HISTORY OF NABBA & NABBA USA
1901: This year is the first of an organized bodybuilding contest in Europe when a famous German Strongman, Eugene Sandow, judged an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The event drew an attendance figure in excess of 2,000.
1906: The Health & Strength League was formed on a wintry evening in December by a group of enthusiasts who wished to pursue all aspects of physical culture. The league title was taken from a fitness magazine of the same name – first published in 1894.
1930: The first MR & Miss Britain Title was held. This inaugural event caused a great upsurge in membership and 1936 alone 11398 new members enrolled. The organization became Worldwide and had a motto ´Sacred thy body even as thy soul´ inscribed on its membership badge. By 1943 the League had a staggering 191,000 members.
1948: Health and Strength magazine organized the first MR Universe contest to commemorate the Olympic Games being held that year in London. Won by John Grimek, twice MR America winner who had previously represented the USA as a weight lifter at the 1936 Olympic Games.
1950: NABBA was formed. MR Universe was won that year by MR America Steve Reeves, who later went on to make more than thirty Hercules movies. The following year, when Reg Park won, one of the competitors was a young man from Canada, Joe Weider.
In the years that followed the top bodybuilders worldwide came to England to try and win the Universe title. Famous names like John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, all Americans, were part of a group which also included Reg Park, England and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria, a 4 times Universe winner. These 5 were the most influential winners who later became the legends of the Universe.
1955: The late OSCAR HEIDENSTAM was appointed full time secretary and became the main driving force in NABBA for more than thirty years.
1983: Bob Gruskin, the President of NABBA USA, was responsible for bringing NABBA to the United States. Bob attended his first NABBA Universe this year and was so impressed with the efficiency of the organization, its world-wide establishment, and its direction in catering to and having athlete’s interest foremost, he took it upon himself to lay the ground work for NABBA USA.
1984: At a meeting in London NABBA International was formed and became host to the European, World and Universe Championships. This branch of NABBA is now supported by more than fifty countries.
1992: NABBA USA was officially christened, providing athletes with a new opportunity to compete nationally and internationally as an amateur and to qualify for professional competitions.
1998: We celebrated fifty years of the NABBA Universe – a time span that has made the federation the oldest and most established in the history of bodybuilding. At a celebration dinner in Birmingham, England, several hundred people attended the greatest night in the history of NABBA. More than thirty former Universe Champions, men and women, were present, including NABBA legends Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Reg Park and Mickey Hargitay.