“Only Had 428 Dollars and 10 Cents in My Pocket”: Bodybuilding Legend Milos Sarcev Shares His Inspiring Story of Coming to America

Published 02/25/2023, 1:15 AM EST

Bodybuilding legend Milos ‘The Mind’ Sarcev was among the most prolific competitors of his time. Despite the ups and downs in his career, the 1989 Mr. Universe winner competed in 72 pro shows. The wealth of experience he earned from his competitive bodybuilding career has turned Sarcev into one of the most renowned coaches of our time. Currently, Sarcev is training one of the most promising bodybuilders in the world, Samson Dauda. EssentiallySports got the opportunity to sit down for a candid conversation with the legendary bodybuilder.

During the exclusive interview with Shreya Verma, Milos shared his inspiring story of how he fulfilled his dream of coming to America and the struggles he faced before finally tasting success.

Milos Sarcev’s inspiring journey


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‘The Mind’ opened up about an intriguing incident from his past. Sarcev recalled he had traveled to Italy to compete in the European Championship when he was 23. While returning to his hometown in Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Sarcev purchased “the cheapest tickets,” since he had financial problems. While on the boat, the bodybuilder met two American women who “were very seasick.”

Sarcev helped the women, and they struck up a friendship. “We exchanged the numbers, and they basically told me, ‘if you ever come to the United States… call us,'” shared Milos Sarcev. However, ‘The Mind’ also revealed how difficult it was for someone from Yugoslavia to travel to America in 1987. Firstly “It was super hard to get the visa,” and “for a Serbian guy to have enough money to travel, so that’s another thing,” Sarcev told Verma.

However, after competing in the Serbian championship, Sarcev got offers from promoters to guest pose and star in a few commercials. “I made just enough money to get to the United States… I only had 428 dollars and 10 cents in my pocket,” revealed the Serbian bodybuilder. After arriving in America, Sarcev reached out to the two ladies he had met on the boat, and they helped him.

Milos Sarcev and his five-year plan

Milos Sarcev’s inspiring story doesn’t end with his arrival in the United States. While coming to America opened a world of opportunity for Milos Sarcev, his struggles were far from over. “I was struggling, working hard. I was working from five o’clock in the morning until midnight six days a week,” said Sarcev. However, he had his priorities straight.


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‘The Mind’ had a five-year plan. “Come to United States, win Mr. Universe, turn IFBB professional, qualified for Mr. Olympia, and make a living off of bodybuilding,” said Sarcev. The bodybuilding legend won the Mr. Universe in 1989, and by 1992, he had fulfilled all the other goals of his five-year plan.


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Milos ‘The Mind’ Sarcev ended the segment with an inspiring message for everyone. He said anyone could achieve their goals like he did if they approach their plans methodically and work hard.



Sagnik Bagchi

587 articles

Sagnik Bagchi is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. He has experience working as a freelance MMA writer for Sportskeeda.

Edited By: Simar Singh Wadhwa