Lisa Lyon was one of the great heroines of the bodybuilding world, a world in mourning after her death at the age of 70.
The athlete died of stomach cancer at her home in the San Fernando Valley, according to TMZ.
In fact, the news came just days after her illness was made public. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was one of her great friends, spoke to the press after learning of the fatal outcome, and did so with visible sadness. “She’s the best, I adore her,” he said.
But Lyon will go down in the history books because she was a trailblazing athlete who came to revolutionise the world of bodybuilding and show that women could also make their way in the discipline.
She showed that, although historically it had always been dominated by men, she could do it with the same intensity and excellence.
Lisa Lyon, pioneer of women’s bodybuilding, passes away
In 1979 she won the first of the International Federation of Bodybuilding’s Women’s Professional Bodybuilding World Championships. That was her leap to fame, because not only was it a victory she took for herself, but it also proved that women could be empowered in the sport.
Outside the world of bodybuilding, she also posed for Playboy, something that surprised everyone, but was also very well received. After that, she started to appear in more health and fitness publications and also spoke on television.
It was in 2000 that she was immortalised in the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. She was defined, at the time, as “a one-woman media relations activist”.