Stars of the Olympia – Nasser El Sonbaty

Nasser El Sonbaty: Although it seems hard to conceive at this point, the first Mr. Olympia in which the resident mass monster of the 1990s competed boasted not one, not two, but five bodybuilders over 275 pounds.  Of those five, only one, “The Professor” Nasser El Sonbaty, regularly challenged the champ for his crown.  Though fellow German citizen Günter Schlierkamp did manage to take second once, neither he nor Paul Dillet or Achim Albrecht managed to bring the combination of insane mass and ultra-sick conditioning to the Olympia stage year after year, as Nasser consistently challenged Dorian for the title.

Due to his multi-discipline degree, the fact he spoke a handful of languages fluently, and his bespectacled appearance, Sonbaty earned himself the nickname “The Professor” where he might otherwise have been called “Godzilla”.  At 5’11” and almost 300 pounds, Nasser was never out of shape- even at 330lbs in the offseason, Nasser’s trademark brick wall of abdominal development was on full display.  In spite of that fact, Nasser’s insane appearance was never enough to overshadow his flaws from behind, which kept him from beating Dorian Yates.

Over the course of a pro career that spanned fifteen years (1990-2005), Nasser amassed a string of lower-level show wins in addition to victories at the prestigious Night of Champions and Arnold Classic.  Owing in large part to his back, then later to allegations of rampant synthol use in his shoulders, Nasser found his placings steadily dropping towards the end of his career.  Nevertheless, out of nine trips to the Olympia, Nasser made the finals in six of them, and placed in the top three in four of those- not too shabby for a mass monster.

Tragically, Nasser’s life was like many pro bodybuilders’ lives cut short.  Nasser died in his sleep in 2013, of kidney failure.  Though he only lived to 47, Nasser’s legacy remains as the most successful of the mass monsters who have ever graced the bodybuilding stage, and is one of the few men to place in the top five at the Olympia weighing nearly 300 pounds.


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