Montreal Magazine Article
The Gazette, Sunday, October 19,2008
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"El Mundo", main Spain Newspaper
Monday, October 27,2008
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H.E Juan Antonio Samaranch Condolence
IOC, October 21, 2008
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GAISF, October 21, 2008
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TRIBUTE TO BEN WEIDER
Devastated, with a deep soul pain; I lost my best friend in life.
Behind us are more than 30 years of close friendship.
His guidance, trust, and support all these years and my relation with
him has been a gift from God.
Ben has been like a father for me; and together with my parents, my
mentor in life.
I joined him travelling all over the world; from Europe to Africa, from
Asia to America, and I always admired his way to respect people
regardless politics, races or religions.
Always generous, sensitive, respectful with everybody; he and his
brother Joe influenced and guided millions of people to follow
bodybuilding, fitness and healthy life style.
The moments, the talks, the experiences, the projects, the dreams we
shared together are milestones and the best memories for me.
I was in Bali, attending the participation of bodybuilding in the Asian
Beach Games of the Olympic Program; in our way to achieve his most
appreciated sport dream; when the shocking news broke my heart.
Now, more than ever, with the support of all our dear colleagues in the
IFBB Family, we will put all our energy to, following his life example,
get for our sport, the IOC recognition.
I promise you, Ben; this day will come, and you will be with us, living
in my heart and in the heart of the millions of your friends worldwide
that are now, in their own language and religions praying for your
eternal peace in heaven.
First visit to Montreal early 80's
Our last meeting Las Vegas 2008
Family Picture; from left to right, Ben Weider and his brother Joe Weider with Manuel and Mercedes Santonja, Rafael's parents,surrounding Rafael Santonja.
IFBB Executive Director
Over the years, I watched as Mr. Weider proudly witnessed the number of IFBB National Federations grow to over 180 countries around the world.
Through him, I met so many wonderful people who are now very close friends and colleagues.
For 40 years, I saw Mr. Weider deal with many problems; some of which were extremely complex. He was always fair-minded; he never got upset and never took anything personal. He had an innate sense of good sound judgment and was acutely sensitive to people's feelings. He always said,"Never hold a grudge",which was a cornerstone of his character.
Everyone who ever met Ben Weider and spent time with him came away with having learned something and having been enriched by the experience.
I am eternally grateful to have known such an extraordinarily unique person. Pamela Kagan.
IFBB Vice President,Middle East Patron
A beautiful message from IFBB Vice President Malih Alaywan. We are receiving hundreds of condolences communications. This one is coming from a man that was together with Ben Weider since the foundation of the IFBB and is a great symbol of all these messages that we are receiving from all the countries in the world.
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IFBB Vice president for North America.
I have known Ben Weider for over thirty years and from the beginning Ben has always given me professional advice and guidance. When the NPC was formed he helped me to structure the organization and gave me the confidence by example to move forward and never second guess a deliberated decision.He trusted me and we had the utmost respect and friendship for each other. I would hope that I am able to give our sport one-tenth of his dedication and will do my best to continue to carry on the life's work of Ben; for without him there would be no NPC or IFBB Professional League as we know it today.
I am proud and honored to have been mentored and received the sincere friendship of Ben Weider - I will miss him deeply!
My sincere condolences to the entire Weider Family.
IFBB Vice president for Europe
DR. BEN WEIDER, 1923-2008
HIS FOLLOW-THROUGH WAS STRAIGHT DOWN THE LINE TOWARD THE TARGET – ALL HIS LIFE!
Since the moment I learned about the passing of "my" longtime IFBB-President memories come up permanently.
On one hand there are so many fond memories to cherish forever, on the other hand there are the thoughts what made the Founder of the IFBB such a remarkable, great man.
And I asked myself many questions including the one about Ben’s greatest trait. There are so many that it is extremely difficult to select "numero uno".
Scrolling through my large and comprehensive bodybuilding photo archive it became even more difficult as there is a story to each of these photos.
The one I picked for these lines was taken almost by the day 20 years before Ben’s passing.
From October 12-14, 1988, the IFBB had its Men’s World Championships in Brisbane/Australia.
Until today I have the fondest memories of this fantastic event, organized by Paul and Carol Graham. It was a very special atmosphere of brotherhood amongst delegations from all over the world at one of nature’s jewels on our planet.
In the middle of all the work during the competition at the Open Air Complex of the WORLD EXPO 1988 I asked Ben and his Son Eric for a photo. As always they were as friendly as one can be and they were all smiles.
But looking back these 20 years there is much more.
Besides the fact that Ben and Eric had one of the most remarkable father-son relations I have seen, they both have these very special human qualities of a straight forward character, loyalty, discipline and the focus on goals in life. Two good men of honour.
By all means Ben is a great Visionary, President, Historian, Father and Husband, but to me Ben’s greatest trait was his staying power to follow-through no matter how many challenges he had to overcome and how long it would take.
For a larger-than-life man like Dr. Ben Weider the greatest gift was his family and the blessing of a son, who was willing to take on the challenge to fulfill the expactations of his father no matter what it would take.
It turned out that Eric Weider has this great strength too and that he is following through in all areas of life as his father did.
I stopped immediately when this father-son photo popped up in my computer as I instantly thought about the last conversation I had with Ben on Olympia day 2008 in Las Vegas. We were in the middle of a four-eye-conversation when Rob Wilkins came into the room to hand over the cell-phone to Ben with the word: "It’s Eric". After they finished their conversation Ben handed the phone over to me and I was happy to tell Eric, how glad I am to see his father so energetic and active.
20 days later all of a sudden Ben passed away, but he will live on in the hearts of millions of people forever.
My heart goes out to the family. My prayers too.
Rest in peace, Ben.
Dr. Ben Weider and his son Eric at the 1988 IFBB Men’s World Championships in Brisbane/Australia
IFBB Vice president for Australasia
Paul with Ben and Oscar State backstage at the 1980 Mr. Olympia sharing a joke."
Ben encouraged Paul to take on the huge challenge of promoting the 1980 Mr. Olympia and was always there with a smile and some advice.
We like both these photos because we all look young and happy and our memories of Ben will be the warmth and smile you see in these photos!!
Dr. Eng. Adel Fahim
IFBB Vice President for Africa
Goodbye Ben Weider
It is with utmost sadness to know that we lost our legendary symbol, the founder of our great family, the IFBB; Nevertheless this is the way life goes and every person on earth will reach the same fate.
Ben Weider was not only the father,brother & friend; but he was also a very great talented sports leader whom we all learned a lot.
My deep regrets, pain, sympathy and condolences to every member in our great family, the IFBB.
He taught us how to love & respect each other, how to take care of each other & how to stand together to create such a great & beloved family,the IFBB.
He will be always in our heart, mind & spirit.
As long as we live, he will be with us. Ben Weider will NEVER DIE.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE WITH GOD AND HIS ANGELS.
Dr. Eng. Adel Fahim
Meeting at the Sport Ministry in Cairo during a visit in the early 90s.
IFBB Vice President for Caribbean
After all the achievements, accolades, merits, and prestige are exposed, remembered and cherished one more time; improving what he initiated will be the best way to honor Ben Weider’s memory. Those worldwide enhancements are currently ongoing.... and I invite all CACBBFF member nations to continue supporting these efforts.
On the eve of his interment, the memories of a dynamic and inspiring Canadian landing in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the summer of 1972 are rushing back to my subconscious and storming like a vivid “PowerPoint” presentation. So much has transpired since he called me “friend” 36 years ago.
Given that it will be futile for me to find a spot where to start reciting my extensive connection with him; I will settle for PERSEVERANCE as one of his most enduring qualities. Even his detractors would agree that, without his intense determination, our sport would still be a sub-cultured pastime relegated to basements and dungeons.
Two hundred years from now, no one will remember the title winners from America, the Universe and Olympia; but they will remember my comrade Ben.
Needless to say, it was an honor for me to serve under his command and an unparallel lifetime experience. And although he will be justifiably missed, the strength of his spirit will remain with everyone he inspired.
Aquiles de Cesare
IFBB Vice President for South America
Muchos millones de personas en el mundo estamos de duelo ante la desaparición física de un gran hombre.
Lo curioso es que esa grandeza no emanaba de un poder material, sino de
la firmeza de sus convicciones que le daban una indiscutible autoridad moral.
Y su sencillez……me cautivó con su sencillez.
Quien era dueño de un imperio deportivo, de un imperio de corazones, subía a mi humilde auto, como un amigo más, me consultaba como encarar tal reunión o tal entrevista.
Era el año 1999 y se desarrollaba por primera vez en América del Sur el MINEPS III - Tercera Conferencia Internacional de Ministros y Altos Funcionarios Encargados de la Educación Física y el Deporte. Tuvo reuniones con los principales referentes del COI promocionando nuestro deporte. Recuerdo especialmente la reunión con el Marquez de Samaranch,que estaba alojado en “Casa Pueblo”,la casa de Paez Vilaró en Punta Ballena.
Yo me quedé con el recuerdo de la calidez humana de un gran hombre al que siempre tendré presente con mucho afecto.
Ben Weider awarding the IFBB Gold Medal to Aquiles de Cesare in Prague.
IFBB Chairman of Judges Committee
Due to his wisdom and charisma, Ben Weider has changed bodybuilding image in the world for ever. He caused that bodybuilders in the every corner of the globe can feel nowadays that they are true sportsmen, proud of their beloved sport discipline.Each meeting with this great man triggered off my thrill of emotion. He always had been and will remain forever in our hearts.
Dear Mr. President,IFBB Honorary Life President Dr. Ben Weider passed away. Polish Bodybuilding, Fitness & Powerlifting Federation received this sad news with great sorrow and pain.
We lost not only our founder and mentor but also our great friend and supporter. We remember difficult times of the “Cold War” when Dr. Weider crossed the “Iron Curtain” many times and using his outstanding diplomatic skills convinced our sport authorities to recognize bodybuilding and enter the IFBB.
Then, he helped us to get permission for organization of the first in the Soviet Block European Championships in Warsaw in 1986, followed by the 1991 World Men’s Championships and IFBB International Congress in Katowice.
The Weiders family lived in Poland for hundreds of years and emigrated to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. Dr. Weider always remembered his roots and asked us to send him pictures from their native town of Kurow in South-East Poland. We always felt that his heart was close to this land.
We can only admire Ben’s skills for solving difficult problems and making continuous progress. He developed IFBB from two member-counties in 1946 to 184 countries in 2006. He arranged the IFBB recognition, first by GAISF in 1969 and then by the IOC (temporary) in 1998. He was also a successful businessman in nutrition industry and successful editor. He made most of his dreams come true and made his best to help us to make our dreams come true.
We have lost a great man, great friend and great patron. Now we can have only wonderful memories. He will forever be in our hearts.Sincerely yours,
Polish Federation President
Polish Federation Vice-President
IFBB Education Committee
Ben Weider was a great man, mentor, and leader. We are all in his debt for
both planting the seeds of the sport of bodybuilding and through the IFBB,
nurturing it to where it is today, the foundation sport of all sports.
Athletes of all kinds depend on bodybuilding exercises to strengthen their
bodies and prepare for competition. I have nothing but heartfelt gratitude
for Ben and admiration for his tireless efforts to promote bodybuilding.
With Ben's death, an era has passed. But his mission is not done.
Bodybuilding is on the cusp of becoming an Olympic sport. I know that Ben
would want nothing more than for us to carry on his mission and life work of
educating others about bodybuilding and working together to elevate
bodybuilding to international recognition as an Olympic sport. Let's honor
Ben by pushing ahead and making his dream a reality! Thank you Ben for all
you have done and the inspiration you have given us."
Ben had great admiration and respect for you, Rafael. Ben chose you to lead
the IFBB, knowing that you would carry on its mission and his life work
after he was gone. I believe that Ben chose wisely. There is nobody better
suited than Rafael Santonja to lead the IFBB to the next level. Let me know
how I can help you, in any way, my friend. You always have my full support
I have known Ben Weider in 1958 as bodybuilder and since then I have
always remained in contact with him .
We become very good and close friend .
He told me precious suggestions and encouraged me to organize the men's
world championship of bodybuilding in 1974 in Verona (for the first time
in italia) , mister Olympia in Rimini 1989 and many other important
events . We worked very hard.... (together with all of you...), to
develop all over the world credibility in bodybuilding sport and health
I owe a lot to Ben Weider as man... as businessman... as sportsman and
as Patron of this great IFBB family.
Many times in these 50 years he addressed me letters or faxes calling me
"BROTHER" . This is exactly what I feel.... to have lost a brother ....
BEN you will live in my heart forever
Your Italian brother
Las Vegas Men's World Championship 1984
IFBB Chairman Medical Commission
The death of Dr. Ben Weider, founder and former President of the IFBB, is a loss to us all. Ben was my mentor and our friendship spanned more than four decades. He was a great man. The world was enriched greatly by his being in it. I feel tremendous sadness at the loss of a person of such depth and breadth of character.
My first contact with Dr. Ben Weider was as a 12-year old interested in medicine. I wrote him in admiration of all that he had accomplished to that point in time and asked his advice on entering the health and medical field. To my astonishment, he answered me with a personal letter within days. Ben's attention to detail and personal touch is legendary. So began a mentoring relationship lasting over 40 years. I was honored to be a student of Ben and he is responsible for the careers of so many. He was by far the most important mentor in my life and I know I am not alone here: He served as a dear friend, confidante, advisor, father figure and most importantly -- a great teacher of life.
I think one of Ben’s finest accomplishments is in raising his son, Eric Weider, heir to the Weider dynasty. Eric possesses the same modesty, intelligence, warmth and leadership abilities as his father. I think this was one thing he was most proud of -- his remarkable son, who I am so proud to have as my dear friend. His other great disciple is Dr. Rafael Santonja, the first new president of the IFBB in 60 years and Ben cultivated him as a son like Eric. The future of the IFBB is not only secure in his hands, but on its way to permanent Olympic recognition, an important lifelong goal of Ben's.
Ben Weider was, is, and will remain, without question, the reason why I am what I am today. I have benchmarked all of my personal and professional life goals on what he and his brother Joe have accomplished. He was our father, older brother, dear friend and hero. I was fortunate to spend a bit of time with him at the Mr. Olympia 2008 event, which took placed just weeks before his passing. Every moment I have spent with Ben will be treasured.
Each of us should feel honored that Ben was a part of our lives, as this world was graced by his presence. He was a man of historical proportions and we will miss him very much. We will honor him and his memory by pushing forth his dreams.
Dr. Goldman (left) presenting the A4M Pioneer Award to Dr. Ben Weider (right), joined by Dr. Ronald Klatz, A4M President (middle).
IFBB Medical Commission
Albert Busek, Robert Binapfl,Friedhelm Beuker, Erich Janner, Fritz Hegemann - the German Delegation.This picture is from the banquet during the European Champship in Lausanne December 2000
Prof. Dr. Eduardo H. de Rose
IFBB Medical Commission, Special Advisor
The president Ben Weider and I
I met Ben Weider by the first time in 1996, when Rafael Santonja invited me to replace the late Prof. Manfred Donike as international anti-doping adviser of the IFBB. Body Building has already a long tradition of doing a control of doping in its world championships that started in 1986, following the intention of Ben to have a free doping sport.
Since then, I enjoyed the friendship of Ben in many General Assemblies, and in some visits I did in the headquarters in Montreal. It was a pleasure to speak with him, to receive the guidance of someone that knew the world of sports and its different cultures and tradition, and teach me how important is to respect the diverse aspects of it.
The seat of the IFBB was almost a church, and there was a true gentleman that received me as an old friend, invited me for lunch and discussed particularly three topics: his experience as officer of the II World War, the life and death of Napoleon and his sports and the Olympic Movement. This brought him in contact with President Samaranch and the respect of both great personalities, one by the other, was almost immediate.
I believe that in Turkey I had the opportunity, in one of the multiple Championships that we attend together, to understand him better because we used to walk in the city changing ideas and opinions. I will miss him very much, because he was a great person, a gentleman, an idealist that started a sport that was also a lifestyle. I know that now he is changing ideas with the international God of all religions, and speaking about how we can live better and longer even in the paradise.
Chairman Technical Committee
I feel truly blessed with the good fortune of having known Ben Weider for the past 23 years and, for the last 8 of these, of having worked closely with him on his two great passions - the IFBB and the INS.
We spoke often; almost daily it seemed. The calls would always begin with "Hi Tony! It's Ben. How are you?" They would always end with a few words of praise and "Have a super day and remember, keep smiling!"
Twenty-three years ago, almost to the day, I sat in my room at the Ruby Foo Hotel, just down the road from Mr. Weider's Montreal office. I had just been elected president of IFBB Canada and was anxiously awaiting my first meeting with the man I would later come to admire more than any other in my life.
Now I sit in a room in the same hotel, 23 years later, having just returned from Ben's funeral. I'll finally take the liberty here of calling him "Ben"; he had asked me to do so many years ago but I could never bring myself to call him anything but "Sir" or "Mr. Weider".
There are so many words I could use to describe Ben. To me, he was always kind, generous, caring, thoughtful, respectful, courteous, considerate, patient, understanding, wise, humble, honest, and decent. In the end, the one that mattered most to me personally was, and always will be, "fatherly".
That's how I'll choose to remember him.
And oh how I'll miss those early morning conversations.
Tony Blinn and Ben Weider, 1985
Wanda Tierney & Bill Tierney
Wanda Tierney – IFBB Women´s Committee Chairman / Bill Tierney – IFBB Assistant to the General Secretary
There is never a right moment and never the right words when someone passes away, who had such a big influence in your life.
Ben Weider had a passion for our sport Bodybuilding which will stay alive within the thousands of people, who became part of his federation.
Through Ben Weider lifetime friendships where made with people from all countries, religions and race and will they remain friends forever. We thank him for that.
We will all miss him and we send our heartfelt condolences to all his family.
Mauricio de Arruda Campos
IFBB Education & Research Committee
Even not having the luck to know Mr. Ben Weider personally I had the luck to know a lot from him and his successful life from his close friends, like Dr Rafael Santonja, and this made me have a true admiration for him and everything he did in his life.
Mr. Ben Weider was the kind of person everyone admired. Our worldwide known IFBB is a result of the dreams that he believed with the passion and the resilience only the greatest personalities have. He is one of the reasons everyone feels very proud of being part of the IFBB Family.
I wish to express my condolences to his entire family.
One photo that comes to my mind when I think about Mr. Ben Weider is the one taken in 1988 during a visit that he made with Dr Rafael Santonja to Moscow.
The world of bodybuilding is in mourning. For us a father has gone away. A friend, a good and generous man. Benjamin Weider has left us, on Friday, 17 of October. Nevertheless, his spirit and his legacy will be for always with us, since the great personalities pass away, but their work lasts and their presence is for always between those who the pleasure and the privilege have had to know them.
Ben Weider CM PhD SbStj has been a horseman in all the ample meaning of the word. I had the enormous pleasure, of which I am proud, to have met him personally on several occasions. He was an extraordinary being who infected enthusiasm and respect and who loved and believed in everything did. Without a doubt, he has been a gentleman, a visionary, a fighter and a leader who gained the respect by those who surrounded him. A man who still in his later days, continued working for the love of the sport of bodybuilding. The legacy that Ben Weider leaves us, in addition to the memory of his person, is the reality of the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) that he founded, with his brother Joe, in 1946. A federation with more than sixty years of history of recognitions and fight for a sport that, like the magic of dreams, is a magnificent reality thanks to his work and his dedication during the six decades in which it has presided over it: a unique case in the history of the sport. Where he wants that you are, friend and teacher Ben Weider; by all your effort and dedication, it is hour to rest and I wish you peace. We will never forget to you. Until always Benjamin Weider cm PhD Sb Stj.
Ben and Jose at one of their meetings
Ben with Jose Ramos on the left and Rafael on the right during the Arnold Classic
Our Executives and members will send their favourite picture with our
Founder Ben Weider and they will be published in next coming days.
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