Real Stories

Remember Little Hercules, the World’s Strongest Boy? This is Him Now

In the early 2000s, the world was obsessed with a little boy named Richard Sandrak.

Originally from Ukraine, Richard had brown hair, an adorable smile, and an insane physique that made Marky Mark look like a potato. This little boy was RIPPED. Not an ounce of body fat, just pure, solid muscle which was pretty insane considering the wasn’t even in the double digits yet.

Little Hercules as a child
Source: Facebook

The media dubbed him Little Hercules and he became a world sensation – a child bodybuilder who could out bench most grown men. He appeared on TV and in magazines and was considered The World’s Strongest Boy.

At just six years old, Richard was bench pressing 180 lbs (82 kg). At eight years old, he had moved up to 210 lbs (95 kgs).

He was also doing 600 pushups, 600 situps and 300 squats a day, all next to his father, Pavel Sandrak. Pavel was a world martial arts champion and Richard’s mum, Lena Sandrak was an aerobatics competitor. So, naturally, this kid is going to be athletic!

How it all began

Richard Sandrak moved from Ukraine to the USA when he was two and this is when he started to train – lightweight exercises and some martial arts.

Richard recalls never being forced to work out, at least at first – it was just something he saw his parents doing and he wanted to join in.

Little Hercules now and then
Source: Facebook

However, as Richard started to get stronger and stronger, his parents hired Frank Giardina, a trainer to help promote their son. And thus, Little Hercules was born. Richard admits he wasn’t allowed to eat sweets and reportedly trained six or seven hours a day and it was revealed he did not attend school but was instead homeschooled.

Richard has admitted that he didn’t get much of a childhood because his dad was too controlling. However, he has also stated in previous interviews that he did enjoy working out.

It was mostly my choice. It’s just what I grew up doing. I was never forced. It was never an issue.”

Fame and fortune

Richard then began to travel across the country. He participated in competitions, promotions for nutrition products and photo shoots. He also appeared on several TV and radio shows and eventually starred in The World’s Strongest Boy in 2004.

In 2009 he also starred alongside Hulk Hogan in Little Hercules in 3D. I’ve never seen it, but it looks truly terrible and comes with a 1-star rating on IMDB.

mum central
Source: Facebook

However, around the age of 11, the cracks started to form. The first issue was that Richard’s body was INTENSE. Probably too intense for a boy who has not gone through puberty and thus the questions about steroids started to appear. Richard’s mum denied that his son ever used such substances.

It was around this time that Richard’s trainer also quit as he felt Richard’s dad Pavel was dangerous. Pavel reportedly threatened to kill Giardina and was later imprisoned for physically assaulting his wife, Lena. Richard witnessed the whole thing and called the police.

After that, Richard decided he didn’t really want to be a bodybuilder anymore. However, he continued to train, just for himself.

How’s it going now 

Richard is now 30 years old and keeps a very low profile. He’s done a few interviews in the past where he claimed he doesn’t lift weights anymore. Instead, he sets himself on fire as a stuntman in Hollywood. Running through flames and falling off 50ft buildings is just part of the daily fun now.

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Richard from an interview in 2015. Source: Inside Edition

He also told media outlets that he hopes to become an engineer for NASA.

I’m very proud of my past. It’s not something I don’t want people to know, it’s just that I’m not going to be stuck living in it,” he told Inside Edition.

He’s on Instagram but doesn’t post a whole heck of a lot. He posts pictures of hiking, snowboarding and concerts. In one flashback photo of Little Hercules, he admits that “he stopped being a meathead, that’s what happened” when a fan asked him what happened to him.

Richard Sandrak now
Source: Instagram

Whatever the case, it looks like Little Hercules has officially put down the weights and moved out of the spotlight.

What to read next

If you’re after even more celebrity news that is bound to make you feel a million years old, check out the dozens of children the Hanson boys have now! 

You may recall Octomom? She’s made a beautiful new life for herself and her 14 kids – see What Octomom and Her Babies Look Like Now.

Take another trip down memory lane with these famous young parents. These are the young dads and young mums that made headlines years ago and where they are now.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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