Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
May 19, 2024
Bodybuilder Tony Pearson Tribute

Tony Pearson 1985 Olympia

Tony Pearson Bio

I was born in Memphis, TN but grew up in St. Louis, MO with my sister Carolyn and great aunt.  Like a lot of kids, I wasn't focused and  goofed off in school--not realizing the importance of making school academics a priority.  I spent most of my time daydreaming. I would daydream of living in California, sitting on the beach in the warm sun, and becoming a star.  My interest in anything wasn't peaked until I met Muhammad Ali speaking at a high school when I was about 14 years old.  He was my first role model and inspiration.  To me, he was the epitome of athleticism.

My first year in high school was my turning point.  I began to apply myself in school and joined the wrestling team, but I sustained an injury to my right knee that same year.  I had to have surgery.  The rehabilitation process was painful and involved a weight training program, but I soon realized that I was a natural at weight training and so did my coach.  In a way, I'm thankful for that injury because it introduced me to my forte in life.

One day my high school coach, Mr. Camp, decided to take me to a "real gym."  George Turner's gym located in the suburb Clayton, MO.  After just one day, the owner of the gym asked me to come to his office immediately.  I remember thinking, "What have I done wrong.?"  I gingerly entered the office only to discover that Mr. Turner was about to make me an offer I couldn't refuse.  "You've got potential kid.  I think I can make you a champion."  Considering at the time I only weighed about  140 pounds soaking wet.  Turner's words came as quite a surprise. But sure enough, over the next few months I packed on 20 pounds of muscle.  This fledgling bodybuilder was now displaying physical attributes that was going to make me that star.  I was totally hooked on bodybuilding!

After six months with George and graduation nearing, I announced to my coach that I was moving to California to fulfill my lifelong dream.  After receiving Mr. Turner's blessing, I was off to seek my fame and fortune in the Golden State.
I arrived in Los Angeles on a one-way bus ticket with just two pairs of jeans, $75 in my pocket, and a heart filled with optimism and self-confidence.  I headed straight to the Mecca of bodybuilding, Venice Beach.  Barely two months after my arrival, I decided to enter the Mr. Venice Beach bodybuilding competition.  I won that contest!  In order to support myself, I worked as a bouncer for major concerts for which Los Angeles is never in short supply.  Along with my buddies, legendary bodybuilders Bill Grant and Kent Koehn, I experienced the star-studded lifestyle of Hollywood working security for headliners like Kiss and Rod Stewart as well as The People's Choice Awards.  I had close encounters with celebrities like John Wayne and Robert Conrad.

My bodybuilding career began to take flight as I worked my way through the amateur competitive ranks in 1978 winning Mr. Los Angeles, Jr. Mr. USA, Jr. Mr. America, and finally, the frosting on the cake, Mr. America.   My hard work didn't go unnoticed even by the world's most famous bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who featured me in his first "Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding."  My profound thank you Arnold!  Then, in 1979 I traveled to Europe winning the Mr. World and the pro Mr. Olympus titles.  Following in the footsteps of my mentor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I captured the Mr. Universe title in London the following year.

After conquering the individual aspect of competition, the more dramatic style of couples competition appealed to my artistic side.  Combining my stage charisma with the dance of two finely tuned physiques worked well to my advantage.  In an unprecedented winning streak, I garnered six world mixed-pairs titles with different partners in 1982 and '83  (Shelley Gruwell), '84 (Carla Dunlap), '85 (Tina Plakinger), '86 (Juliette Bergmann), and  '88 (Carla Dunlap).

I have made guest appearances on "Good Morning America", "NBC Sportsworld", and "Soul Train", and dabbled in show business appearing on Empty Nest and Man from Atlantis.  I'm still waiting on that big call!  I also competed in the now defunct World Bodybuilding Federation's shows launched by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon.

I currently live in Las Vegas where I am a  personal trainer and nutritional consultant to the stars both in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.  My goal is to show by example, that the best lifestyle is a natural one and that after a 19-year competitive career, I'm still in the game.  I remain in peak physical condition, and I have no intention of ever being less than in perfect health.  I'm an advocate of good  health and fitness, and I am always looking for new avenues to get my message out there to the younger generation and  to encourage them to follow their dreams.  "Always keep your goal in sight.  Stay focused no matter what the obstacles, because there will always be challenges along the way no matter what you pursue.  But if you are  persistent, have a positive attitude, and surround yourself with positive people, you will achieve your ultimate dream."

Bodybuilding Titles Won

1994 San Jose Pro Invitational - IFBB, 16th
1994 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 14th
1993 Pittsburgh Pro Invitational - IFBB, 16th
1993 Night of Champions - IFBB, Didn't place
1993 Chicago Pro Invitational - IFBB, 13rd
1991 WBF Grand Prix - WBF, 11th
1990 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 8th
1990 Houston Pro Invitational - IFBB, 6th
1990 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 6th
1989 Grand Prix Sweden - IFBB, 11th
1989 Grand Prix Spain - IFBB, 9th
1989 Grand Prix Spain (2) - IFBB, 9th
1989 Grand Prix Germany - IFBB, 9th
1989 Grand Prix France - IFBB, 11th
1988 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 8th
1988 Night of Champions - IFBB, 8th
1988 Niagara Falls Pro Invitational - IFBB, 5th
1988 Grand Prix US Pro - IFBB, 6th
1987 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 8th
1987 Night of Champions - IFBB, Didn't place
1986 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 9th
1986 Night of Champions - IFBB, 4th
1986 Los Angeles Pro Championships - IFBB, 5th
1985 Olympia - IFBB, 12th
1985 Night of Champions - IFBB, 9th
1984 World Grand Prix - IFBB, 3rd
1984 Olympia - IFBB, 12th
1984 Canada Pro Cup - IFBB, 3rd
1983 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 8th
1983 Grand Prix Switzerland - IFBB, 6th
1983 Grand Prix Sweden - IFBB, 6th
1983 Grand Prix Portland - IFBB, 2nd
1983 Grand Prix Las Vegas - IFBB, 6th
1983 Grand Prix England - IFBB, 4th
1983 Grand Prix Denver - IFBB, Winner
1982 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 4th
1982 Night of Champions - IFBB, 6th
1981 World Pro Championships - IFBB, 3rd
1981 World Grand Prix - IFBB, 4th
1981 Pro World Cup - WABBA, 7th
1981 Grand Prix Wales - IFBB, 5th
1981 Grand Prix Belgium - IFBB, 6th
1981 Canada Pro Cup - IFBB, 4th
1980 World Championships - WABBA, Professional, 3rd
1980 Universe - Pro - NABBA, Winner
1979 World Championships - WBBG, Winner
1979 World Championships - WABBA, Medium, 1st
1979 World Championships - WABBA, Overall Winner
1979 Universe - NABBA, Medium, 2nd
1979 Olympus - WBBG, Winner
1978 World Championships - WBBG, Winner
1978 Mr America - AAU, Medium, 1st
1978 Mr America - AAU, Overall Winner
1978 Junior Mr USA - AAU, Medium, 1st
1978 Junior Mr USA - AAU, Overall Winner
1978 Junior Mr America - AAU, Medium, 1st
1978 Junior Mr America - AAU, Overall Winner
1977 Junior Mr USA - AAU, Short, 3rd

Tony Pearson Video

Tony Pearson 1984 Olympia

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