By Alex Zakrzewski, Online Editor
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Michalik’s career highlights included winning the 1972 Mr. America and the 1975 NABBA Mr. Universe competitions. However, he was perhaps best known for his “Intensity or Insanity” training system in which he regularly performed 100 set routines per body part and reportedly took in 20,000 calories a day.
Following the 1975 Mr. Universe, Michalik suffered a serious car accident that left him partially paralyzed from the waist down for almost three years. Through sheer determination and will power, he recovered and returned to competition, placing fourth at the 1980 Miami Grand Prix. In recognition of his miraculous return to the stage, Michalik was nicknamed the “Phantom Bodybuilder” by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
Overcoming adversity was a familiar theme throughout Michalik’s life. After kicking a steroid addiction that seriously eroded his health, he became an outspoken anti-steroid campaigner, warning young bodybuilders of the side affects.
Although his final years were marred by major health problems including a heart attack, mini-stroke and kidney transplant, he remained a familiar and iconic figure in the sport and an inspiration to generations of young bodybuilders.
Steve Michalik will be sincerely missed.
Our condolences go out to his friends and family.