Samir Bannout On Olympia 1984 Loss: “I Was Intentionally Robbed”

After winning Mr. Olympia in 1983, Samir Bannout calls his loss in 1984 dirty and highway robbery.

Samir Bannout is a legendary bodybuilder who has the rare distinction of only winning the Mr. Olympia once. That puts him on a short list of pro bodybuilders including the likes of Dexter Jackson. This does not demean the accomplishment. Winning even one Mr. Olympia is a powerful feat. But why did Samir Bannout go from winning first place in 1984 down to sixth place the following year? According to Bannout, this was no accident or problem with his physique. It was an intentional plan to prevent him from victory. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Samir Bannout alleges how he was intentionally robbed out of winning the Mr. Olympia 1984.

Samir Bannout wants to make one thing clear when discussing his Mr. Olympia win and the fallout that came in the following years – he is not unhappy with his past career. Personally, Samir Bannout believes he should have won the Mr. Olympia in 1982. But he’s more than happy with the ultimate single Olympia win he got in 1983. He knows he cannot change the past.

The 1984 Mr. Olympia is a totally different story. Samir Bannout doesn’t simply believe that he should have won – he believes that he did in fact have the winning physique but was sabotaged by insiders in the league. Bannout reiterates that he has no ill will about the loss – but he also has no problem revealing what he believes to be the truth. He alleges that certain individuals intentionally altered the outcome of the Mr. Olympia 1984. This, according to Bannout, is main reason why he dropped down to sixth place.

During this segment of our conversation with Samir Bannout, we track his rise and eventual win at the Mr. Olympia 1983. We also track through his sudden drop off in the years that followed. Bannout discusses how he change up his tactics in order to go from 16th at the Mr. Olympia 1980 all the way to Olympia champion in 1983. He describes himself as trying too hard and creating a mental block on his progress. Once he realized “less is more” – he found a new path towards success.


Of course, that all came crashing down in 1984 when he suddenly dropped down to sixth place at the Mr. Olympia. While Bannout does not name names – he explains how specific individuals wanted to ruin Bannout’s reputation and prevent him from winning the Mr. Olympia again. This, according to Bannout, is the main reason he placed so much lower.

Samir Bannout points to photos of his physique as proof that he was better than a sixth place athlete. It was clear that Bannout and Lee Haney were neck and neck for first place. While Bannout does not completely line out exactly what happened – he implies that his close relationship with Joe Weider led to some jealously in the league. Those jealous individuals worked behind the scenes to take down Bannout as the then-current golden child of the sport.

You can watch Samir Bannout go into complete detail about his Mr. Olympia 1984 experience by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.