Samir Bannout was born on November 7, 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon and is known by his fans as the Lion of Lebanon. Samir moved to the USA when he was still a teenager and started training at the YMCA gym in Detroit, Michigan. He was always motivated to train as a bodybuilder and enjoyed competitions.
He managed to get his pro-card after only competing in two competitions and became eligible to compete as a professional when he won the light-heavyweight at the 1979 IFBB World Amateur Championships. He then relocated to Santa Monica, California and started training seriously in order to compete as a professional bodybuilder.
Samir placed 4th in the Grand Prix bodybuilding competition held in California in 1980. At the Mr.Olympia that year he placed 15th and learnt a lot about contest preparation and how to get his body-fat as low as he could. Samir was determined to learn from his mistakes and came back the next year to place 9th at the 1981 Mr.Olympia.
1982 he came in second place at the Grand prix held in Sweden and then placed 4th at the Mr.Olympia proving that he was getting better every year. In 1983 he finally won the Mr.Olympia competition, which is something that he had been training hard for.
It was at that Mr.Olympia competition that the bodybuilding was first exposed to what was to become the ‘Christmas Tree’ effect that he showed on his lower back. His Christmas tree came from many years of powerlifting and a perfectly chosen diet, which got him that effect.
The next year Samir placed in 6th position in the 1984 Olympia, after which the IFBB decided to suspend him for three years because he also competed for the rival federation WABBA competing at the World Championship. However reporters on this subject suggest that the real reason was because he had an argument about the mistreatment of bodybuilders with one of the officials.
Samir Bannout has been honest about taking steroids unlike many of his rivals. He is on record as saying that the only way he was going to compete against bodybuilders who take steroids is to take them himself. He has openly admitted that he only used steroids to slow down the catabolic process during fat-loss before a competition.
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