1901: This year is the first of an organised bodybuilding
contest in Europe when a famous German Strongman, Eugene Sandow,
judged an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The event drew an attendance
figure in excess of 2,000.
1906: The Health & Strength League was formed on
a wintry evening in December by a group of enthusiasts who wished to pursue
all aspects of physical culture. The league title was taken from a fitness
magazine of the same name - first published in 1894.
1930: The first MR & Miss Britain Title was held.
This inaugural event caused a great upsurge in membership and 1936 alone
11398 new members enrolled. The organisation became Worldwide and had a
motto ´Sacred thy body even as thy soul´ inscribed on its membership
badge. By 1943 the League had a staggering 191,000 members.
1948: Health and Strength magazine organised the first
MR Universe contest to commemorate the Olympic Games being held that year
in London. Won by John Grimek, twice MR America winner who had previously
represented the USA as a weight lifter at the 1936 Olympic Games.
1950: NABBA was formed. MR Universe was won that year
by MR America Steve Reeves, who later went on to make more than thirty
Hercules movies. The following year, when Reg Park won, one of the competitors
was a young man from Canada, Joe Weider.
In the years that followed the top bodybuilders worldwide came to England
to try and win the Universe title. Famous names like John Grimek, Steve
Reeves, Bill Pearl, all Americans, were part of a group which also included
Reg Park, England and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria, a 4 times Universe
winner. These 5 were the most influential winners who later became the
legends of the Universe.
1955: The late OSCAR HEIDENSTAM was appointed full time
secretary and became the main driving force in NABBA for more than thirty
1984:At a meeting in London NABBA International was formed
and became host to the European, World and Universe Championships. This
branch of NABBA is now supported by more than fifty countries.
PRESENT DAY: United Kingdom Structure: Ten elected area reps covering
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise the NABBA council.
Each area holds a qualifying event, which leads to the Annual MR &
Miss Britain Finals - held at the Opera House, Blackpool. This in turn
becomes a qualifier for the European and Universe Championships. The Universe
contest gets stronger every year. At the last Universe events representatives
from every country in Europe took part, plus athletes from South Africa,
Australia and New Zealand, Philippines, Canada North and South America
- a total of more than 200 competing athletes.
Hard work by the top officials and a volunteer force of members (at
the Universe there are normally over fifty helpers), ensures that this
1998 we celebrated fifty years of the NABBA Universe -
a time span that has made the federation the oldest and most established
in the history of bodybuilding. At a celebration dinner in Birmingham,
England, several hundred people attended the greatest night in the history
of NABBA. More than thirty former Universe Champions, men and women, were
present, including NABBA legends Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Reg Park and
In spite of changing times NABBA remains a fresh, dynamic athlete-oriented
organisation with a lot of future aspirations.
We believe that the dedicated, hard working athlete not only deserves
professionally run competitions with qualified judges but also recognition,
publicity and respekt.
We believe that the sport of bodybuilding is an ideal means for achieving
total physical fitness and bodily perfection. It is a constructive force
for developing discipline of the mind as well as of the body.
We believe that this discipline should find expression not only in good
health habits and planned physical exercise, also we believe in clean living,
good sportsmanship and in correct and friendly relationships between competitors,
officials, and administrators.