Jeff Everson: More Than Your Average Bag Carrier


 Interview by Brian Eastman Photography by Mike Neveux

36 IRONMAN May 1988

The day following the 1987 IFBB Ms. Olympia contest, at which Cory Everson won an unprecedented fourth title, IRONMAN interviewed her husband Jeff. Besides being Cory's bag carrier, trainer and partner in life, Jeff is also the Editor-in-Chief of Muscle & Fitness magazine.

IM: After four victories, is Cory going to retire?

JE: Good question. That's about as exciting an answer as I can give you. Tentatively, Cory, and this is the phrase she uses, "wants to take a leave of ab­sence from competition." She doesn't use the word "retire." I thought she might retire after last year, but she has an athlete's soul which is unpredictable. Retirement is a decision only she can make, and I don't even try to advise her.

IM: Bodybuilding would definitely miss Cory. Wouldn't Cory miss the competition?

JE: I'm sure she would, but I think she might miss performing more than actual competition. She has a lot of supporters who want her to go on and she knows that. Besides, I think she's still a ways from her ultimate potential and competition is necessary to bring that potential out. She loves to perform, which she could continue to do, but competition drives a perfectionist. Cory has a lot of potential in other areas that is siphoned off by competition training. The costs to continue in bodybuilding might be too high.


IM: What are the costs?

JE: Time, frustration and a willing­ness, it seems, by some women to do

anything, including almost killing them­selves, to win. When you analyze it, as

Cory becomes a better bodybuilder, the

less marketable she may become in the commercial world, which is an indict 

ment against bodybuilding, I suppose, or maybe a reflection of the stupidity of the commercial world

IM: What about training and diet­ing? Are they costs as well?

JE: Those aren't costs for Cory. She likes hard training. She eats pretty good

year 'round and doesn't seem to have to diet as hard as some of the women.

It's funny. I believe that most body­builders train because they have a psy­chological need to train—at least most men get started that way. The psycho­logical need is primary and is the result, in many cases, of some sort of social adjustment problem related to feelings of physical inferiority or insecurity.

One thing's for sure, there was never this all-motivating need within Cory to change or improve her looks. Cory was just as satisfied with her body, maybe even more so, before she started body­building, than she is now. That's odd. Cory bodybuilds because she's good at it and enjoys it. She doesn't do it to accom­plish something special or to look or feel better about herself.She's a natural performer.

IM: You mentioned that some wo­men are killing themselves to win. Do you think this is really true?

JE: Nobody's died yet, unlike the men's side of bodybuilding, but some­times I don't know what's going on. Like everyone, I hear all the stories: the wo­man who supposedly tested positive for both Deca and testosterone just three

weeks before the Ms. Olympia in a lab test but entered anyway. Then there are the women who are beach balls six weeks before the contest, but somehow show up in good shape the day of the show.

I suspect most of what I hear is not true. It doesn't seem that any body­builder is any closer to Cory now than four yenta ago. I believe that no matter how many drugs any of the women on the current scene might use, and I'm not saying any even do, I don't believe any of them can beat Cory if she continues to compete. The quality, maturity and stat 

ure aren't there. If Cory ever feels sta.'s

not competing woman against woman and is competing against pills or needles or someone's team doctor, then the sport is not worth being involved in anymore. Look at the men's sport. It's almost to that point right now. With women and steroids, there's no guarantee that they will help because mass and hard mus­cularity is simply not as valued as it is in the men's sport.

IM: So you don't think Cory wins because she's bigger and more cut than all the others?

JE: No. I can name many female bodybuilders who are bigger and harder than Cory. It's in the quality of the mus­cle. the symmetry. overpowering struc 

ture and the finish, the posing, muscle depth and maturity. In 1984, Cory was bigger and more balanced than Rachel, but Rachel never won on size. She had finish too.

Everyone has this image of Cory be­ing so big. Once people see her in per 

son, though, they say Cory is smaller,

better looking and more glamorous. She's tall, but the fact that the only

pictures we usually run in magazines are

contest photos where athletes are posed in power positions creates erroneous

opinions. Everybody thought Bev Francis and Mary Roberts were big. They are actually small people in stature.

IM: Are the Europeans gaining on Cory? Ellen Van Maris looked very good at the Olympia.

JE: Some of them might be getting bigger and harder, but so what? They

can't change their frames and they can't

change their skin. Ellen Van Maris is the best of the Europeans, and she seems to

be improving. Last year though, Clare

Farr was closer to Cory. Clare had 42 points to Cory's 20. This year, Ellen had

53 points to Cory's 20, so it was closer

last year point-wise. And I don't even think Cory was at her best this year,

although she thinks so. I thought she was two pounds too heavy and had on too much oil.

Juliette Bergmann has plenty of po­tential, but she seems to be going the

other way in that she gets bigger and thicker instead of smaller and tighter which would better highlight her frame. That's the look she wants though, and I respect her for that, even though I don't totally understand it. Anja Langer was better in Toronto at the Worlds than in the Ms Olympia_ She was lucky to finish fourth. Her back, shoulders and legs were very smooth. She also needs chest development and thickness.

Everybody talks about potential. To be blunt, potential doesn't mean dick, results do. Cory has more potential than anyone currently competing because she is able to put her money where her mouth is. Yes, you have to start out with a good structure, but bodyfat, finished body-parts, depth and thickness take time and talent to achieve.

IM: Cory is always on target for her shows and she never seems to be out of shape. This is not true for a lot of competitors. Any secrets?

JE: I'm forced to admit that natural metabolism must have something to do with it. Secondly, she doesn't eat many fat foods. She eats no meat, milk or cheese and never any egg yolks. She likes carbs, but mostly bread which is good. Genetics must play a part. I don't think Cory could get fat if she tried. She competed in the Ms. Olympia at 152. The highest she was all year was 158 and the lowest was 148, about two days after the show. She'll now stay around 153 or so. On top of that, she trains hard all year 'round.

/M: There is no miracle sup­plement?

JE: I wish. It's all I can do to get Cory to take vitamins or amino acids occa­sionally. I make the plan out, but she has problems following it. To me, it points out that if you eat a lot of good food and train very hard, you can do fine without supplements. Our experience nas been that hard training is more important than any fancy supplement plan or special


IM: I'm sure some people are going to accuse Cory of using growth

hormone because it's supposed to help burn fat. What's your reaction to this accusation?

JE: It burns fat, huh? That's a new one on me. But then again, despite the true results of using growth hormone, I do hear that people still believe growth hormone actually does something. It's their money to waste. There's a supple­ment on television called Dream-Away that's supposed to burn fat. Cory loads up on that. That's how she won the Ms. `0'. None of the others knew about Dream-Away.

Let me put it this way. If Cory has ever used growth hormone, may God strike all my family dead with heart attacks.

The rumors and stupidity in this sport will either kill you outright or make you die a slow death as you laugh yourself into a fatal coma.

IM: Is Cory the brunt of rumors?

JE: No more than any bodybuilder at the top. I've never been involved in a more rumor-oriented activity. It's amaz­ing. You guys have heard most of the rumors over the years, I'm sure. Arnold has liver cancer. Arnold has calf im­plants. Lou Ferrigno had cancer too, awhile back. Ron Teufel was dead for awhile. Mike Katz had AIDS. Tom Platz was sick—that was going around last year. And of course, there's Gaspari and his massive heart attack.

These are all rumors we hear year after year. With the men, it's usually some drug-related thing. With the wo­men, it's usually divorces or some kind of surgery, breast or face. For instance, this year, Cory had, according to the bodybuilding public, a face lift, a chin implant, cheek implants and eyes de-bagged. Next year, it'll probably be delt implants.

Cory did wear hair extensions this year, and she did have a brilliant hair and makeup artist, Robert Sabatino, at the

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"Why is it not okay for the women to deepen their voices, enlarge their cli­torises and shrink their breasts, but it is okay for the men to lose their head hair, shrink their testicles, age before your eyes and form female breasts? You know why it's okay? Because men make the rules, that's why. The men are not think­ing about the future of their own health and the sport. They should be looking for ways to get steroids out of the sport; they are only thinking of their immediate contest gratification.

I respect Ben Weider for instituting the tests for the women and the amateur World Championships. I wish he would progress faster in other contests. To me, there is no logic in not doing so, but he gets input from a lot of people and he believes one must walk before one runs.

IM: Will the tests really keep bodybuilders from using steroids and will they get steroids out of bodybuilding?

JE: Unfortunately, the answer is prob­ably "no" to both questions. Testing is good because it's a step towards a more all-encompassing approach to the prob­lem. Testing causes bodybuilders to stop using some steroids altogether and makes the athlete who is determined to use steroids use less and get off the steroids long before the drug-tested event, so it does have a positive effect. Testing has probably diminished overall size and hardness where it's been done. The IFBB is testing the women for ster­oids, cocaine, diuretics and probenecid, all drugs that aren't needed or are unhealthy.

It would be nice if there was a test for growth hormone to remove the fan's doubts, but the IOC scientists see no reason to develop one since the drug is


ineffective. I'd like the IFBB to test for thyroid drugs too. This might further diminish hardness and muscularity which ultimately would be good. Right now, some bodybuilders simply do not look real. They can make dogs pee in fright.

IM: Are the powers-that-be afraid to test the contestants at the Mr. Olympia because they won't have any competitors or scared that they may jump ship to a rival organiza­tion?

JE: Maybe, but in both cases, the

arguments are not valid. If we assume that some of the women in the Ms. Olympia used steroids, how come none

"To be blunt, potential
doesn't mean dick—
results do."

of them jumped ship? Other organiza­tions are sinking ships anyway. I don't think the men would jump either, be­cause the other organizations aren't of much consequence with publicity or fi­nances. Besides, all major sporting or­ganizations test. NCAA football players deal with it and so do track athletes. Why should bodybuilders be any differ­ent? Passing a drug test is not so myste­rious. All bodybuilders who have used steroids have to do is read: don't use oil-based injections at all; don't use water-based injections three months before the contest; don't use three months before the contest; don't use oral steroids five to six weeks before the contest. Follow that, and you'll probably pass.

Testing will not get rid of steroids unless it is done year 'round in a random fashion.

IM: Do you find a lot of hypocrisy in the drug tests, the fact that many magazines call people who pass them drug-free and propagate a myth that the physiques were built entirely without steroids which may not be the case?

JE: All it means when you pass a drug test is that you aren't competing with anabolic drugs currently in your system. However, you may have never used steroids, so there wouldn't be any hypocracy in those cases. I think the magazines make too big a deal out of the drug tests. They are a fact of life, and you don't have to beat a dead horse.

I emphatically believe Mike Ashley and Paul Jean-Guillaume have never used steroids. It's a feel I get from inter­viewing them and a look to their phy­siques. People in bodybuilding are too historically shallow to appreciate great physiques before the steroid era. Others did it, why not these two? Bodybuilders today don't remember the early Pearl, John Grimek, Steve Reeves, George Eiferman, Clancy Ross, Leroy Colbert, Chuck Sipes, Reg Park, Bob Gajda, Bruce Randall, Marvin Eder, Jim Hais 

Ms. Olympia. Ellen Van Maris and Di­ana Dennis have worn hair extensions too, but extensions make no difference. The hair has to be worn up. Hair isn't on the scoresheet. We wanted Cory's hair in pigtails this year in the finals to match her '50s posing music and also for the television show coming up. It's funny. You do something different, and the rumors flow like lava, hot and heavy. I suppose I'll say it again. If Cory had any of those things done, may my family be struck dead.

IM: Let's bit another subject—drug testing. Is it fair that Cory and the rest of the women of the Ms. Olympia must urinate in a beaker, but Lee Haney and the Mr. Olympia men don't?

JE: As it is unfair, so also is it unintel­ligible. I find no justification for the policy except sexism. It's the type of thing where you think you are doing right, and you are in a way, but in doing a partial right, you may create a greater wrong.

Men use steroids, so they should be tested. Steroids are unhealthy for men. Steroids give the male user an unfair advantage, just as they do the female user (in limited respects). The rationale that steroids are male-like and therefore okay, is illogical. Ask yourselves this:

lop and so on, right down the line. There were a lot of good bodybuilders around when steroids were still in a bottle and not in someone's stomach.

IM: Do you think there are other steps we should be taking toward steroid control?

JE: In the magazines, we covertly suggest that the champs don't use ster­oids, that they all develop because of genetics, good old home cooking, hard training and supplements. Now I'm sure a few do, but not many. We need to take a harder line. That means the IFBB, the NPC and all the bodybuilding organiza­tions and magazines must come together and form a political and financial lobby pressuring the government to pass laws restricting the import, use and sale of anabolic steroids.

We should only accept endorsements from drug-tested athletes and report only on drug-tested shows. We should accept drug testing as a fact of life. Also,

"I emphatically believe Mike Ashley and Paul Jean-Guillaume have never used steroids."

and this is important, we need to point out that people who want drug testing and want steroids out, are not neces­sarily crusaders. I'm not a crusader, and I've used steroids in the past, but I didn't like doing it, and I resented having to do it. You could say most bodybuilders view steroids as a real pain in the ass — literally!

As it is now, it's medically dangerous to use them, but a requirementfor a lot of people if you want to compete suc­cessfully. There are plenty of people who have used steroids over the years who are devoutly anti-steroid, and they're not just paying lip service either.

IM: Are you comfortable with the fact that Cory makes less than half of what Lee Haney makes winning the Ms. and Mr. Olympias respec­tively? Why do the women make less?

JE: I am disappointed with that but looking forward to future growth. I be­lieve the prize money situation is not equitable and it hurts women emo­tionally. They train just as hard, diet just as hard and commercially promote the sport as much. Plus, they suffer the accusations and indignities surrounding drug testing and have to do all the extra stuff like getting to the contest a week early to do testing, fuss with make-up, suit and hair for hours. They even work

harder on posing, often hiring expensive choreographers to help with their posing routines.

I believe the prize money is higher for the men because of historical precedent

and benign neglect. Now I'm not privy

to gate receipts and expenses, nor do I expect to be. The women draw big

crowds too, but that all-important criti 

cal push for more money for the women hasn't been there historically. I'm not

saying it's intentional or orchestrated; its

not. It's just been a neglected situation. I think and hope the prize money situation will improve. It's not much of a

logical reason to say, "Well, the women

are making a lot more than the men were after just eight Ms. Olympias. True, they

are, but a law firm hiring an equally

qualified female attorney can't base her pay scale on an historical precedent. You

must pay equal for equal work. However, we have a critically interceding factor here —the women may simply draw less at the gate. That I don't know.

Frankly, I'm a little worried if Wayne DeMilia and John Traetta decide not to

take the Ms. Olympia in New York again

or if Cory retires. What promoter will take it on? And will Reebok, who put in

$50,000 sponsorship in 1987, stay in bodybuilding if Cory retires? This is all interesting food for thought.

IM: Cory did a very elaborate, intricate and entertaining routine at

the Ms. Olympia. Do you think her routine reflects the direction of pos­ing, perhaps abandoning hardcore muscle shots?

JE: No, not at all. There are several genres of posing possible. Diana Dennis

is very emotional and theatrical, yet she

still shows plenty of muscle. Clare Furr is very straightforward with conven 

tional poses. Mohamed Makkawy is

keenly dramatic, Bertil Fox is brutally powerful. Cory's posing is athletic, dy 

namic and partially comedic. Cory's

philosophy is to show the world that bodybuilders can do something on stage

with their muscles—that they can move athletically and are not hapless clods caught in a quagmire of endless most­musculars and side chests—stuff that should have died in the '50s.

Cory shows plenty of muscle, but she does it in a unique and different way, and I might add, in a totally different manner than she shows it in prejudging. This is what posing is (and should be) all about—showing your body and muscles to an advantage, but not repeating what you do or did in the prejudging. If you just go out and string the same poses you used in the prejudging together, why have a posing round? If bodybuilding fans want to see simple static poses, they can go to the prejudging. That's where the contests seem to be won and lost anyway.

IM: Can there ever be a female Schwarzenegger, one who accom­plishes what he has in the movie/film industry?

JE: I won't say absolutely not, but based on our folklore and history, I'd say there is no way this is possible until more history has been written.

Our folklore is riddled with male fig­ures, heroes such as Tarzan, Goliath, Hercules, Paul Bunyon and Samson. In modern day life, we have James Bond and Rambo. In cartoons, Mighty Mouse, Batman and Superman. They're all male. There is no acceptance and no

"Testing will not get rid
of steroids unless it is
done year 'round in a
random fashion."

standard folklore for super-strong fe­males. Batgirl and Supergirl never really made it, did they?

It will be much harder for a female bodybuilder not schooled in acting, to equal Arnold's success. Furthermore, he has a magnificence to his personality, a presence. That can be developed of course, but today, it's easier when you have physical stature. Now, I'm not say­ing that a female bodybuilder can't be­come an actor of note, only that today's roles are more limited. I do believe a smart bodybuilder can gain great wealth

IRONMAN May 1988 43