A NEW Presents BEGINNING AMI CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, AND CEO DAVID J. PECKER’S HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE 2017 OLYMPIA WEEKEND, PRESENTED BY AMAZON SPORTS NUTRITION. BY JIM MANION, IFBB PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE AND NPC PRESIDENT | PHOTOGRAPHS BY PER BERNAL TRACE IT TO FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2004. American Media Inc., which had acquired Weider Publications two years earlier, announced it was now a 50% owner of the Mr. Olym pia and would produce the 2004 event, held Oct. 28–30, in Las Vegas. The driving force behind this seismic shift in the bodybuilding and fitness world, AMI’s visionary CEO, President, and Chairman, David J. Pecker, also made the claim that total prize money would eventually hit the $1 million mark. At that time, O Weekend totaled $420,000 (the highest). Even then, having known David for only a short period of time, I was confident that he would make good on his promise. And I was not mistaken, as you will soon see. 92 FLEX | JANUARY 2018 Jim Manion (left) and David J. Pecker congratulate Phil Heath on his seventh Mr. Olympia win, Sept. 16, at Orleans Arena.