FROM THE CEO BY NICK ORTON was pretty underground from the officials controlling the sport. The irony is that being underground has partly been a driver for increasing the popularity of the sport, because young people will always want something which is mysterious and dark, in favour of acceptable and sanitised. Ten years on and I can see two things clearly. One, there are so many more people who are passionate about the sport of bodybuilding. Two, the main media still sell their stories on negatives in the UK and our successes are rarely published or recognised on TV and mainstream channels. BODYBUILDING IS THE UK’S NATIONAL SPORT ALL HAIL BRITISH bodybuilding because we are the biggest market in Europe and we seriously outgun much larger countries in competitions. British Bodybuilding is alive, well, and consistently producing world class physiques across all classes. It is an incredible achievement that our small nation continues to perform so well. We represent well internationally, sending top class athletes right around the world to showcase the depth of talent that we have in the UK. It’s a bold statement, but surely bodybuilding IS our NATIONAL SPORT…we are damn good at it. 6 FLEX | JANUARY 2018 So why is it that the mainstream press in the UK love to hate bodybuilders? Why does the death of a bodybuilder automatically get linked to drug misuse and make the headlines, when the crowning of new world champions goes unreported by mainstream media? It’s a bizarre approach to a sport which is loved by so many - and the love for bodybuilding has never been greater than today. Ten years ago, when I started BodyPower, there was a stranglehold on competitors, where newcomers were discouraged from joining what The UK isn’t alone in its approach, although it’s pretty much the worst nation for demonising its sporting elite. Compared with nations in Asia, the contrast couldn’t be more different – for example, in India, bodybuilders are worshiped, treated like celebrities, honoured for their achievements, and rightly so. I spend a lot of time in India with BodyPower, and I can see that recognising bodybuilding successes has been massively positive for the overall fitness of the nation. It’s a simple formula which the UK really need to get a grip on. The best in any sport are revered by fans/ followers, and are influential because of this. It makes sense to me to recognise those at the top of their sport, so that they can influence more. This is how you change a nation and if done correctly, can be massively beneficial to millions, just as it has been in India. Rather than jump on the stereotype of ‘meathead’, doesn’t it make sense to focus on the commitment required to get into show condition, and to look at the discipline required to train and diet. Here at FLEX we will continue to recognise the best, reward achievements, and encourage the next generation…it’s all about you. All hail our national sport and the British Bodybuilder, the best in the world.