John Romano discusses his top favorite rivalries… and how the personalities of bodybuilders never gave the clashes any weight.

Everyone loves a good rivalry. It’s a cornerstone of what makes WWE so popular and has been a big driving force for iconic sports moments across the board. Bodybuilding is no exception with its fair share of rivalries. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, John Romano discusses his favorite rivalries and the big problem that stops them from becoming even more entertaining.

John Romano has been involved in the bodybuilding world for decades. He was senior editor for Muscular Development for quite some time and has remained embedded into the sport ever since. That’s why we wanted to ask Romano what his favorite bodybuilding rivalries were throughout the years. He’s seen and reported on decades worth of competitions – which clashes were his favorite?

His number one pick is Lee Haney and Rich Gaspsari. Despite them being friends and training partners – the friendly rivalry for champion status was electric. A great example of how a rivalry can be exciting without getting nasty.

John Romano lists a few others that you will likely be familiar with. But then he stops to make note of something that bodybuilding rivalries lack – personalities. According to Romano, none of the bodybuilders had enough of a unique standout personality to really bring rivalries in the sport to the next level.

He refers to WWE, which of course is also scripted, but the wrestlers put personality first above all else. That can’t be necessarily true for bodybuilding. The sport and physiques comes first. But it’s been quite a long time since a personality as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s has entered the arena.

Ultimately, John Romano believes that none of the past bodybuilding rivalries carried any real weight to become iconic. This is due to the personalities being less showy (again, these guys are athletes and not actors). It’s nothing that can be forced – but Romano simply wishes that more athletes had fun with the rivalries that came into being.

Yes, bodybuilding is a sport but it’s also shown in front of a crowd. Making it more entertaining and giving the audience a show is also key. That’s why the art of posing is also important and too often overlooked today.

In this interview segment, John Romano also discusses bodybuilding gurus and if they should be held responsible for an athlete’s health. He agrees that it is the most important element any guru or coach should keep in mind. He also tells a story that had him constantly question how he would react if he had accidentally contributed to the death of an athlete client.

You can watch John Romano’s full comments on bodybuilding rivalries and gurus in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

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