#3. Frank Zane vs. Franco Columbu
Franco Columbu, also known as “The Sardinian Strongman”, was a genetic freak in an age where supplements were scarce and growing huge was the result of unconventional training methods and a lot of meticulous work. Despite being shorter than most of his competitors, he managed to achieve widespread success and win two Mr. Olympias even after a devastating knee injury.
On the other hand, Frank Zane had such an impressive physique that even today bodybuilders use the term ‘Zane-like’ when referring to a very high level of leanness. Zane built a physique graced with stellar lines and full attention to detail and revolutionized the sport by repeatedly winning top titles against bodybuilders with jaw-dropping amounts of mass, including three straight Mr. Olympias.
The jarring differences between Zane’s and Columbu’s attitude, appearance and training techniques gave birth to a very interesting rivalry and a strong animosity between the two men – although Zane had a smaller but perfectly proportioned frame while Franco had a more massive, beefy physique, these two were pretty evenly matched in terms of competitions won.
#4. Kevin Levrone vs. Flex Wheeler
Kevin Levrone and Flex Wheeler first met in the classic heavyweight class of the 1991 NPC Nationals. Levrone won that contest, but one year later, Wheeler earned his way into the pro division and won five Arnold Classic Champion titles in the following years. These two great bodybuilders had enormous potential to reach the very top of the game, so it’s only natural that the rivalry between them attracted fans attention worldwide.
Both of them had what it took to win the Olympia title back in the 90’s, but weren’t able to truly realize their full potential for various reasons such as lack of focus and injuries. Wheeler became a three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up, while Levrone had the same placement four times. The back and forth between them went on for the rest of their careers, always making up a thrilling show for the fans, and their hard work ultimately made each of them a bodybuilding legend in his own right.
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