John Grimek

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John Grimek
— Bodybuilder —
John Grimek - Strength and Health Sep 1945.jpg
John Grimek featured on the cover of Strength and Health magazine
Personal info
Nickname "The Monarch of Muscledom"
"The Glow"
Born June 17, 1910
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Died November 20, 1998(1998-11-20) (aged 88)[1]
York, Pennsylvania
Height 5 ft 8.5 in (1.74 m)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg)
Professional career
Pro-debut Olympic Games, 1936, Berlin
Successor Steve Reeves

John Carroll Grimek (June 17, 1910[2] – November 20, 1998) was an American bodybuilder and weightlifter active in the 1930s and 1940s. Throughout his career he carried the nicknames "The Monarch of Muscledom"[3] and "The Glow."[4]

Grimek was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of Slovak immigrants George and Maria Grimek, peasants from the village Ústie nad Oravou in western Slovakia.[5]

Besides his bodybuilding exploits, in which he was never defeated, Grimek also represented the United States in weightlifting at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

In 1948, at 38 years of age, Grimek defeated Steve Reeves at the NABBA Mr. Universe contest in London.

The following year he won his last contest, the AAU Mr. USA, against a field that included Reeves, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny. He retired from bodybuilding undefeated.[6]

John was featured in many bodybuilding articles and magazines, as well as being photographed in bodybuilding magazines. Despite his retirement, Grimek continued serious training for many years, and was still able to perform squats with over 400 pounds for repetitions in his late 60s.[7] Grimek died in York, Pennsylvania. He was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 1999.[8]


The logo for National Amateur Body-Builders' Association is the silhouette of John Grimek, winner of the 1948 Mr Universe.
  • 1939 York Perfect Man
  • 1940 Mr. America
  • 1941 Mr. America
  • 1946 Most Muscular Man In America
  • 1948 Mr. Universe (Categories "Short" and "Overall")
  • 1949 Mr. USA


The following measurements are from 1940/1941:

  • Height: 5'8½"
  • Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Neck: 17 inches
  • Arm: 17.5 inches
  • Forearm: 14 inches
  • Chest: 47 inches
  • Waist: 31 inches
  • Thigh: 25 inches
  • Calf: 17 inches
  • Wrist: 8 inches
  • Ankle: 9.8 inches

External links[edit]

John Grimek featured with Bob Hoffman and Tommy Kono on the York Mural Muscletown, USA


  1. ^ Weider, Joe (December 1998). "John Grimek: 1910–1998" (PDF). Iron Game History 5 (3). Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  2. ^ According to the Social Security Death Index, he was born on June 18, 1911.
  3. ^ Whelan, Bob. "". Natural Strength. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Rosa, Ken (April 1999). "Iron Game News" 5 (4). p. 33. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "John Grimek". Legendary Fitness. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "John Grimek: The Monarch Of Muscledom". Gym Talk. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "IFBB Hall of Fame Inductees for 1999". IFBB. Interactive Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness. Retrieved 8 June 2015.