It is a long way from Sardinia to Southern California, and no one knows this better than Franco Columbu, who arose from humble beginnings on the Italian island of Sardinia where people live in much the same way as they have for centuries. His successes as a boxing champion, international bodybuilding superstar, entrepreneur, author, Doctor of Chiropractic, and most recently actor and film producer, are deeply rooted in his Catholic upbringing and the strong work ethic which he learned as a young shepherd and farmer in Ollalai, in the primitive inland mountain region of Sardinia.
Franco has won every important title in bodybuilding and power lifting, an extraordinary achievement. He is a two-time Mr. Olympia, the most prestigious and lucrative title in bodybuilding, and has been Mr. Universe and Mr. World, among others. Even more amazing is the fact that he won his second Mr. Olympia at the age of 40, while completing his studies to become a chiropractor and five years after he had completely dislocated his knee in competition.
His power lifting World Records include: Bench Press 525 lbs., Squat 655 lbs., and Dead Lift 750 lbs. In April 1979, Franco even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest lung power. He was able to blow up a hot water bottle until it burst in just 55 seconds using only sheer lung power (that is 28.5 lbs/square inch)!
Franco’s film appearances include the documentary “Pumping Iron”, “Stay Hungry”, “Conan the Barbarian” and “Terminator.” On television, he was technical advisor for and appeared in the CBS-TV movie “Getting Physical.” He has also been featured in several national TV and print commercials, as well as numerous guest appearances and television shows.
The most recent films under Franco Columbu Productions are: “Beretta’s Island,” which is a great success in many countries; “Doublecross,” which has been released in many foreign countries, and “Ancient Warriors,” a feature film that reveals historical, spiritual and contemporary places never seen before on the Island of Sardinia. He also produced and directed “Sardinia, The Greatest Isle of the Sea,” an award-winning documentary about his homeland. A series of other documentaries about Sardinia are also in production.
Franco graduated from Chiropractic College in 1977. He has been the recipient of several honors and awards throughout the years including:
- Induction into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1983
- Received a Certificate of Merit from the IFBB in 1985
- Awarded the highest civilian honor of merit – the merit of Ufficiale – by Francesco Cossiga, the President of Italy, on August 25, 1988
- Received the FBB Achievement Medal Award in October 2004
- Inducted into the Worlds Gym Hall of Fame in 2006
- Received the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award in 2007
- Received an award from the ICA for “Special service to the chiropractic profession and the world of fitness” in 2009
- Awarded Arnold’s Classic Lifetime Achievement Award on March 7, 2009
Titles Won in Bodybuilding:
Titles Won in Powerlifting:
Champion of Italy
Champion of Germany
Champion of Europe
World Records in Powerlifting:
Bench Press 525 lbs.
Squat 655 lbs.
Deadlift 750 lbs.
Records in Weightlifting:
Olympic Press 325 lbs.
Snatch 270 lbs.
Clean and Jerk 400 lbs.
Boxing: Amateur Boxing Champion