The official World Record holder for the title of: ‘World’s Largest Biceps’ is Moustafa Ismail, originally of Egyptian descent, and now residing permanently in USA. He was invited to the UK last month for a big press launch in Central London unveiling ‘Big Mo’ to the entire world…
What followed was an influx of incredible, and contrasting reactions from people all around the globe. Interviews with media in the Middle East, Australia, UK, wider Europe, India, Nepal, Nigeria… and even as far afield as Japan. Moustafa was being talked about in the international press, in online forums, magazines, TV shows… and alongside the well-wishing fans, what also came was a barrage of unexpected negative accusations and much commentary from both within the bodybuilding world and outside.
Just as with many of the greatest mavericks from history, the incredible nature of Mo’s achievements or aesthetic became secondary to the gossip and accusations and for many understandable reasons. What was being ignored was how Moustafa Ismail could in fact be quite the inspiration to us all. His story of how he left his close-knit loved ones in his home country of Egypt in order to pursue a dream that had been supported by both close friends and family members for quite some time. What was also being ignored were the daily feelings of sadness that Mo experienced as news of the social and political situations unfolded in the home country he left behind. Where once his family were successful, proud and self-reliant, they had been left struggling and depressed from the turmoil of the political uprisings.
Mo worked upto 12 hours plus per day without any days off in order to provide financially for himself, his wife, his newly adopted daughter, and also his struggling family back home. What kept him focussed and motivated throughout were his solitary moments in the gym. He received no financial assistance in order to fund the carefully selected sports supplements that he purchased from his local GNC retailer or the membership fees to use the gym daily. There were no sponsorships to help him compete in local or national competitions, and no endorsements to ease the pressures and responsibilities he had rightly faced up to without any fear, without any complaints and certainly without resentments. It is also worth noting that Mo has never trained to achieve any world records and it was the officials from the said world record authorities who themselves travelled to the USA in order to officially verify the world record.
The question that was raised by many was how can one man achieve such large arms without cheating?! How can the most popular authority on world records acknowledge someone who the world is now (falsely) accusing of cheating? Moustafa answered all the questions posed to him with his natural warmth, honesty and good humour. People wanted to know what he ate, and so he told them. People asked how his arms were so big and why his forearms appeared so small. He attempted to explain in his own words. People asked about the training regime, about illegal steroids use, and also wondered if there was some kind of hidden secret which Mo was concealing about his 10 year training history and regime. And the comments kept on increasing and the accusations kept on escalating.
In mid October 2012, one month after being officially unveiled as a World Record holder; an invitation then came from Japan to meet with a specialist medical team to make Big Mo undergo tests and examinations in order to best respond to cynical critics. He accepted on the basis that as opposed to responding to critics with more words and more explanations, this would be the best evidence he could provide. And so the trip to Japan was arranged.
In Japan the reactions of the people who met Mo were no different to anywhere else. Despite even the language barriers (English is hardly spoken by anyone in Japan!) people were gathering in the streets to take photos with Mo, and many even recognized him from the World Record news reports in September. Young kids were left in awe, and both young and old folks smiled as they stared at the large stature of Mo. His infectious smile further encouraged people to engage and make comments and on a day trip walking through the hustle and bustling streets of Central Shibuya in Tokyo, large crowds mobbed Mo in the streets to get a photo with him.
News about Big Mo arriving in Japan had reached the producers of one of the biggest Japanese TV networks who then decided to film the whole process of Mo meeting members of the public and also meeting with medical specialists and professional physiology experts to get a close inspection of whether Mo had implants in his arms, or whether there were any signs of cheating or misdemeanour. With nothing to hide, or prove, Mo obliged and the results speak for themselves.
No signs of intravenous tampering were found, and no irregularity was concluded. The experts and specialists ended all examinations and testing by themselves also requesting to take pictures with the incredibly friendly and relaxed World Record holder. Friends and family of the Japanese medical team all huddled and gasped in amazement as tests proved the innocence of Moustafa Ismail, putting to rest in the best way possible all of the rumours and gossip. The results were broadcast on Japanese TV and specifically for this purpose.
Mo is now left with his very own questions which the world have encouraged him to ask. Why have so many people worldwide not asked about his incredible back-story? Why has he had to go through rigorous medical tests in order to prove his innocence? Why is everyone even so bothered by the fact that through hard work, dedication, determination and fate, the largest authority of world records around the world has awarded him a record? Why is it that acclaimed bodybuilders who have been known to use illegal methods and enhancements have never received the same level of accusations as he has received himself? Why also, is there no one else on planet earth who has naturally achieved the same results as he himself?
Mo comes from a family of naturally large-framed men. His mother, surprisingly is of smaller stature, but on his fathers side they are larger than the average male, and in fact his father and many of his uncles and cousins are both former and currently competing professional wrestlers and sports enthusiasts. It was the advice of his humble father himself that encouraged Moustafa to agree to be tested medically and respond to any criticisms with dignity and pride in himself and the truth.
Whilst in the middle of the medical tests in Japan, which was also filmed live in front of a TV audience, Moustafa sat and absorbed the attention he was getting in a foreign city, from people who didn’t speak a word of English and were unable to communicate without an interpreter, and all as a result of a certain World Records authority unveiling him for the promotions of their annual book. He does not regret agreeing to be part of the book promotions and certainly does not regret the attention he is receiving daily from all around the world for TV appearances, radio interviews, and the increasing offers of training sponsorship and support in order to continue on his path towards making history in the world of natural bodybuilding.
During one moment of the filming Mo remembered when he was back home living with his family in Alexandria, Egypt just under 10 years ago. His mum was the one person who always believed in his abilities, his talents and his strong determination to succeed. It was his mothers’ support and belief in Mo that acted as the very early catalyst that has lead him all the way to Japan and now as the highly deserving member of the World Records family of achievers worldwide.
To this day, and despite a number of medical examinations Mo’s innocence has not been verified officially, and despite no signs of cheating or trickery being proven there is still much speculation and a number of questions that remain unanswered. But for us, we have seen past the huge arms that get him attention everywhere he goes, and we most noticed the look in the eyes of Moustafa Ismail… we see a man on a mission. A mission to achieve, to be given the chance to shine, to be accepted for daring to be different, and possessing a strong ability and desire to prove to the world that each and every one of us in the modern age of today is worthy and capable of being truly Incredible.
So far the critics from the bodybuilding fraternities have and most likely will not accept that a man from outside their domain, and one that has not been sponsored or supported by any corporate brands or business models can even come close to achieving what Mo has achieved and cynicism is to be expected ongoing.
The underlying mission however has always remained to invoke a sense of inspiration and motivation to everyone who meets or hears about Big Mo… and there are some equally BIG plans to do as much good as can be possible through his remarkable profile and aesthetics. The World Record achievement at such an early phase of his journey quite clearly is just the start for Big Mo…
For contact with Big Mo or for any enquiries click here: BIG MO ISMAIL WEBSITE
PHOTO CREDITS: #thisisguavo Media / Mo Ismail
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