Anibal Lopez Official Web site:
Anibal Lopez Bio
Date of birth: August 24, 1942
Place of birth: Puerto Rico
Began bodybuilding: Age 16
Other sports: Gymnastic, Boxing and Baseball
1965 AAU Mr. Wagner
1968 S&H Man of the Year (photo contest)
1969 AAU Mr. Gotham
1969 AAU Region One Championship
1969 AAU Mr. Brooklyn
1969 AAU Mr. New York State
1969 AAU Mr. New York City, plus all body parts
1969 AAU Outstanding Bodybuilder of the Year
1970 AAU Mr. World 2nd Runner up
1971 AAU Mr. East Coast
1971 AAU Mr. Atlantic Coast
1971 AAU Mr. Chesapeake Bay
1973 AAU Mr. Jr. America (3rd Place)
1973 AAU Mr. Senior America (3rd Place)
1978 WBBG Pro-Mr. America, plus best legs, arms, abdominals & best poser
1978 WBBG Pro-Mr. World
1980 Tour with IFBB Grand Prix
During the time I was not competing, I performed exhibitions for summer camps, churches, prisons and schools. I have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Spain and The United Kingdom giving seminars. I have been a successful personal trainer and appeared on various televion talk shows.
I was born in Puerto Rico on Aug 24, 1942, to Francisco and Francisca Lopez. I have two brothers, Angelo and Robert as well as two sisters, Rachel and Lucy.
We moved to Bronx, New York when I was 12 years old. I attended Public School 66, Intermediate School 98 - Herman Ridder School, and Columbus High School.
My family was very poor and making ends meet was not easy for us. My parents did the best they could with what they had. My mother was a devoted Christian. Her main source of strength and hope was God. All of the children were raised to depend on God and understand that all things through Him were possible.
My mother’s deep faith saw us through some very difficult times. Although I entered a phase in my life when I departed from my mother’s early teaching, it never left my mind. Whenever I found myself in difficult times I reflected on her example and it always brought me comfort. I still continued, as many strong-minded young men will, to do things “my way”. Often I would find my mother on her knees praying for me.
Men of great muscular power who had the ability to perform amazing feats of strength always fascinated me. I would read Tarzan magazines and watch Johnny Weissmuller play the hero in the movie versions. I also loved watching gymnastics and eventually started participating in the sport myself. I was also drawn to both Superman and Hercules. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Steve Reeves in a Hercules film. If I had to choose one moment when the bodybuilding “bug” really bit me that would be it. Little did I know that one day, decades later, Reeves himself would tell me that he considered me to be one of his favorite bodybuilders! To this day, I still consider that compliment from such a great man, and childhood hero of mine, to have made all my years of hard work in the gym worthwhile.
Any account of my career would be incomplete without mentioning the very first people that encouraged me to become a bodybuilder, my cousins Raul Pacheco and Ray Jimenez who took me to see my first contest. The guest poser that night was Leroy Colbert, another childhood hero that I was later to meet and befriend.
I was always conscious of, what I considered to be, my small size. I constantly looked for ways to improve my strength and my ability to “defend” myself. Boxing was my first avenue of self-improvement. I became a pretty good with my fists, which brought about a confidence that brought about a change in my attitude about my physical size.
My passion began to grow for both weightlifting and bodybuilding. I started to train at home with a barbell, a pair of dumbbells that I ordered from a Weider magazine for $19.95 and a homemade wood bench.
It took me a long time to save the money to purchase that set of weights. I worked at a grocery store after school and saved all of my wages until I could order the equipment. I remember choosing to order them specifically from Weider because I believed that they would build my body faster and better than other weights, just as his advertising had promised!
We lived in the Throgsneck Projects in the Bronx. Eventually they opened a facility where I could train with weights, box, and do gymnastics. Membership was free and all the staff volunteered their time. I began to see big changes in my body, both in size and strength. It was at the Throgsneck center that I won my first trophy in weight lifting. This encouraged me to train even harder.
I often think back to all of those who helped me at that time, when I had nothing. They encouraged me and asked for nothing in return.
I joined the AAU and entered my first novice contest, “Mr. Wagner”, named so because it was held at the Wagner Youth Center in Manhattan. To my great surprise, I won the over-all title!
My singular goal after that first show was to win the Mr. New York City title. I felt that if I could win that show, I wouldn’t care if I never won anything else. For my successful career in the sport that followed these humble beginnings, I credit the blessing of having had the greatest God-fearing mother in the world. I know that God rewarded her faithfulness through the accomplishments of all of her children.
Besides my accomplishments in bodybuilding, I am also very proud of my service to my country in the Armed Forces. I served in the Army with the 101st Airborne Division; I loved the challenge of jumping out of an aircraft in flight. I later served with 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in the reserve. I was credited with over 100 jumps, including 10 night jumps all from different aircraft.
My life experiences have left me convinced that although we all have our “ups and downs” and personal limitations, if we are persistent, dedicated and do the best with what we have, we will succeed.
I am now retired from competitive bodybuilding but I continue to train and stay in shape. For me bodybuilding has never simply been a sport, it has always been a way of life, one that I will continue as long as I am physically able.
I am proud of my children Annette, Debbie, Danny, and Alex and, of course, of my grandchildren Kaela, Bella and Xavier Anibal.