by Arthur Jones
From IronMan, February 1971 Volume 30 Number 3, visit www.ironmanmagazine.com
When I saw Franco Colombo for the first time, at the Mr.Olympia contest in New York in 1969, I was
strongly reminded of the dolls that children used to make out of a potato, with toothpicks for arms and legs.
The extreme bulk of his shoulder girdle literally dwarfed the arms; while the arms were actually quite large
for a man of his height, they appeared far too small when compared to his shoulders and chest.
Later, at the time of the Mr. America contest in Los Angeles, last June, I met and talked with Franco at
length, and he freely admitted that a lack of proportionate arm size was his greatest physical shortcoming.
About five months later, at home in DeLand, Florida, it came to pass that I was afforded an opportunity to
attempt to do something in the direction of helping Franco with his arm problem. And on the night of
November 24, 1970, things started to happen.
In front of witnesses, I personally measured Franco's arms with a perfectly accurate, paper thin tape, which
was there, and then compared with a steel tape in order to assure total accuracy. Measurements were made
with the arms "cold" -- at right angles to the bone, on the first flex.
Then in a period of approximately twenty minutes, Franco performed a total of ten sets for his arms; five
sets on a Nautilus Curling machine and five sets on a Nautilus Triceps machine, alternately, almost nonstop,
with every set being carried to the point of failure following a maximum possible effort, and with several
people urging Franco on to ever-greater efforts.
Then we measured his arms again, "pumped." And I could hardly believe the results indicated by the tape;
his arms were pumped a full one and five sixteenths, inches (15/16"), by far the greatest degree of pump
that I had ever measured.
Several hours later, near midnight, Franco called me from the motel where he was staying, ". . . Arthur,
bring the tape, my arms are still over 18."
I didn't go, but it took me half an hour to talk him out of it.
The following day, the "cold" measurement of his arms was three eighths of an inch ( 3/8 ") larger than it
had been twenty four hours earlier. Still pumped? Actual growth? Simply swollen? I don't know, but they
were certainly larger than they had been.
Since Franco was returning to California early the following day and since we wanted to get some pictures,
I agreed to let him try to pump his arms again; actually, that soon after such a hard workout, I was quite
surprised by the results. Little, or actually no, degree of pump was what I was really expecting. But the
actual results? Well, judge for yourself from the photo above.
First look at the photo of the literally enormous arm of Casey Viator, who, beyond any question of doubt,
has the largest appearing muscular arms in the world, by far.
Casey is four inches taller than Franco, and on this day be weighed 41 pounds more than Franco, and his
upper arms (measured "cold" in both cases) were exactly two and three eighths inches (2 3/8") larger than
Franco's; yet, in this picture it is obvious that Franco had pumped his arms very close to the size of Casey's.
And just how much did they pump on this occasion?
You simply wouldn't believe it, but Franco doesn't look quite so much like a potato with toothpicks for arms
any longer either. And in any case, we are shipping him an arm machine this week.
Scratch one arm problem.