IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT RUMORS HAVE BEEN CIRCULATING THE INTERNET THAT OUR ORGANIZATIONS ARE RESTRUCTURING THREATENING THE FUTURE OF THE WNBF AND OUR AMATEUR AFFILIATE. PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE RUMORS ARE NOT TRUE. THE WNBF IS NOT REORGANIZING AND MR. CHEH LOW IS STILL THE PRESIDENT AND CHARLIE CAROLLO IS THE VICE PRESIDENT. ALL FUTURE SHOWS, INCLUDING THE WNBF PRO NATURAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS & THE INBF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF)
The sudden and unexpected departure of INBF/WNBF Chairman and NBF Editorial Director Rich Fitter has rocked the natural bodybuilding community and immediately spawned rumors that the future of the WNBF was, for some reason, in jeopardy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Critics of the WNBF forget that this venerable organization has been around for more than 20 years and, during that entire time, has had only two chairmen Steve Downs and Rich Fitter. Under their formidable leadership the WNBF has thrived over the years and made remarkable achievements. However, it is also a credit to someone who had the wisdom and foresight to appoint two such talented and dedicated men in the first place. That someone is WNBF President and Founder Cheh N. Low, and he is still very much in the picture.
Many WNBF pros have never met or even seen - the reclusive Mr. Low because he has preferred to take a backseat to his two dynamic chairmen who were the face of the organization. But, Lows unwavering commitment both personal and financial - to natural bodybuilding has provided the backbone and stability for the WNBF for more than two decades.
My vision for natural bodybuilding has remained steadfast, said Cheh during my personal phone conversation with him today. I am in excellent health, he said, but I would like to start taking some time off for myself to travel after all these years. Therefore, we will be looking for a new chairman and editor who can gradually assume more of my responsibilities - someone who believes what I believe for the good of the sport, someone who will follow the organizations by-laws, and someone who will ensure that the vision goes on.
Both Steve Downs and Rich Fitter made legions of friends and probably some enemies too - among natural bodybuilders during their respective tenures. They were each uncompromising in their commitment, and each of their legacies is secure. They left at the top of their game for their own personal reasons, and we should respect their decisions.
As Rich said on his FACEBOOK page: I didn't ever expect to leave the WNBF and was very honored to have worked my way up. I made some amazing friendships and have no regrets. Charlie (Carollo) has always been one of my closest friends in this sport and he, Mr. Low and the rest of the team will put on an great show (the upcoming Worlds).
A class act. Steve left the same way. Both class acts.
The WNBF will continue under new leadership but with big shoes to fill.
AUTHORS COMMENT: I have known Cheh Low for more than 20 years and consider him a dear friend. As founder and president of the North American Natural Bodybuilding Association (NANBA), I was one of the original supporters of the WNBF and promoted the first WNBF contest in Minneapolis in 1990 in conjunction with the NANBA Natural Universe.
Yet, despite our close relationship over the years, I have often disagreed with Cheh sometimes vehemently - with some of his WNBF policies and even with regard to his magazines. I disagree with him even now on several issues. But I respect him and have never questioned his commitment to the sport and to the athletes.
I have asked Cheh many times over the years why he continues to invest so much of his own money into natural bodybuilding when there seems to be so little appreciation or loyalty from many of the athletes who are forever jumping ship at the drop of a hat or arguing about having to follow rules that they didnt agree with. He would always just shrug his shoulders and laugh as if to say, Its all right. I know its the right thing to do.
Agree with him or not, like him or not, Cheh Low has provided a professional venue based on structure and integrity for natural bodybuilders that has stood the test of time, and he has provided them publicity through his magazines to give them the recognition they deserve.
Autocratic? Perhaps. If so, hes not the only one. Joe Weider was considered autocratic by many too, but the IFBB is what it is today because of him. Maybe some people considered me to be autocratic when I started NANBA. I dont know. Maybe thats what it took to start a successful bodybuilding organization back then. Maybe its different now. Maybe its changed. Maybe someday all of the natural organizations will join forces for the betterment of the sport and stop working against each other, and there wont be so much unrest when something like this happens. Maybe. Someday. I hope.