"Chris Dickerson is a living legend in the field of bodybuilding. Chris has finally done it, pulled out all the strops, reached the top in a field where only five men before him have stood. Chris has wanted this title for a long time, each year he tried he improved, until he reached a level of perfection no one could match, not Zane with cuts, nor Platz with his massive size. Chris has brought the Olympia out of the darkness it has stood for the past two years and into the light where it belong. Nice going Mr. Olympia: Chris Dickerson.
Chris may have really been made, instead of molded by iron, by the same men who made the statues of 'Poseidon' or the 'Discus Thrower.' Perfectly sculptured art is perhaps the best description of Chris I can think of.
Here are some of Chris Dickerson's thoughts on himself and his sport.
Q. First off I'd like to know the first contest you ever entered.
A. My first contest I ever entered was Mr. Long Beach in California, I came in third and that was in 1965.
Q. How long before then had you started lifting?
A. I had been training two and a half to three years before then under Bill Pearl's instruction.
Q.What motivated you into lifting?
A. It was just the ideal of wanting to look better and improve my physique, not so much with the idea of winning Mr. America, though it was in the back of my mind.
Q. What do you feel is your greatest moment so far? Your personal favorite?
A. Oh wow, well winning Mr. America is very significant, and in so doing, being the first black man to do so, so maybe that is. It's a little piece of history in a small way. (I walked with Chris before his Mr. Olympia win, I'm sure his answer would be different now.)
Q. How old are you?
Q. How much longer do you feel you'll be able to keep up this pace?
A. That'S a good question, so far so good, I respond very well to training, so I look for 3 to 5 years.
Q. What are your short term and long term goals contest-wise?
A. I'd like to win the Mr. Olympia, and continue to inspire people to work out, but the Mr. Olympia is the title I'd like to win. I've won every other one.
Q. What do you feel are your weak points physique-wise and your strong?
A. Oh boy, everone thinks about legs with me, and then my calves - I like to think my body is symmetrical but I'd like to improve on all of it. I'm often criticized, especially by this magazine, about my arms, and I don't feel they are disproportionate to the rest of my physique. I want to improve everything but I'm always being criticized for my biceps by my critics.
Q. You're so perfect now, how much further do you think you can go?
A. Oh, well it's hard to say I want to reach my fullest potential. I don't think anyone will ever reach their fullest potential but that's my goal, and what I do in the next 3 to 5 years will tell that.
Q. After you win the Olympia next year, what do you plan then? Where do you go?
A. Well, I'd like to defend the title, the Mr. Olympia, the top title. That would be the only contest I would compete in if I could defend that title, it would be tremendous.
Q. OK, I'd like to ask you a little bit about your training. Basically what kind of routine do you follow? How much do you train a week?
A. I train normally six days a week. For the grand Prix, sometimes right through the week, seven days, two and a half to three hours I work out. I believe in intense training, not heavy, I believe in working as heavy as you can where you can concentrate on the muscle being worked out but not so heavy where you're working mostly the joints and not the muscles. The pace is important. I like to go fast, from exercise to exercise.
Q. So about how many sets do you do per body part?
A. Oh, about 18 to 20 sets
Q. What kind of diet do you follow, basically?
A. For me, it's to get the muscle. Not at my age, fish is very important, some salad, some fruit to keep the natural sugar up. I don't want to be drawn, I want to keep the muscle size up, and I take vitamins. They are very important - the B vitamins in particular. Some grains, whole grain bread about 3 days a week - one piece, just to help my digestive system.
Q. How do you feel on this diet?
A. I feel good. When I get hungry very fast but I feel good.
Q. Do you have any trouble peaking for all of shows and these contest peaks don't bother you?
A. I don't believe that you peak just once, I like to think that you get better and better. Naturally there will be days that you deviate. You can't be absolute 100 percent but you should be no lower then 98, if you do the right things.
Q. Well, I saw you in New York last year, and you looked great, but then at the '80 Olympia you were fantastic, so what's the secret?
A. Well, I think maybe the lay off between the two was great and just the rest. You see New York was the last of five - that makes it hard.
Q. What do you feel about this show tonight? (The New England Grand Prix)
A. Well, it's very close between me and Albert Beckles, and I'm prepared if he should win. I feel I'm still in good standing as far as the overall Grand Prix goes.
Q.You've just about won that already
A. Well, I never count my chickens before they are hatched.
Q. Erll, thank you very much Chris, I wish you luck."
old IM mag around 1970, by Steve Robinson