Although now the first, and only, name on anyone’s lips when discussing the world’s strongest bodybuilder is Ronnie Coleman, but in the 1990s, there was another- Chris Cormier. Known as much for his strength as he was for his sick physique, Chris Cormier was forever featured in the magazine lifting massive poundages- he was the inspiration everyone used to hit a new PR when they would hit the gym, and the reason people battled it out on the bench at Gold’s Venice. Standing 5’11” and 251 pounds, he was certainly not the largest bodybuilder on the planet, but with a 525 x 2 incline bench, beltless reps with 675 on the squat, and strict lateral raises with the 80s, Chris Cormier was even stronger than he looked.
With a professional career that spanned almost 14 years, Chris Cormier stands as one of the most consistently excellent competitors of the 1990s. Only finishing outside of the top ten at the 2005 Mr. Olympia, Cormier managed two wins and six second place finishes at the Arnold Classic in a career that included 72 IFBB competitions. Injuries cut his career short, though by the time they began compiling, Cormier was arguably past his prime.
Cormier achieved what is unanimously considered to be his best ever condition at the highly disputed 2002 Mr. Olympia, which most people in the crowd felt should have gone to either Cormier or fellow 1990’s mainstay Kevin Levrone. Though Cormier took third in the competition, the consensus was that the top three positions were fairly interchangeable, with any of the three men in a position to stake a reasonable claim to the title. Tragically, Cormier found himself injured the following year and was unable to compete for the title despite having matched his Olympia condition at the 2003 Arnold Classic.
After hospitalization for an infected spine and a subsequently torn tricep, Cormier hung up his trunks in 2007. Since then, Cormier has focused on training athletes for competition, most notably Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, whom he trained to a second place finish at the Olympia in 2017.
Image Source: Greatest Physiques