BY OLU ALEMORU
VENICE — The 2013 Muscle Beach Championship attracted a large and enthusiastic Labor Day crowd and featured competitors from as far away as Italy and Nigeria.
The all-day competition featured categories in bodybuilding, figure, men’s physique and bikini, amongst different age groups and is staged by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
In particular, fans came to see actor, fitness trainer and retired bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who played “The Hulk” in the 1980s TV show, inducted into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame and receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Former Marvel Comics President/Chairman, the iconic Stan Lee, who co-created the Hulk with artist Jack Kirby, did the presenting honors.
Mike Bonin, the recently elected Los Angeles city councilman for the 11th District, hailed it as a “fantastic event.”
“Joe Wheatley [of the Parks and Recreation Department] puts this together every Labor Day and it’s a great for people to come out and see and appreciate that Venice Beach is one of the body-building capitals of the world and the birthplace of modern body building,” he said. “One of the things I want to do is help nurture and appreciate the neighborhoods — and I’ve got nine different ones — in my district. Venice is a very unique one and Venice Beach is a very unique part of that area.”
Nigerian body builder Ezekiel Emmanuel, 31, was making his American competition debut.
“I’ve been competing for the last five years, but this is my first time competing in the U.S.,” he said. “Joe Wheatley sent me an invitation letter. Body building is big in Nigeria, but we don’t have the kind of sponsorship they have here.”