MOUNT VERNON — He was a champion bodybuilder at the age of 50.
That was 17 years ago.
In 2011, he became a champion again — and he competed just to see if he could still do it.
Mount Vernon resident Jim McNeill, 67, has taken a disciplined, goal-oriented approach to life, which has kept him in shape and slowed down the relentless march of Father Time.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” said McNeill, who won the Grand Masters Championship at the INBF Mid-America Pro-Am contest, recently held in Evansville, Ind. “I’ve been doing this since I was 13 years old, back in 1958. I started competing when I was 18. I started on the old Olympic lifting — the press, the snatch, and the clean and jerk. I was the junior champion of Cleveland in 1963. After that, I went into bodybuilding.”
McNeill, who also worked for the railroad for many years, won numerous titles in his spare time, among them: Mr. Teenage Ohio, Mr. Lake Erie, Mr. Great Lakes, Mr. Junior Cleveland and Mr. Cleveland. As his body grew and became stronger and his muscles became more defined, the number of titles grew. The best part is that he did it without steroids.
“In the ’70s steroids started coming around,” said McNeill. “Guys were using them, but I didn’t want any part of that and I didn’t compete again, until I was 46 years old. From 46 to 50, I was doing all kinds of shows — maybe 35 or 40 shows in that four-year period. I won a lot of titles on the East Coast.”