70-Y.O. Bodybuilding Legend Who Recently Died Succumbing to Cancer Redefined Femininity From Marilyn Monroe Era “Without Sacrificing Beauty”

Bodybuilding gained recognition in the 1950s and 1960s, and many young men turned to lifting weights to build muscles. With the advent of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Mr. Olympia stage in the 1970s, the sport took on an incredible surge in popularity. Women started to venture into the sport, and Lisa Lyon became the first female IFBB bodybuilding champion in 1979.

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The sports world lost an iconic bodybuilder when the 70-year-old recently passed away. During her prime, Lyon fiercely advocated women’s bodybuilding.

Lisa Lyon’s reflected on the changing dynamics of femininity


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The bodybuilding sport involves intense training activities at the gym to build a ripped physique. But women used to restrain themselves from the sport, fearing losing their feminine appearance. Lisa Lyon, however, defied gender stereotypes and became an iconic bodybuilding champion. She started training in a Japanese martial art form called Kendo and took up weight training to build the upper-body strength required for the sport.

But eventually, she ended up being a bodybuilding champion. Lisa Lyon also promoted the sport by featuring in multiple magazines as a fitness model. In 1980, she appeared in Playboy magazine and reflected on the evolution of femininity in the edition, noting how women started prioritizing health and fitness in the 1980s.

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The 70-year-old bodybuilding champion once said, “In the ’50s you had women like Marilyn Monroe who were strictly s*x objects. In the ’60s you had Twiggy, who started the undernourished, androgynous style. In the ’70s there was Farrah [Fawcett]. Now, in the ’80s, health is a reality. Women are building up their bodies without sacrificing beauty or femininity,” as per The Telegraph’s obituary article. The change Lyon pointed out in the 1980s was expanded by the 2020s, with women dominating the fitness arena. Despite Lyon passing away, she left a long-lasting legacy.

The bodybuilding legend died due to cancer


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Lisa Lyon startled the masses when she lifted the Austrian Oak on her shoulders, which resonated with her strength back in the day. She is an inspiration to Frank Miller, who created the Marvel Comics character Elektra based on her. The legendary athlete died last month after struggling with pancreatic cancer at the age of 70.

Watch this story | Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Build Compared to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan

Speaking of Lyon, 7x Mr. Olympia champion Arnold Schwarzenegger confessed, “She is the best. I love her.” The duo teamed up for a photoshoot after Lyon won her first and only bodybuilding trophy.


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Lisa Lyon is an inspiration to women who want to resist prejudice and walk on the path of their passion. Despite her demise, her role in the growth of the sport will be forever revered. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

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Author: ZeroToHero

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