The world of bodybuilding represents a relatively small niche even in the sports universe. But that doesn’t mean that as athletes bodybuilders were not as devoted to their sport and single minded in their desire to succeed as any baseball, football or basketball player. That dedication to excellence can be seen in the small number of bodybuilders who were able to get media exposure in the breakthrough bodybuilding film, Pumping Iron. One of the hardworking bodybuilders that fans of Pumping Iron could not take their eyes off of was Paul Grant.
Pumping Iron brought a new dimension to the bodybuilding championship that was being filmed in South Africa in 1975. Bodybuilding is a sport where physical conditioning always dominates the competition and it is what makes or breaks a champion. But what Pumping Iron brought out was that personality, poise, style and an ability to romance the camera were also important to the filmmakers who wanted Pumping Iron to be a hit.
Some of the bodybuilders who excelled at getting noticed went on to great fame and fortune including Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man who went on be become the name we most associate with The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. Paul Grant was not among those whose name became a household world like those other bodybuilding stars. But his championship performance in Pumping Iron is one that made a big contribution to the success of the film.
When fans of bodybuilding saw Paul Grant in Pumping Iron, his superb physical conditioning stood out. The way Grant’s body was sculpted showed off his amazing delts, the sweep of his muscular thighs and a dexterity of his overall muscle tone that gave him a natural grace while posing for the competition and the camera. Many at that competition felt that Paul Grant’s conditioning was as good or better than any other bodybuilder there included Ken Waller. But many times judges at bodybuilding competitions give the nod to the bodybuilder with the best V-shape or the most imposing size of calves and arms and Waller excelled in those areas.
Like all of the outstanding athletes in Pumping Iron, Paul Grant had a highly successful bodybuilding career before and after Pumping Iron was filmed. Grant and the more well known Lou Ferrigno were fast friends and often competed against each other over the years. In fact, the Welsh Paul Grant routinely beat Ferrigno in bodybuilding competitions, which only deepened the admiration the star of The Incredible Hunk had for his close friend.
Throughout the 1970s, Paul Grant went on to win a wide variety of bodybuilding championships including Mr. Europe and Mr. World. Grants accomplishments and his devotion to the culture of bodybuilding was recognized when he became took over as President of the Welsh Federation of Bodybuilders. It was in this office that Paul Grant was able to serve as a mentor to younger bodybuilders so they could take advantage of his years of experience and success in the sport. No doubt, many young bodybuilders took some time to admire the work of Paul Grant in Pumping Iron and dreamed of the day they would be captured on film as well.