1976 Mr. Olympia - Winner Franco Columbu

Columbus, Ohio was the city that the organizers picked for the 1976 Mr. Olympia - to be held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The total prize money awarded was $5,000, something that was increasing year after year. However, money was not attracting bodybuilders at the time as much as fame and success were, especially following the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his early steps in Hollywood.

The 1976 Mr. Olympia once again followed the classification in two groups: 'Over 200lbs' and 'Under 200lbs' as the two previous years. This year, there were no Ferrigno and Schwarzenegger in the 'Over 200lbs' group as their names were replaced by Ken Waller and Mike Katz, both new bodybuilder names for the crowd.

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However, the 'Under 200lbs' class included famous names like Franco Columbu and Frank Zane among the participants (including Ed Corney, Bill Grant and Boyer Coe in the full list). The overall winner of the contest was the Italian Franco Columbu, who was competing at the Olympia almost every year and took the 1976 Mr. Olympia title in style.

Columbu was the overall winner after beating Ken Waller in the 'Over 200lbs' class, getting the all-time high cash reward of $5,000 and getting extra publicity for his win. The Mr. Olympia contest was getting known more and more at the time.

As a long time friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Columbu followed his steps to winning the 1976 Mr. Olympia title and proudly competed in many other international-level bodybuilding competitions at the time. In the previous years (1974 and 1975 Mr. Olympia events), he took the lightweight class wins before winning the overall at the 1976 Mr. Olympia contest.


1976 Mr. Olympia Results
Placing Competitor Prize
 Over 200lbs    
 1  Ken Waller  
 2  Mike Katz  
 Under 200lbs    
 1  Franco Columbu  
 2  Frank Zane  
 3  Ed Corney  
 4  Bill Grant  
 5  Boyer Coe  
 1  Franco Columbu  
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ANDREW CHAPLOWITZ - January 11, 2019

Zane shocked the BB world in 76. No one took him seriously after, by his own admission, flat showing in 75. He was ignored in the Pumping Iron documentary. When I saw the pics in Weider’s magazine for 76, my jaw dropped, He was ripped to shreds, and this laid the foundation for the next three years.

Brennen Pacheco - January 11, 2019

Frank Zane will forever have the most perfection

Brennen Pacheco - January 11, 2019

I know!!! The days of these perfect bodies are long gone

Brennen Pacheco - January 11, 2019

I loved Franco! He should have gotten more notoriety

jeff gray - January 11, 2019

My dad loved Franco, I really liked Ed Corney posing routines and his physique.

John Hennessy - January 11, 2019

Now that is a classic physique! Man if only they were still like that today

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