Body-building is not for weaklings – it is a tasking, grueling, hellish mind-body discipline from which the hardiest of men (and women) flee.
The discipline requires strong physical endowments to start with. Hardly would you find anyone engaged in body-building deprived by inheritance or nurture the advantage of a stature able to withstand the rigours of deliberate self-inflicted muscular self-transformation.
Born in 1946, Robby Robinson’s muscle-rippling looks belie the facts of his life with sickle cell anaemia, a disease that makes sufferers prone to tiredness, amongst a whole range of other symptoms. Despite his inherited illness, Robinson became one of the greatest bodybuilders the world has known. In 1981, he won the Mr. Universe contest – at which competitors are judged based on their symmetry, proportions and the size and clarity of their muscle groups. Past winners have included the actor and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger (1968, 1969 and 1970) and Lee Seung Chul (2018).
Robinson retired from professional competition at the age of 55, but has remained active in the profession, helping to train others do what he did. He continues to stress the role of bodybuilding, nutrition and emotional health in longevity.
Now an executive member of the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFFB), Robinson says he feels physically stronger in his golden years than in his youth.
Robinson’s other awards included Mr. America, IFBB Mr. World, Masters Olympia and other titles of the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFFB).
Nicknamed The Black Prince, Robinson attended Florida A&M University years. His bootlegger father abandoned the 14 children he sired, choosing to live on his own without any care in the world.
Sickle Cell Crises
Sickle Cell is no respecter of age or achievement. Since February 12, Robinson has been in hospital for a sudden sickle cell crises pain event.
He wrote this from hospital:
I have sickle cell anaemia, a life threatening blood disease that I have battled all my life. Even during my championship days winning Mr. America, Mr. Universe, etc, I endured the pains of sickle cell anaemia without complaining.’
Robinson went on to state how he had used the ‘power of mind’ to bring sickle cell under heel. Quoting John Milton in Paradise Lost, he said – ‘the mind can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’
To raise money for his treatment – expected to cost $7000, Robinson went on GoFundMe, and quickly gathered $11000. That is the magic of fame and sheer goodwill from the American public.
Robinson has undergone lung surgery, to free his impacted lungs to take in more oxygen and reduce his sickling crises.
The sporting world is looking forward to celebrate with Mr. Lifestyle on his 73rd birthday in May.
Will Mind help him overcome this latest crisis episode? Time will tell.