by Anders JP Eskilsson
To make a sport grow and get more publicity which can lead to interest far beyond the regular venues, one of the most important ingredients is the need of superstar athletes.
Take MMA for example and see what Conor “The Notorious” McGregor has accomplished due to his enormous confidence, his slick way of expressing himself, his ability to create social dynamics and, above all, his fighting skills. The UFC has gained a lot of new fans, and earned increased pay per view ratings just because of him. The same principle applies to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and his extravagant personality and lifestyle and fighting résumé. Another example is professional wrestling with huge household names like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or the legendary Hulk Hogan. They all have the (IT-factor) with additional energy which reaches far outside the arena or stage. Charisma which can peer through the phone and computer screen and can draw people’s attention to their particular sport, because of the celebrity star quality of the athletes.
However, when it comes to bodybuilding these characteristics are too often absent unfortunately. Sure, bodybuilding is subjective and a bit obscure kind of sport… but is can reach out further than the fitness industry if we had more original personalities. Kai “The Predator” Greene is one of them, and see where that has led him..ESPN and tons of loyal fans people who now are fans of bodybuilding just because of him. Another example is Cedric McMillan and his amazing winning speech at the last Arnold Classic. I mean that was a success. He showed his inner personality to a whole world, and it was honest and people loved it and so did people outside of the regular fitness society.
I really believe that bodybuilders shouldn’t be afraid of being more personal and should think outside of the box. Because behind all the muscle often lies an original personality, which at the same time many fans probably can relate to and appreciate. In return this makes a stronger bodybuilding community and also, as mentioned before, reaches more people regardless of being fans of competitive bodybuilding or not.
In addition, I think that if athletes would open up more and dare to be more original it would mean that bodybuilding could reach not only a larger audience but also other venues. And not just to make the sport grow bigger, but also to make it more interesting and exciting for fans to follow their additional social media.
Lastly, Arnold is the greatest example in this context. The Austrian Oak would never have been so extremely successful in life if it wasn’t for his original personality and how he thought outside of the ordinary bodybuilding community. Arnold was curious about other things in life as well – and the combination of his passions, personality and drive to reach his goals led him to become one of the most famous and original stars throughout history.