A conspicuous disproportion in the realm of professional bodybuilding unveils the prominence of individuals hailing from the idyllic Caribbean islands. It is quite remarkable that among the 19 distinguished Mr. Olympia champions, dating back to 1965, a notable presence emerges from these island sanctuaries. This phenomenon extends its influence to even the second Mr. Olympia, the illustrious Sergio Oliva, who valiantly defected from Communist Cuba to participate in this prestigious competition. Sergio, renowned as “The Myth,” achieved the coveted title of Mr. Olympia three times, marking his triumph in 1969, which notably included a victory over the esteemed Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Bodybuilder Serge Nubret
Among the illustrious figures of the Caribbean’s history is Serge Nubret, hailing from Anse-Bertrand, Guadeloupe. He later journeyed to France, embarking on a remarkable path as a professional bodybuilder, a leader in the world of bodybuilding federations, a silver screen luminary, and an accomplished author. His crowning achievements in the realm of bodybuilding include titles such as Mr. Europe in 1966, Mr. Universe in 1976, and WBBG Pro. Mr. World in 1977. With an imposing presence and remarkable physique, Serge Nubret earned the moniker “The Black Panther” and became a prominent figure in the groundbreaking bodybuilding documentary, “Pumping Iron,” a production that also brought together luminaries like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
Bodybuilder Rick Wayne
Rick Wayne, a distinguished multiple Mr. Universe champion, came into this world under the name Learie Carasco, in the splendid realm of St. Lucia. His journey through the tapestry of life led him to England in the 1950s, where he dedicated two years in the service of the Royal Signals, a substantial part of which was stationed in the picturesque region of Yorkshire. Upon rejoining the civilian sphere in London, an unexpected twist of fate unfolded when he was discovered singing in a nightclub. An auspicious audition for the renowned record producer Joe Meek followed, and thus, Learie Carasco transformed into Ricky Wayne. With a name amalgamating the essences of Ricky Nelson and John Wayne, he launched a single titled “Hot Chickaroo,” masterfully produced by Meek, and backed by the illustrious ensemble, The Fabulous Flee-Rakkers. Although his initial single and its successors did not soar to commercial heights, Ricky Wayne embarked on a singing career that would grace the airwaves for several years, even hosting his own show on the venerable Radio Luxembourg.
As the chapters of his life unfolded, Wayne donned multiple hats, not only as a formidable professional bodybuilder but also as a prolific writer. He penned a plethora of articles and books, delving into realms as diverse as bodybuilding and politics. His literary contributions found a prominent home in the pages of esteemed bodybuilding publications, most notably in Joe Weider’s Muscle Builder and Flex during the 1970s and ’80s, with two distinct periods of notable employment. In addition to these endeavors, he graced the pages of Dan Lurie’s Muscular Development magazine during the years 1994 and 1995, leaving an indelible mark on the world of bodybuilding and the written word.
Bodybuilder Bertil Fox
Among the notable is Bertil Fox. Born on the pristine eastern Caribbean island of St. Kitts on 5th January 1951, Fox embarked on a remarkable journey that transcended borders and spanned decades. At the tender age of one, he, along with his family, emigrated to the sprawling city of London, England. Subsequently, they set roots in the picturesque locale of Northampton. Astonishingly, Fox’s return to his Caribbean place of birth was deferred for over four decades, and the impact of his formative years in England was evident in every facet of his being. “I’m 100% British,” he once affirmed with resolute conviction. “I think, I act, and talk like an Englishman, not like someone from the West Indies.”
Intriguingly, the precipice of his bodybuilding odyssey was influenced by the counsel of a cousin, who encouraged Fox to embrace this path. At the age of 18, he ascended to the summit of the 1969 Junior Mr. Britain, setting the stage for a remarkable career. His conquests spanned across a multitude of prestigious bodybuilding contests, extending beyond the confines of the IFBB. In 1976, he clinched the title of the AAU Mr. World, and the following year, he seized the coveted amateur 1977 NABBA Mr. Universe. In the realm of professional bodybuilding, Fox’s dominance remained unassailable, with consecutive triumphs in the professional NABBA Mr. Universe in both 1978 and 1979. Before embarking on his professional journey, Fox led a dual life as a dedicated train driver on the iconic London Underground. It was Joe Weider who recognized the immense potential within Fox and sponsored his relocation to the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles in 1981. There, he embarked on a storied journey in the arena of IFBB contests, a resplendent chapter that extended over 13 years. Fox’s formidable training regimen and indomitable spirit earned him the moniker “Brutal Bertil,” an epithet endowed upon him by Bill Reynolds, the then editor-in-chief of Flex magazine.
Throughout his tenure in the IFBB, Fox etched his name into the annals of bodybuilding history. His exemplary feats included securing second place in two IFBB shows – the 1982 Night of Champions and the 1983 Swiss Grand Prix, where he even outshone the legendary Lee Haney. Additionally, he notched a commendable fifth place finish in the 1983 Mr. Olympia, marking his second of five appearances on this illustrious stage. From 1984 to 1994, Fox maintained an unyielding presence in a total of 12 IFBB shows, cementing his legacy as a formidable competitor. Following his retirement from the competitive realm, Fox embarked on a poignant journey, returning to the shores of St. Kitts for the first time since his departure in 1952. It was on this sacred soil that he unveiled Fox’s Gym, a testament to his enduring connection with his Caribbean roots.
However, the pages of Bertil Fox’s life story took an unfathomably dark turn on the 30th of September 1997, in the serene embrace of St. Kitts and Nevis. On this fateful day, 20-year-old beauty queen Leyoca Browne and her mother, 36-year-old Violet Browne, were tragically and fatally struck down by the hand of Fox, then 46. A grim cloud of shock and sorrow enveloped the community. To further compound the heart-wrenching tragedy, Fox, who had previously been engaged to Leyoca, found himself arrested and charged with the harrowing murders. Justice ultimately prevailed, and on the 22nd of May 1998, Fox was convicted of the double homicide. He was initially sentenced to the grave fate of death by hanging. However, a subsequent appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council led to a change in his sentence to life imprisonment.
After a period spanning 25 long years, the unfolding of a remarkable twist in the tale saw Fox receiving a pardon from the benevolent hand of the Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis, on the 4th of August 2022. This pivotal act of clemency facilitated Fox’s reintegration into society, marking the end of his incarceration and the beginning of a new chapter as a free man. As he journeyed to the UK, the echoes of his past remained indelibly etched in history, a profound and stirring testament to the enigmatic and tumultuous odyssey of Bertil Fox.
Observe the video presented above, under the title “Bodybuilders of the Caribbean,” to acquire a more comprehensive roster of bodybuilders intertwined with the Caribbean islands.