Back in the early 2000s, an eight-year-old boy took the world by storm with a body unlike any other among his peers. He shocked people with his ripped and intimidating muscles that looked like they belonged to a pro bodybuilder. His name is Richard Sandrak, dubbed as “Little Hercules” and “The World’s Strongest Boy.” But if you remember him, you might be wondering, where is he now?
What Happened to Little Hercules?
Fast forward 20 years later, and Richard Sandrak is all grown up. His transformation is stunning but not exactly in a way everyone would imagine the kid bodybuilder to be. Some time after getting the attention of the world, his name went under the radar because of serious life events. Now in 2022, at 29 years old, Richard has no more interest in bodybuilding. His physique doesn’t show any signs of his past anymore.
Why He Left Bodybuilding – Pressure From a Young Age
Richard is the son of two physically oriented parents Pavel Sandrak, a former Taekwondo world champion, and Lena Sandrak, an aerobics instructor. However, genetics is not the main reason why he had such a unique body for a young boy.
Most people spend their toddler years doing silly things like playing house and eating candy. But not Richard. These years were when he was introduced to working out by his mom and dad. And his routine was intense. By the time he was six, he could lift 82 kilograms without breaking a sweat.
Even though at 15, he stated that he did extreme physical training for fun and on his own accord, there’s no denying the fact that he was given a strict diet as a child. At nine years old, he never even knew what pizza tastes like.
Living with an Abusive Father
Pavel was an abusive husband who was imprisoned for hurting his wife when their son was only 11 years old. Richard was the one who called the police to save his mother and prevent further violence. After this experience, he no longer had contact with his father.
Some speculated that Pavel had hit Richard, but this was never confirmed. In an interview, Lena stated that Pavel never got physically abusive with their son. Still, some of the child’s exercises were very harsh. This includes sleeping on the ground to strengthen his posture.
Sandrak’s enormous muscles were even rumored to be the result of more than just hard work. Health experts questioned the kid’s ability to achieve such a body at such a young age without the use of steroids. Again, Lena denied this speculation.
After all his childhood struggles, it’s no wonder that Richard decided to drop the title of Little Hercules. He said in an interview with Inside Edition that lifting weights “got boring” after his father went to prison.
Sandrak landed a job at Universal Studios Waterworld after leaving his bodybuilding days behind. He is now living a normal life as a stuntman who chases a dream of being a quantum scientist and maybe even a NASA engineer.