By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — More than a decade after he became the only man to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Mr. Olympia competition, Chicago Police Officer Sergio Oliva’s muscles still appeared as if they could rip his custom-made uniform clean off.
A Chicago Tribune photo from 1981, which ran with Mr. Oliva’s 2012 obituary, has been making the rounds on Reddit. It has sparked memories of the man they called “The Myth.”
The caption read: “The strong arm of the law has some biceps in Sergio Oliva. The Rogers Park District patrolman won the 1981 Mr. Europe bodybuilding competition in Germany recently and showed off his trophy at the Chicago Health Club at Devon and Ridge, where he works out every other evening for about three hours. Oliva, 39, was a weightlifter in his nativa Cuba, but switched to bodybuilding [after arriving in Chicago]. He has been on the force for five years. His uniform and his civvies are all specially tailored.”
According to published reports at the time of his death, Oliva, 71, had been suffering from kidney failure.
His rival, who by 1981 was on the verge of becoming a Hollywood box office star, tweeted about Olivia’s death
Oliva won the Mr. Olympia title three years in a row in the late 1960s, including his 1969 victory over Arnold.
Oliva fled Cuba in 1963 and settled in Chicago, where he got a job at a steel mill. It was then that he began sculpting his body into what many experts say was the greatest physique of all time.
Oliva served with the Chicago Police Department in Rogers Park.