Victor Richards attained widespread fame as a hulking yet controversial amateur bodybuilder in the late 1980s and 1990s. Dubbed “a bodybuilding judge’s perfect physique fantasy,” Victor Richards chose to never turn IFBB pro despite his massive size and aesthetic shape.
His unique path makes Victor Richards one of the most intriguing figures in bodybuilding history.
Early Life and Entry into Bodybuilding
Victor Richards was born in 1966 in Nigeria before later immigrating to the United States.
As a teen, he displayed great athletic talents in football, wrestling, and track and field.
Victor Richards began lifting weights at age 15, starting at around 210 pounds.
Fueled by rapid muscle growth from training, Richards set his sights on bodybuilding.
He was mentored by famous twin bodybuilders the Barbarian Brothers, who helped Victor Richards refine his approach during these developmental years.
By age 18, Victor Richards weighed a staggering 240 pounds on his 5’10” frame.
Competitive Success and Controversy
This early success validated his phenomenal genetic gifts for building muscle.
However, Victor Richards became disenchanted after controversial judging losses he felt were unfairly politically motivated.
Despite continuing to win shows like the 1989 California Gold Cup, Victor Richards grew frustrated believing the system rewarded connections over merit.
He came to see bodybuilding judges and officials as biased and corrupt, bowing to money and politics over physique quality.
These negative experiences shaped Victor Richards‘ attitude going forward.
He vowed to become so massively built that judges could not deny his superiority, rather than seeking validation through trophies.
Rise to Fame Outside the IFBB
Victor Richards attained worldwide fame after being dubbed “the largest bodybuilder alive” by Muscle & Fitness magazine in 1997.
Towering at over 300 pounds shredded, he was considered perhaps the top amateur competitor for years despite avoiding IFBB contests.
Promoters and fans clamored for Victor Richards to turn pro and compete against the world’s best.
However, he rebuffed this pressure and chose to remain an amateur bodybuilder on principle due to his misgivings with judging.
Victor Richards competed selectively in non-IFBB shows like the 1992 Nigeria Championships.
Between Richards’ staggering mass, refusal to turn pro, and outspoken nature, he became a polarizing cult icon in bodybuilding.
Critics felt Richards hid behind politics to duck real competition.
But supporters saw him as an uncompromising athlete who revealed uncomfortable truths about the sport’s rampant corruption.
In the gym, Victor Richards trained each muscle group 1-2 times per week, blasting them with intense heavy lifting and high volume. A typical split was:
- Monday: Arms and calves
- Tuesday: Legs
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Chest and triceps
- Friday: Back and biceps
- Saturday: Shoulders
Like his training, Richards’ steroid doses were also extreme – estimated to be over 10 grams per week at his size peak. However, his diet remained surprisingly moderate.
He simply tried to fuel his workouts and recovery without overeating.
Retirement from Bodybuilding
By the late 1990s, Victor Richards began to reduce his competition schedule and public appearances.
Persistent injuries like torn pectorals, wear and tear, and health issues prompted his gradual retirement from serious training.
He had achieved his mission of building perhaps the greatest natural physique ever through diligent bodybuilding.
Victor Richards attempted a comeback in 2009 at age 43 after a decade away. But after looking impressive in a MuscleSport Magazine photo shoot, he suffered a torn triceps that forced Richards to withdraw from the 2009 Natural Olympia contest.
Soon after, Victor Richards shifted his focus to maintaining fitness rather than extreme size.
Legacy and Controversy
He built the size worthy of Mr. Olympia’s fame yet shunned the corruption of the IFBB hierarchy.
Either way, Victor Richards left an enduring impact through his larger-than-life persona and physique.
His selective competition history makes Richards one of bodybuilding’s greatest enigmas.
The California-based former giant remains semi-retired, rarely seen but forever mythologized among fans worldwide.
Whether a candidate for GOAT status or a product of steroid abuse, Victor Richards‘ mystique lives on.
His sheer enormity forced the sport to reckon with its flaws and forces of nature like Richards himself.
Though his final chapter remains unwritten, Victor Richards‘ earlier feats ensure his legend will never be forgotten.