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How Arnold Schwarzenegger Tricked Sergio Oliva

Posted by: Ray

Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime had a fantastic body. Yet, his most powerful bodypart throughout his domination of the world of muscledom during the 70's was one that no one else could see - his brain. As anyone who's seen PUMPING IRON can attest to, Arnold simply played havoc with the minds of his competitors, completely out psyching them before the first pose was even struck. One of the most blatant examples of this was at the 1970 Mr Olympia where Arnold came face to face with the one man who had a legitimate chance of defeating him - the massive Cuban exile who went by the name of Sergio Oliva. Let's let Arnold, himself, take up the story . . .

"At the 1970 Mr Olympia, the judges called Sergio Oliva and me together at the end of the evening for the last time. It was clear the scores were close, and I was wondering, What can I do to convince the judges it's not close, and that I'm ahead of him? I was not that convinced myself, but I had to psych myself up because he looked awesome. They called for us to free pose together. This was my last chance. It was now or never. We posed and posed. He'd hit a back shot;I'd hit a front lat spread. He'd come back with a thigh shot: I'd hit an arm shot. He'd throw in a side chest - all this stuff was flying around like crazy. Finally, Sergio leans over to me and says, "I'm wiped out. Let's walk off." I said, "You're right. This is too much." He waved goodbye to the crowd. I made one step to the right (as if to leave the stage) and Sergio walked offstage to the left. I stayed onstage and gestured in his direction (in the manner of asking) "Why is he leaving? Why is he surrendering? Is he maybe too old? Is he burned out? I hit some more shots, and the crowd was chanting, 'Arnold! Arnold! Arnold!' Then I bowed and walked off. If that did it or not, I never knew because the judges never commented on it. But I think that, besides being in great shape, that was the additional thing that swayed them. I became aware at that point in my career how quick improvisational tactics are crucial to winning a contest when it is so close." Source for Arnold quote: Flex magazine Dec 1995.

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