SPREAD THE ASPIRATION
At Universal USA, athletes are more than just physiques and accomplishments. While trophies are important as signs of success, too often, society rewards and acknowledges only those have already "made it", those who are already established, those with the most trophies. Bodybuilding, as a sport, should be much more than hardware won on the stage.
Bodybuilding is a process. Bodybuilding is about growth--not just physically but emotionally. At Universal USA, we are looking for those see things the way we do. Why? Because the process is more important to us. The Universal Athlete is that valued individual who truly captures what the brand is all about--the values, the goals, and the attitude. This is more important to us than trophies.
Most importantly, we want our athletes to be positive role models and good ambassadors for the sport. We want athletes who understand that bodybuilding has a place in one's life but it not one's entire life. Bodybuilding adds richness and complexity to one's character. That character should not solely be bodybuilding. More than anything else, these select athletes should serve to "aspire" all of us. Aspire? Yes. Inspire us, but more importantly, to allow us to recognize that our own dreams are aspirational and achievable.
From Germany, David Hoffman is a bodybuilder who has truly looked to the greats of the sport for inspiration when he began building his physique. David began lifting weights at the age of 15, when he weighed just 150 pounds. With the help of bodybuilding magazines and his local gym, he managed to gain over 40 pounds in his first year training. Right away he set his sights on the stage. David began competing in 2000 at 209 pounds. In 2008, he competed in the German Nationals as a Super Heavyweight. He won his class and the overall. Today he is well known and highly respected for his classic, throwback physique with a very small waist reminiscent of the golden era of bodybuilding.
Like many young French Canadians, this young, up-and-coming bodybuilder started out playing hockey before he discovered his love for the stage. Around the age of 16, Antoine decided to get serious about weight training. He had one goal in mind—to get big! His body responded quickly, adding 30 pounds in less than two months. He decided it was time to step onto the stage. So Antoine competed in the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation (CBBF) Canadian Championships in the Junior Division, and he placed first in his class. Since then Antoine has become a force to be reckoned with on the Canadian bodybuilding scene. In addition to competing again in this year’s Canadian Nationals, he is currently getting ready to compete in next year’s Arnold Amateur Championships.
This young New Jersey native has a tremendous future ahead of him. Christian began weight training about 10 years ago. At first, he wasn’t a fan, but after watching everyone around him getting bigger and bigger, he decided to give it another shot. He managed to pack on an impressive 40 pounds of muscle and decided it was time to make his stage debut in 2008. In 2009 he came in first at the NPC East Coast. Thanks to his incredible work ethic, Christian has found much success on the stage, having competed in 10 shows already. A trained chef who attended culinary school, Christian knows just what to eat to get big, cut and lean. Standing at 5’6” and weighing an impressive 210 lb, Christian has a physique any young athlete would desire. Christian Coronato is definitely a name that will be remembered on the natural bodybuilding circuit for years to come.
Ben Rice, or Big Ben as he's known here, has made quite a splash on the powerlifting scene. This young Washington state native began powerlifting when he was in 9th grade. He immediately knew he had found his life passion. After just 2 years in the sport, he began competing with the World Association of Benchers and Dead Lifters (WABDL). Ben holds 2 world championships in the teen division and multiple state, national, and world records. While his favorite lift is the deadlift, Ben trains for full power meets. Keep an eye out for this hungry athlete as he climbs his way to the top of the powerlifter rankings.
This New Hampshire native is no stranger to competition. This young, rising bodybuilding star has been involved in competitive sports from just about the time he could walk. Brad went through horse riding, baseball, basketball and football before finding his passion for the stage. He started competing during his senior of college, taking on a dual show as his debut. He competed in the New Hampshire State Championships and placed 2nd as a heavyweight, and in the Northeast Tournament of Champions where he placed 3rd. After this Brad took some time off to focus on his pre-med studies. However, his taste for the stage never left, and this year he made his competitive return by competing three times in three consecutive weekends. Playing it smart as he paves his way to legendary status, right now he is carefully choosing his next great feat.
This young Canadian native has everything it takes to be a bodybuilding great—the work ethic, the passion, the knowledge, and most importantly, the physique. Like many young bodybuilders, Tony Searle experimented with several sports before he was bit by the bodybuilding bug. He began lifting weights as a means to improve his hockey game, and he liked the attention his physique was getting him. He picked up some magazines and began learning from successful athletes who mentored him. He decided to step on stage for the first time in 2008, and in 2009 he placed first in the Musclemania Universe Junior Heavyweight Division. Tony’s plans for the future include soaking up all the knowledge he can to help him earn his pro card.
A seasoned pro, Vinny Galanti has been around the block a couple of times. His experience and wisdom are truly an asset, along with his willingness to lend a hand to bodybuilders of all levels. Vinny has been with the company for fourteen years, the longest tenure of any athlete. This New Jersey native had his first major win in 1992 at the NPC Mr. New Jersey. He reigned king at the NPC Jr. USA and then again in 2008. Vinny turned Pro at the 2008 NPC Masters Nationals, a joyous day for sure. At 43 years of age, Vinny has several National titles under his belt, most notably at the NPC USA Championships. Vinny is both a Universal Mentor and a Universal Athlete.
Josh Halladay is a young bodybuilder who has shown tremendous promise. His first competition was the Collegiate Nationals in Pittsburgh in which he took 2nd place in the light heavyweight division. At his second show in the summer of 2011, Josh won the heavyweight division at the Philadelphia Classic. In 2012, he plans on competing at the Pittsburgh in May and the Jr. Nationals in June. Though only serious in the past two years, Josh was lifting since he was fourteen years old. At that time, he was a football player who saw that his physique responded well to the iron. After tearing his hamstring playing college ball, Josh decided to turn his full attention to bodybuilding. Though he's made tremendous strides in a few short years, his future is still well ahead of him.
At only 23 years of age, Nick Lepore has a long future ahead of him in bodybuilding. At 5' 3", he competes at 143 and during the off-season he's 176. Nick first began competing in 2008, winning the NPC Gold's Classic Championship as a bantamweight. In 2010, he took first place at the NPC Eastern USA. Growing up as a kid, Nick was competitive and played basketball for 15 years. In high school, he switched over to bodybuilding and never looked back. As a bodybuilder, he has a interest in food and supplements.
Josh Landry is a young, rising bodybuilder with a big future. After being first inspired by IFBB Pro and Animal athlete, Frank McGrath, Josh set his sights on becoming a competitive bodybuilder. Before that, he was just another gym rat looking to make gains in the weightroom. This past year he began competing in the National Physique Committee (NPC) and has placed well in several shows. His youth, energy, and burgeoning passion for the sport make him a perfect fit for Universal and our ideals – inspiring lifters everywhere and showing them that anyone with enough heart and desire can step up on stage and compete.