Thursday, October 2, 2008

Clancy Ross - King of the Bodybuilders - by Joseph Merrette


The King is dead. Long live the King. Clarence Ross the "King of the Bodybuilders" passed away April 30, 2008 at the age of 85. Clancy came to prominence when he won the Mr. America title in 1945.

Clancy was born in Oakland Ca. in 1923. His mother died when he was a young child. And he spent most of his young life in orphanages. When he was 17 he was 5'10" and weighed 135 lbs. He bought a set of weights and put on 15 lbs. At that time Pearl Harbor was attacked and Clancy enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Because of his muscular physique he was assigned as a
weight training instructor. There he met Veteran Bodybuilder Leo Stern. Leo took Clancy under his wing and he blossomed.
After the war Clancy was ready and he entered the Mr. America contest of 1945 and won. And he won nearly every contest he entered.

He became one of the best know bodybuilders of the "Golden Era". With a very muscular physique and beautifully proportioned his picture on bodybuilding magazines all over the world. Not only did he have a great physique but he was very strong also. Some of his lifts include a standing press of 320, curl of 200, Bench 400, and squat of 500. Reg Park who worked out with him was amazed to see Clancy handle a pair of 140 lb. dumbells in his bench work.

In 1948 Clancy entered the Mr. USA contest where only the top builders were invited. Clancy won with Steve Reeves placing 2nd. And non other than Alan Stephan coming 3rd. Such was the competition. In 1949 Clancy entered the Mr. USA contest again to defend his title. It must have been a contest to behold. All the big names of the "Golden Era" were there. There was an additional ingredient of excitement. The "Monarch of Muscledom" . John Grimek was going to compete. It became
a contest of anticipation. Grimek vs. Ross. The immortal John Grimek won with Clancy placing 2nd. And the great Steve Reeves coming in 3rd.

Clancy went on to other titles to numerous to mention. Controversy continued on about if he should have won. The contestants took it in stride and went on with their lives. Clancy was a private person but always remained ready to help any struggling bodybuilder. He continued to work out with weights in spite of knee and hip replacements. King of the Bodybuilders till the end. As I look around I don't see a replacement anywhere. Maybe thats as it should be, Ross, Grimek and Reeves were all one of a kind.
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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