalfitness3 on Instagram