In today’s day and age where people are offended by the use the word “Christmas” in a school play or the media including a crime suspect’s race in his or her description, someone like Lee Priest can start a tidal wave of controversy just by saying what the day’s weather is going to be. Our pussified PC-conscious society has made it impossible to even have an interesting conversation but thankfully for our readers, we do not subscribe to that theory. And that is one of the main reasons why we chose Priest to spearhead our publication.
“If you’re asked a question, you should be truthful and answer it,” Priest says matter-of-factly. “Too bad if someone gets upset. Trust me, some people will dislike you for being honest but I would rather be honest than a liar.”
Although he hasn’t competed in an IFBB show since 2006, Priest is still one of the most talked about bodybuilders and has a cult-like following. His rabid fan base is just as outspoken as he is and the Australian agrees with the camp that feels the sport benefits from having him in it.
“I think that I bring some personality to the sport,” he says. “You get someone with a sense of humor who is down to earth with the fans. A ‘no bullshit’ type.”
Priest entered his first competition at the young age of 13 and took home the first place trophy. His grandfather was his inspiration then and still is now, even though he has since passed away. “He always instilled in me I could do anything if I wanted it bad enough,” confides Priest. “When he was younger, he would meet me for my show prep cardio for bike rides at 4:30 in the morning and then join me in the gym. He and my grandmother were my biggest fans.”
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Once he earned his IFBB pro card at 20, Priest became a mainstay on the circuit and competed in multiple shows worldwide every year. His busiest year was 1997 when he competed in 11 shows, including the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic. He won three times (2002 San Francisco Pro, 2005 Australian Pro Grand Prix, 2006 Ironman Pro) in his career and is still considered the greatest short (5’4”) bodybuilder of all time.
Proving that he can still don the posing trunks and get on stage, Priest entered the 2013 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe at 41 years of age after a seven-year layoff. He came into the show peeled and easily won, looking as if he had never left. “I have fun and do it for the fans, no matter what organization I compete in,” Priest concludes.