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1971 IFBB Mr America - Was this Bodybuilding Contest Fixed?

By Strength Oldschool

From "Peak Muscle Maker" Bodybuilding Magazine, Volume 8, Number 5 (1971), within the "Mail" section where readers can submit letters (not emails folks, this was over 50 years ago now!), the following was stated by Robert Nailon...

"Dear Dianne,

Enclosed is one of my latest drawings of Coe. It's a black and white copy off a colour sketch. It looks fantastic in colour.

Have you sent any 'Peaks' off to me yet? I have been very busy lately and haven't had time to do any articles for you just at the moment, but as soon as I get time I'll get stuck into a few and send them off.

Have you asked any girls to correspond? I'm looking forward to hearing from one or two.

I see that Pearl won the Universe again. He must be in great shape, beating Reg and Sergio. Too bad Arnold didn't enter.

Just heard from Coe and he recently won 'Mr. International' in Mexico with a $1000 trophy first prize; Ken Waller was second. A short time later (a week) Waller won IFBB 'Mr. America'. Coe was second. Most of the judges were from Golds' gym where Ken trains. The latest: Coe won Lurie's 'Mr. World' in New York. Waller second again. First prize $500 cash.

Write soon, Dianne, and could you send the latest copy of 'Peak'.


Robert Nailon, (Mr Australia)"

Peak Muscle Maker Bodybuilding Magazine - Volume 8 - Number 5

'Peak Muscle Maker' was a bodybuilding magazine published by Wag and Dianne Bennett. I'm sure bodybuilding fans are aware of the famous church Wag and Dianne owned and turned into a Gym which was visited by all the top bodybuilders in the day. The most famous of which was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Wag Bennett (1930-2008) was the first man in Britain to Bench Press 500 lbs!

The man who wrote the letter above (Robert Nailon) was a great bodybuilder himself, talented artist, a bodybuilding judge, a Professional Photographer and became really close friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger from 1972 onwards. Here's an audio Interview with Nailon.

From reading the letter above it appears to me that Nailon believed the 1971 IFBB Mr. America contest was 'fixed'. I may be wrong to assume that but that's the impression I got from reading his letter. I've highlighted the section which indicates this. Ken Waller trained at Golds' gym along with Arnold back in the day. He would eventually work there too.

Looking at the contest results from the 1971 IFBB Mr. America, the placings were based on height classes. Ken Waller was in the tall class, which he won, beating Art Peacock and Don Peters. Boyer Coe was in the Medium class, which he won, beating Peter Caputo and Charles Fautz.

The overall winner was Ken Waller. Reading Nailon's statement that Coe finished in second place was actually confusing to me at first. When I checked the results here, I thought Nailon had perhaps made a mistake because I instantly thought that Waller and Coe didn't compete against each other due to being in a different height class. But obviously as there was an "Overall" winner, Waller was first with Coe runner up.

It's interesting to note that even back in 1971 there was controversial wins and I'm sure even before then. These days, fans are more aware of the 1980 and '81 Mr Olympia's as being 'potentially' "Fixed". But even well before 1980 it was happening. I can understand why Mike Mentzer quit competing after 1980.

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If you long for the good ol' days of "Old School Bodybuilding" check out my Vintage Muscle Magazine videos on Youtube!

Thanks for reading and remember, keep it Old School!

All the best,

Strength Oldschool

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