The interview below was conducted between Matt Weik of Weik Fitness, LLC and Jea Jung, the Founder of Super League.
Thank you for the time, Jea, I know you’re a busy man. Can you tell us a little bit about the Super League, how long it took to create, and what caused you to want to form this league?
“I’m happy to take the time, thanks for reaching out.
First of all, how long to create – 25 years or 4 months, depending on how you look at it. Spending all of my life as either/both an athlete/fan of bodybuilding, 25 years of wishing it were better, but 4 months of action to make it better. The concept of Super League started as a thought on a recent sleepless night. As I peeled the layers back, each one representing something that sucks about being a competitor or something that sucks about being a fan watching a competition, I deconstructed the process piece by piece, and reconstructed what I think is a better machine for both.”
What type of athletes/competitors are you hoping to bring into Super League?
“I still am, and will always be, a fan of bodybuilding. The extreme physique. But I believe very strongly that the way bodybuilders are forced to deplete and dehydrate, for the purposes of looking good on a huge stage under bright lights, does not represent a bodybuilder at their best. One of the original conversations I had in regards to this concept was with Dorian Yates. We all remember the black and whites in FLEX Magazine that shocked the world. I wanted to know – how many weeks out were you in those pictures, and how strong were you in the gym? He told me ‘Six weeks out, and I was still pushing 95% of my offseason weights in the gym’. Now this is something that the world has never really seen, but needs to see to fully understand how awesome these athletes really are. Can you imagine witnessing Dorian’s physique, in that condition and under the stress of maximum weights with maximum effort? There is no way to compare that to a water deprived, spray tanned guy flexing on stage. It’s not even close. We want bodybuilders, but we want them at their best doing what they’re best at. If you add a competitive element (which not all have when it comes to effort in the gym), it will be unlike anything else we’ve ever seen.”
Each competitor will go through two rounds in order to get a final score and placing. Can you tell us a little bit about these rounds and how they came about?
“We had to reverse engineer from what we were seeking as a final product – pure metrics. To best measure that from an output standpoint, from a bodybuilding science standpoint, and from an entertainment standpoint, this was the most difficult part. And you can safely assume it has not seen its final iteration. From a physique measurement standpoint, we had to invent something that hasn’t been addressed since Steve Reeves asserted that the perfect physique is when your neck, arms, and calves are the same circumference. True story – I was just talking to my 21 year old employee this past weekend and he cited that ratio as the only standard he’s ever heard of. Why hasn’t anyone put numbers to this since the 1950’s? So we created the three ratios, the ‘Deltas’. Maybe it was just meant to be, but when I applied these ratios to all of the Mr. Olympias in history, Dorian was the only one to get a perfect score. It’s such a fundamental component of the quest for the ideal, the numbers. Somebody just had to finish what Steve Reeves started.”
I like what you’re doing with Super League by taking out the opinions, biases, and personal interpretations of the sport. It creates a truly transparent scoring system where no one can look back and think there may have been some politics involved in the placings. Did you create this system because you felt as if the current scoring systems we see in the sport has flaws?
“The current system is completely fine in the current context. As art. Art appreciation, which involves the acts of admiring, interpreting, and sometimes debating. But the problem is when an individual claims it’s a sport, usually because that individual wants to be viewed as an athlete as opposed to an artist. It’s actually more of an identity crisis of the participants than a systemic ‘flaw’ so to speak.”
The Super League website shows a competition will be held in Las Vegas on July 29, 2017. How many competitions are you envisioning taking place each year leading up to a championship?
“We want to keep the production value high, so we’ll be selective about who and how many are involved in the larger events. But since we own a permanent arena in Las Vegas specifically for these athletes, athletes can come to Las Vegas anytime and post a score.”
If you could describe Super League in one word, what would it be?
“Super-Humans. Technically two words I guess.”
Where can people find more information about Super League?
*Questions in BOLD were asked by Matt Weik of Weik Fitness, LLC
*Text in quotes were responses by Jea Jung, Founder of Super League