Albert Beckles is a name of which you have likely heard, but of which you undoubtedly should. Dubbed “Ageless” Albert Beckles by the pundits, who genuinely had no idea how old Beckles actually was for much of his career, he was a staple of the bodybuilding world for an impossible-seeming four decades. In the span of his 37-year career, Beckles put to rest any ideas anyone might have had about what sort of physique is possible after the age of 40, because much of his success actually came after that watershed year.
Born in Barbados in 1930 (or 1938, depending on your source), Albert Beckles emigrated to the UK as a child, but little else is known of his formative years. At the age of 35, Beckles began competing in bodybuilding, placing fifth in the Mr. Britain contest. Five years later, at the ripe old age of 40, Beckles finally had his physique dialed in and he won that contest. The following year he won both the IFBB and NABBA Mr. Universe contests, a feat Franco Columbo had failed to pull off the year prior (he’d only managed to win the overall at the IFBB version).
From there, Beckles was a staple in the Olympia and the Universe, as he competed over 80 times after winning the Universe titles. He reached the Olympia stage a whopping thirteen times, placing second to Lee Haney in 1985 at the insane age of 55. He continued to compete until he was a sexagenarian, winning his last pro show in 1991 at the age of 61 and finally hanging up his posing trunks at the age of 62, a year later.
Though Beckles wasn’t known for his mass, his 5’7” 218 pound physique proved that age is truly just a number, and that consistency and perseverance is the key to success, even in strength and physique sports. Though his physique will never be lauded as the best of all time, it will certainly be remembered as the only one to garner a second place finish at the Olympia at 55, and as a testament to the power of bodybuilding for longevity.