There are a lot of height conscious bodybuilders, powerlifters and athletes now-a-days. For a lot of people, being shorter than 6 feet tall seems like a curse – a limitation on their true potential. They need only to look at the life of Franco Columbu to realize how silly the issue of height really is.
Born in Italy, Franco Columbu started out boxing and then progressed to Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and later bodybuilding. He became a boxing champion, won the title of Mr. Universe, and the of Mr. Olympia twice, in 1976 and 1981. Franco Columbu was 5 feet 5 inches tall, and some magazines even reported him as 5’3″, and yet he had an champion physique and immense powerlifter strength.
Now-a-days bodybuilding is not synonymous with powerlifting or strength training. Very few out there attempt to do both and only a handful succeed at both, like Johnnie Jackson or Stan The Rhino Efferding. Franco Columbu is one of the modern frontiersman for a killer physique and great strength. Columbu’s personal records are still unbeatable by 99% of the population. He achieved a Bench Press of 525 lbs, Squat 655 lbs, and a deadlift of 750 lbs. He even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest lung power.
In 1977 Columbu almost was the favorite to win World’s Strongest Man when during the Refrigerator race (yes they actually raced while carrying refrigerators.), Columbu tripped and seriously mangled his leg. The doctor’s had to remove muscle and he was told he may never walk on that leg again. Four year laters, Columbu won the 1981 Mr. Olympia.
Columbu met Arnold Schwarzenegger in Munich in 1965 and competed against him in several bodybuilding competitions. Back then Mr. Olympia had two initial categories – one under 200lb and one over. The finalists of both categories would go on to compete against each other and the winner gained the title of Mr. Olympia. Arnold and Franco became great friends and repeatedly appeared together in photos and films.
Franco excelled at everything he put his mind to. Next time you feel self-conscious about your height, think about how Franco won Mr. Olympia twice despite being shorter than most bodybuilders, and despite mangling his leg a few years earlier, and don’t waiver in confidence.