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Who Is Quadfather and Why Is He Celebrated So Much Despite Never Winning Mr. Olympia?

Published 11/18/2023, 12:30 PM EST

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In the world of bodybuilding, the most prestigious title is considered to be the Mr. Olympia. Any athlete who lifts the Sandow trophy gets their name written on the golden annals of the sport, as conquering this coveted title is challenging.

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But the question arises if whether a bodybuilder who has never won a single Olympia title will be considered among the best. One such bodybuilding legend, who, despite not winning a single Mr. Olympia title, gained immense popularity worldwide for his gigantic physique and exceptional persona. The world knows him as The Quadfather aka Tom Platz.

Tom Platz found his calling in bodybuilding at nine


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Platz’s story began when he was just 9 years old when he was intrigued by a muscle magazine photo featuring late bodybuilder Dave Draper and Betty Brosmer. Platz was astounded by what he saw and started feeling a yearning for the sport.

In one of his throwback interviews, The Golden Eagle described, “I looked at that picture, and it was like, “God! I don’t believe this.” It was an incredible transformational moment that changed my life forever. That photo just motivated me and inspired me and said something to me – about the physicality of California, about lifting weights and having muscles of iron.” He was inspired by Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger, he showed these pictures to his father, and with determination, he told him “That’s what I want to do for a living.” This realization changed his life forever.


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Eventually, his father supported his desire and when he was around nine and a half years old, Platz began his training in the basement of their house. His father helped him train and Platz’s siblings used to count his reps. Initially, he struggled while performing a movement, but later he improved his exercise techniques. Later on, the family moved to Kansas City, and he started working in a health spa and trained himself professionally.

It was a surprise to know that during his initial training, he avoided working on his legs. However, at the age of 15, he began with a 15-minute leg day workout routine. People often made fun of Quadzilla’s legs during high school and called him skinny legs. Until he moved to Detroit and joined Armentos’ Gym. He finally focused on legs during his 12th grade. Squats and hack squats were the combinations that led to the foundation.

Tom Platz started competing professionally in 1973

Moreover, after getting his initial training with professional Olympic athletes, later, Platz moved to California. When he reached Los Angeles, he joined the gym and began his squats training. Just like in high school, people used to tell him that if he continued doing squats, it would make his bu** bigger. However, he didn’t listen to anybody and concentrated on his workout, and the rest is history. He earned multiple nicknames due to his quads.

Moving on, the 68-year-old pursued a master’s in fitness Science and did his bachelor’s in Science Physiology, and Nutrition. Platz also holds a degree in Business Administration. His first venture into competitive bodybuilding began in 1973 when he participated in Mr. Adonis. After five years he won the World Amateur Championship middleweight in 1978.

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In a throwback seminar uploaded on YouTube, Platz revealed how his path to success wasn’t easy. He shared that he moved to California with only $50 in his pocket with a dream to win the Olympia.” I went to Gold’s Gym 50 bucks in a plane ticket we all went to Gold’s Gym like anointed zombies we didn’t care about the money all we wanted to do was train.” Despite not winning the marquee event throughout his career, in 1981 Platz secured third place at the Olympia. Afterward, he announced his retirement from the competitive arena. Five years ago, during a seminar, he recalled a time, in spite of winning Mr. Universe he faced a crisis to survive in L.A.

Platz’s tale of when he can’t even afford to buy tuna


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He always has been transparent about his life and the people who helped him, he articulated that there was a time when he lost hope and was planning to leave the sport and start his career as a professor. He reminisces a time when he was broke and had a conversation with three times Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. “I was broke, Zane said; Tom wait, the opportunity’s gonna come to you. It’s gonna come. Your phone will start ringing.” He further said the God of aesthetics encouraged him, “You have the leg thing going on, that you should market your legs. You have something we never, we don’t all have.

He advised Platz, “Now that you’re Mr. Universe, you should charge no less than $3000 to go somewhere.” This significant advice helped overcome the financial crisis. Regardless of any situation or bad condition, he never totally gave up on his dreams. He retired eventually, but he never stopped helping others pursue their dreams. He strongly believed in consistency and was of the belief that winning the Mr. Olympia, did not define his success.


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According to him, “If you fully believe you will be successful and can visualize being successful, you will succeed.” What do you think about Platz’s mantra? Is winning what you successful or is it the things that you achieve during your journey that can actually be called success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

WATCH THIS STORY: 68-Year-Old Veteran Bodybuilder Credits ‘God of Aesthetics’ Frank Zane for Saving Him When He Was Too Broke to Even Buy Tuna For Diet

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Written by:

Arpita Shrivastava


One take at a time

Hi, I'm Arpita Shrivastava, a fitness and bodybuilding writer at EssentiallySports. When I started college, my fascination shifted to combat sports and I began training for Judo. I did it for two years until an injury compelled me to step away from the mat.
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