Samir Bannout

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Samir Bannout
Smaeer Bannout.jpg
Samir Bannout
Personal info
Born (1955-11-07) November 7, 1955 (age 63)
Beirut, Lebanon
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[1]
Weight230 lb (104 kg)[1]
Professional career
Pro-debutMr. Universe, 1974
Best winIFBB Mr. Olympia, 1983
PredecessorChris Dickerson
SuccessorLee Haney
ActiveRetired 1996

Samir Bannout (Arabic: سمير بنوت, born November 7, 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon) is an IFBB professional bodybuilder.


Known as "the Lion of Lebanon", Samir Bannout won the Mr. Olympia title in 1983. At that time, only six men had held this most prestigious title since the contest began in 1965. Many of them, obviously, held the title for several years, Bannout won it once, a distinction shared with Chris Dickerson (1982), Dexter Jackson (2008), and Shawn Rhoden (2018). Samir has appeared on the covers of many fitness and bodybuilding publications, including Strength and Health, MuscleMag International, Muscle Digest, Flex, Muscle Training Illustrated, Muscle and Fitness, Muscle Up, IronMan and Muscular Development magazines.

Samir Bannout first moved to Detroit, Michigan, in the United States. He competed at the amateur level and achieved IFBB pro status by winning his light-heavyweight class at the 1979 IFBB World Amateur Championships. By this time Samir had already relocated to Santa Monica, California. Bannout took 4th place at the 1982 Mr. Olympia contest and returned the following year to take home the title in 1983. The contest was held in Munich, Germany that year and the trophy awarded him is called a "Sandow" for Eugen Sandow. Bannout weighed 196 lbs. for his win, the last Mr. Olympia to weigh under 200 lbs. His win ended the "aesthetics" era for the Mr. Olympia contest which started with Frank Zane winning in 1977 and reverted to emphasizing increased mass and size starting with Lee Haney winning in 1984.

The extreme muscular definition that Bannout achieved in his lower back region helped to shape "Lebanon Cedar" when referring the shape made visible during a back pose on the competition stage.

After placing 6th at the 1984 Olympia, the IFBB suspended him for three years as punishment for his participation at the World Championship competition of a rival federation, the WABBA. (The real reason was that Samir had an argument with one of the officials over mistreatment.)

Samir Bannout did not again get a top six placing again at a Mr. Olympia contest despite competing at the event many more times. In 1990 he won his second IFBB pro show, the IFBB Pittsburgh Pro Invitational. His professional career lasted 17 years.

Samir Bannout has been open about his past use of anabolic steroids: "I have to be quite truthful with you, I have used anabolics, I'm not going to have to deny it, because all the other Mr Olympia contenders, I feel that they are using it, and I only use it to reverse catabolic effect."[2] Bannout openly criticizes the IFBB during the years he competed, in that he felt that he had been "robbed" of winning in other events and that there was a significant political undertones to selection of winners at the Mr. Olympia.

Today Samir Bannout lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Randa and three children Lea, Jesse, Sergio. He was inducted to the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2002. He was previously married to the sister of fellow IFBB professional Lee Labrada, Lourdes; they had two daughters.

Bodybuilding titles[edit]

  • 1974 Mr. Universe, Medium Class 7th (Youngest contestant)
  • 1976 Mr. Universe, Middleweight 12th
  • 1977 Mr. International, Middleweight 2nd
  • 1978 Mr. International, Middleweight 2nd
  • 1979 Best in the World, Amateur 1st
  • 1979 Canada Pro Cup, N/A
  • 1979 World Amateur Championships, Light Heavyweight 1st
  • 1980 Grand Prix California 4th
  • 1980 Grand Prix Pennsylvania 7th
  • 1980 Night of Champions 10th
  • 1980 Mr. Olympia 15th
  • 1980 Pittsburgh Pro Invitational N/A
  • 1981 Grand Prix California 7th
  • 1981 Grand Prix New England 6th
  • 1981 Night of Champions 10th
  • 1981 Mr. Olympia 9th
  • 1982 Grand Prix Sweden 2nd
  • 1982 Mr. Olympia 4th
  • 1983 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1984 Canada Pro Cup 5th
  • 1984 Mr. Olympia 6th
  • 1984 World Grand Prix 5th
  • 1985 WABBA World Championship 1st
  • 1986 WABBA World Championship 1st
  • 1988 Grand Prix England 10th
  • 1988 Grand Prix Italy 9th
  • 1988 Mr. Olympia 8th
  • 1989 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic 4th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Finland 6th
  • 1989 Grand Prix France 8th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Germany 5th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Holland 5th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Spain 5th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Spain (2nd) 5th
  • 1989 Grand Prix Sweden 3rd
  • 1989 Mr. Olympia 9th
  • 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic 4th
  • 1990 Grand Prix England 6th
  • 1990 Grand Prix Finland 5th
  • 1990 Grand Prix Italy 6th
  • 1990 Houston Pro Invitational 2rd[clarification needed]
  • 1990 Mr. Olympia 8th
  • 1990 Pittsburgh Pro Invitational 1st (Winner)
  • 1990 NABBA World Championships Professional 2nd
  • 1991 Mr. Olympia 16th
  • 1992 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic N/A
  • 1992 Grand Prix Germany 11th
  • 1992 Mr. Olympia 16th
  • 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic 13th
  • 1993 Ironman Pro Invitational 13th
  • 1993 San Jose Pro Invitational 10th
  • 1994 Grand Prix England 14th
  • 1994 Grand Prix Germany 13th
  • 1994 Grand Prix Italy 12th
  • 1994 Grand Prix Spain 12th
  • 1994 Mr. Olympia 19th
  • 1996 Masters Mr. Olympia 6th
  • 2011 IFBB Pro World Masters Bodybuilding 11th


  • The only Lebanese Mr. Olympia.
  • One of four bodybuilders to win the Mr. Olympia only once (1983).
  • The only bodybuilder to defeat eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney in a Mr. Olympia contest.
  • The only bodybuilder to have won the Mr. Olympia as his first professional bodybuilding title.
  • The last Mr. Olympia to weigh under 200 lbs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Samir Bannout".
  2. ^ Bodybuilders Discuss Steroids


External links[edit]

Mr. Olympia
Preceded by:
Chris Dickerson
First (1983) Succeeded by:
Lee Haney