The Sunday Mail
NIGEL MAPHOSA is not the average, run-of-the-mill, 29-year-old professional bodybuilder.
With a moniker like ‘Spartan’, the South Africa-based athlete has by far one of the coolest nicknames in Zimbabwe’s bodybuilding circles.
His social media game is almost non-existent, something that does not go well with a fan-based sport.
Currently, Spartan only has 5 000 friends on Facebook and slightly above 700 followers on Instagram. He is not on Twitter.
“My social media is still lagging behind, I know that. I used to have a Twitter account, but I didn’t really understand it. The account has since been deleted.
“I didn’t like the comments that people would put on my tweets and pictures,” said Maphosa.
But, the bodybuilder who hails from Midlands is not deterred by his social media game. His dreams and aspirations lie elsewhere. After several unsuccessful attempts to land the coveted Zimbabwe bodybuilding crown, Maphosa finally managed to win the big one at the recently held Zimbabwe Bodybuilding National finals.
He walked away with US$4 500.
Maphosa hopes to use both the title’s clout and financial benefits as a launch pad for his Mr Olympia dream.
Mr Olympia is the title awarded to the winner of the professional men’s bodybuilding contest at Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend — an annual international bodybuilding competition that is held by the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness.
“When they announced that number 76 was the winner, I thought I was dreaming,’’ said Spartan.
“The national championships have never been the ultimate goal, just a launching pad. I hope to use the title to open doors for my Mr Olympia dreams.
“A lot of emotions ran through my body when l won. lt took a lot for me to get here, then, there was the realisation that my journey was beginning,” he said.
Speaking about how his career started, Spartan said, “It’s a funny story, really.
“I started training roughly 12 years ago, under an avocado tree in Gweru.
“It was a backyard gym in Gweru, run by this old man called Musoya. l don’t really remember his first name.
“He had these make-up weights that we used for training. It was at this gym that Isaac “Sugar Sugar” Chimuchenga discovered and set me on the path to professional bodybuilding.
“At the time, I was still a good sprinter and footballer. But, at the 2012 Under-21 Africa Olympia, I decided to pursue bodybuilding. l set my eyes on the crown and I came third, if I am not mistaken, but I enjoyed the experience so much. l set out to achieve more and win the big one,” he said.
Joe Weider created the Mr Olympia contest to enable Mr Universe winners to continue competing and earning money.
The first contest was held on September 18, 1965, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City.
The inaugural crown went to the late American bodybuilder, Larry Scott, who also managed to become the first back-to-back champion.