Bodybuilding Legends Part XI

Bob Gajda, A Bodybuilder is Born

Even before he got into bodybuilding, Bob Gajda was a very active youth. He lettered in three sports during high school and even tried his hand at boxing. Bob's father had been a professional middleweight boxer during the 1940s, which served as inspiration. So did a book given to him by a nun from the Catholic school he attended in Chicago. Let's Take The Hard Road by John Cross and he-man poet Edgar A. Guest stressed the importance of developing strength and learning how to defend oneself.

On his walk home from school, Bob passed by Norb Grueber's Bodybuilders Sport Shop, which also served as the publishing office of Chicago Bodybuilder magazine. Posters of greats like Steve Reeves and John Grimek caught Bob's eye, and Norb immediately recognized his potential as a bodybuilder. Bob started weight training soon thereafter and, in a single summer before the start of high school football season, he put on 25 pounds of lean mass. Bob's coaches advised him to stop lifting weights, feeling that big muscles were useless on the gridiron, which summed up the competitive sport attitudes of the day. We all know how successful they were at getting him to quit.

Bob went on to become the only bodybuilder to win the Triple Crown of competitions: Mr. USA, Mr. America and Mr. Universe. But he never gave up on other types of athletic competition. Two of his proudest moments came in power lifting and volleyball. The 5-foot, 8-inch Bob Gajda blocked 7-foot, 1-inch Wilt 'The Stilt' Chamberlain not once but twice at the net in volleyball. He also defeated Clyde Emrich in an Olympic style AAU power lifting tournament. Bob's 280 lbs. snatch dispatched his former nemesis to settle a feud that began years before when Bob was still actively competing on the bodybuilding stage.
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Dec 28, 2008
I am not trying to discount Mr. Gajda, I think he was a great bodybuilder of his time. But to say that "only bodybuilder to win the Triple Crown of competitions: Mr. USA, Mr. America and Mr. Universe" Is not correct at all. There is one other person the Master Bodybuilder of all time. John Grimek He won the Mr. America 2 times (only one in history it was because of Grimek they changed the rules saying you could only win it once.) He Won the the 2nd Mr Universe contest in 1948 and won the Mr. USA contest where he beat Steve Reeves and the other top bodybuilders of the day. John Grimek was the only bodybuilder to never lose a contest. I think Gajda is a great bodybuilder and I think that PHA training is great. I just want to make sure you have your facts correct.
Mar 30, 2012
Why do some people allaucty most people believe attaining 20 inch arms naturally out of the question? Sure many, many people won't even get in the ball park not even hitting 15 or 16 inch arms l. Personally I believe its possibly I've seen kids with 18 arms drug free and not adults! Steroids no they start young and have great genetic with probably a good diet. I've able to gain muscle on my arms 16 + their not huge nut much bigger than what I started with and . These people that its impossible say that because they can't achieve it they find reason why they can do it and they (some people onthat this forumforum page) can't. All this forum is a sob story for the weak. Prove me wrong I have many bodybuilders to show
Terry Strand
Mar 15, 2013
Bob Gajda may have not been the only one to win the 'Triple Crown' as the writer of this article said, but Bob was one of the very, very few guys to win the Mr. A, Mr. USA, and Mr. U., in addition also to winning the Mr. Chicago, Illinois, and Midwest. It doesn't get much better than that...and he helped a lot of guys along the way. Like me!
fred schutz
Mar 15, 2013
Do you(who wrote this?) have any verification of Bob defeating Emrich???Heard this story many times--but Emrich says he has absolutely no recall of said tournament--and he called me to ask me and I don't either--no one I know(except Bob) has yet to verify this story and I challenge you to prove it and I will forward it to Emrich