Named after the most famous and arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all-time, the Arnold Classic was an instant hit when it debuted in 1989. The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger and partner Jim Lorimer provided a stage for what would be some of the sport’s most unforgettable moments—and physiques. And now, 25 years later, it’s bigger and better than ever. The last two years belonged to Texan Branch Warren. Not only did he snag the top title in 2012, but he took home the Most Entertaining Poser Award and the Most Muscular Trophy as well. He may not be a top contender in the 2013 lineup, so the Arnold Classic tides are about to take a new turn. But before we honor the latest man to hoist the coveted Arnold statue overhead, we decided to celebrate the past champions of a contest, like any classic, that has stood the test of time.
7. RICH GASPARI
Gaspari won the inaugural Classic in 1989 and cemented his status as one of the best bodybuilders of the mid- to late 1980s. With shredded glutes, grainy-hard condition, and eye-popping vascularity, he redefined the word ripped. Bodybuilding would never be the same after The Dragon Slayer.