May 12, 2018

Richard Sandrak, the Strongest Boy in the World

Born in 1992 in the Ukraine, to fitness enthusiasts Pavel and Lena Sandrak, Richard Sandrak began working out at age three.  By 2000, when he was eight years old, he had a personal trainer, and was bench pressing 210 pounds -- twice his body weight.  In bodybuilding lingo, he was "ripped."  Thinking that there was money to be made from their "Little Hercules," his parents moved to California and got him a professional manager, Frank Giardini.

There were no bodybuilding competitions for children of that age, but Richard appeared as a guest poser at many adult competitions, and got to know many of the bodybuilding greats, including Schwarzenegger, Hogan, and Ferrigno.  He took to the talk-show circut, and received extensive coverage in the mainstream media.

Not all of the media attention was positive.

Some people were repelled and disgusted by the sight of "freakish" muscles on a child.

Physicians worried that the stress of heavy weights could injure the boy, resulting in health complications later. 

His parents were criticized, even accused of child abuse, for putting him on display as an object of pedophile desire, like the parents who tart-up their preteen daughters for baby beauty contests.

Especially Pavel, who was supervising the 6-hour a day regiments and preventing his son from engaging in any ordinary childhood activities, like going to school and having friends.  In 2003, When Giardini criticized his over-aggressive training, Pavel responded with death threats.  Giardinia quit, and Richard had to find a new manager.

A short time later Pavel was imprisoned for assaulting Lena, leaving her with a broken wrist and a broken nose.

Richard was only 11 year old, bu the glamour of being "The World's Strongest Boy" had dimmed.  He cut off all ties with his father, stopped working out, except when it was necessary for a part, and tried his hand at acting: Little Hercules in 3-D (2009), The Legends of Nethiah (2012), Assassin Priest (2012).

Here he meets two stars of the Disney Channel teencom The Wizards of Waverly Place.

Today Sandrak, age 27, works as a stuntman at Universal Studios Hollywood.  He has an average physique, though he is still deeply invested in fitness, doing cardio and chin-ups.  He is working on some new videos that combat childhood obesity.

See also: The Strongest Boy in England


  1. I always assumed his parents pumped him full of "supplements", i.e. hormones. (Actually, you could probably market hormones as supplements, and face no FDA regulations just because you said it was a supplement. Don't like that? Write your Congressman.)

    Which I guess means he's not an object of pedophilia desire, if only because, thanks to his father's "supplements", he wasn't prepuberty.

    I always thought of him as a dancing bear.

    1. Anabolic steroids are on Schedule 3 in the U.S., so they can be sold by prescription only. THG (Human Growth Hormone) Androstenedione (Pro Hormone) were placed on the Schedule in 2004. You can get "Testosterone Boosters" in fitness centers, but they consist mostly of metabolism-enhancing herbs.

  2. Wow. I was just thinking about this guy yesterday and was wondering what had happened to him. I remember seeing a documentary about him when I was a kid. I think it was confirmed that his father had him on steroids. The documentary was trying to say that his physique changed to being a lot less muscular at age 12 because of a change in his diet. I am not one of those people that assumes everyone is on roids but I had to call bs on that.


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