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  • Writer's pictureJulian Molteno

LEE HANEY Bodybuilding photos that are a part of me

What an amazing photo!! This picture resonates for me in so many ways. Taken around the mid 80’s, we see Lee standing in his jeans over a steaming New York manhole cover. Lee looks SUPREME!!! I love the fact that he does not even look pumped. Just took off his top, stone cold, and BOOM💥!! This pose just clicks into place. Every muscle in his upper body perfectly proportioned, all fitting together in a beautiful, balanced, harmony. Add in a rock hard, super tight waist and the pose is truly mesmerising. Incidentally, I love the way his chain sits, not hangs, on his mighty chest. And seemingly so effortless, Lee puts his hands on his waist, flares his lats and the result is perfection. For an aspiring South African teenager dreaming of bodybuilding success which, of course, meant America, California and Muscle Beach, Lee’s photo was totally captivating. Lee was standing where I wanted to stand. Conquering bodybuilding and America with such apparent ease! For some reason Haney’s photo always puts me in mind of the iconic “flying dress” photo, taken in 1954, of Marilyn Monroe as she stood on a New York subway grate. For me, both of these images are evocative of the American Dream. That American Dream that my hero Arnold so personified too. And as for Lee Haney, the man, and Lee Haney, the 8 time Mr Olympia, I have boundless admiration! This Southern gentleman, a quietly spoken Christian, family man, marrying together physical and spiritual excellence, and doing so with dignity and respect for his fellow man and for his God. Such a contrast to the trash talking world of today’s modern sportsmen. Even now, 30 years after I first saw it, I have to smile in wonder and admiration as Lee’s physical magnificence and spiritual grace are both captured forever, so perfectly, in that one amazing moment. It certainly captivated me.  

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