Harold Poole: A Game-Changing Champion

Harold PooleAll through bodybuilding's long history, there have been many legends and Harold Poole is one that stands out among them.

Born on 25th December, 1943 at Louisville, Kentucky, Harold Poole would gift to the body-building world a physique that closely presented the right balance of size, proportion and definition required to become one of the best bodybuilders ever.

Highly athletic right from an early age, 12-year old Harold immediately became serious about football, boxing and wrestling during his high school years in Indianapolis.

In the year 1960, Poole won the Jr. Mr. Indiana title when he was just 16. Thinking big, he wanted to be the very first African-American to grab Mr. America title and to do so while still being a teen.


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He was ranked 18th in Mr. America title (1960). By the next year, at the age of 17, he confidently contended for the same, ending up with an impressive 4th place.

At the age of 18, 5'10", a 200lb Poole added 4 more overall trophies to his collection – Mr. North America Mr. Chicago Park District, Mr. Tri States and Mr. Northern Indiana. And also, before graduating from his high school, he was second in Mr. America (1962), picking up the "Most Muscular" award.

Three months later, Poole moved to the IFBB and immediately won the Mr. Universe in 1963, beating Larry Scott. He was just 19 years old.

Harold Poole

One year later, aged only 20, Poole won the IFBB-Mr. America (the first African-American to hold that title), and a year after that, he was runner up to Larry Scott in the first Mr. Olympia contest. Poole then took over as the one and only man to contend in the first three Mr. Olympia contests.

Harold Poole was most popular for his 'most muscular' pose and his postures in general were considered to be the most vibrant and elegant in all of body building.

In 2004 he was inducted into the IFFB Hall of Fame and later, in 2007, he was also inducted into the WBBG Hall of Fame.

Today, he presently lives in Florida where he still continues to train himself with weights and also is an avid practicioner of martial arts.

Competition History


  • Mr Mid-America – AAU, Most Muscular, 2nd


  • Junior Mr America – AAU, Overall Winner


  • Mr America – AAU, Most Muscular
  • Mr America – AAU (2nd place)
  • Mr North America – AAU


  • Mr America – AAU, Most Muscular, 1st
  • Mr America – AAU, 2nd
  • Teen Mr America – AAU, 2nd
  • Mr. Universe – IFBB


  • Mr America – IFBB


  • Mr. Olympia – IFBB (2nd place)


  • Mr. Olympia – IFBB, (2nd place)


  • Pro Mr America – WBBG, Winner
  • Mr. Olympia – IFBB, (2nd place)


  • Pro Mr America – WBBG


  • Mr USA – IFBB, (Tall Class, 1st place)


  • Mr World – IFBB, (Tall Class, 3rd place)