#3 Chris Cormier: 1993 Heavyweight and Overall
When Chris “the Real Deal” Cormier placed fourth at the 1991 USA, his first national-level contest, TV commentator Shawn Ray called the 23-year old Palm Springs resident a “genetic freak” who would be posing on pro stages within a year. Ray’s prediction was off by a year, as Cormier earned his pro card at the 1993 USA (he didn’t compete in ’92), but his assessment of the Cormier physique was right on the money. From head to toe, Cormier was the textbook depiction of perfect proportion.Cormier placed sixth in his Olympia debut in 1994 and again in ’95. But it wasn’t until 1997 that he entered the winner’s circle at the Night of Champions. Cormier’s highest placing at the Olympia was second (1999, 2002); and his six runner-ups at the Arnold Classic, starting in 2000, is a record. All told, the Real Deal finished his 14-year pro career with 11 wins, including four consecutive Ironman Pro victories (1999–2002). Cormier’s strength in the gym was as legendary as his physique onstage. During his peak, he routinely pressed 200-pound dumbbells on both flat and incline benches and used weights one would associate with world-class powerlifters rather than with contest-dieting bodybuilders.