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Arnold Schwarzenegger 1980 Mr. Olympia

Posted by: Ray

September 8th, 1980 . . . the world's elite bodybuilder's are gathered together in a room in Sydney, Australia. Men like Roy Callender, Tom Platz and Mike Mentzer are in the shape of their lives. For a solid year they have been training for the competition that is now just a day away. And now, at the official signing in for the 1980 Mr Olympia, they are feeling edgy and nervous. As each competitor's name is called he steps forward to collect his competition number. Defending champ Frank Zane gets number 11. Mentzer gets 7. A confident looking Chris Dickerson picks up the number 5 spot. Finally all 15 competitors have their numbers. But wait - IFBB President Ben Weider hasn't finished yet - there is still one more name to read out -"competing in place number thirteen, Arnold Schwarzenegger".

From the back of the room he steps forward. The other bodybuilder's had forgotten that he was even present. They'd all thought Arnold was here to do the commentary for NBC TV. Startled heads turn to stare at the retired legend as he saunters past to collect his number. Mike Mentzer, who has been engaging in an ongoing magazine article feud with Arnold, voices a protest. Arnold ignores it. Collecting his number he quickly exits the room, leaving the confused bunch in his wake. He heads to his room and prepares for the battle . . .

Arnold was in good shape. He'd been in heavy training for his breakthrough role as Conan the Barbarian. At World Gym in Venice, guys had told him that he should compete, that he could come back and blow away these newcomers - these pretenders to the throne. Though he'd mocked such suggestions, Arnold had still taken them in. Bodybuilding had changed over the last five years. Physiques were bigger - more refined. There were more quality competitors with awesome looking bodies. How would he match up now, he wondered. Could he still blow them all away? Was he still the best? Openly Arnold emphasized that he was a movie actor now, but silently he began to formulate a plan. . . he would go to Sydney and let them think he was doing TV commentary. But he would be in the shape of his life and, after the dust cleared, he would walk away with his seventh Mr Olympia crown.

At the prejudging Arnold received a shock. No longer was he the dominant physical force on stage. Tom Platz, Roy Callender and Mike Mentzer, to mention just a few, were on par with him - he was realistic enough to acknowledge that. But Arnold had never solely relied on his body to get him through. And, if ever there a time when he needed to out psyche his competition, this was it. He wasted no time in getting down to business. Arnold was called out in a comparison with Frank Zane. Zane had won the Olympia for the last three years and was in great shape. Standing alongside him, Arnold couldn't help but remember that other night, 11 years ago, when Zane had defeated Arnold for the IFBB Mr Universe title. As the two men strained to show the detail of a rear double biceps pose, Arnold leaned across to Zane and whispered a quick joke in his ear. The result? Zane began to laugh and was unable to hold his poses. Arnold won the comparisons easily.

Backstage Arnold began working on the rest of the competition. All too ware of Mike Mentzer's volatility he confronted the man and told him that he had looked fat on stage - that he had badly missed his peak. Mentzer, naturally, saw red and lunged at Arnold. The other competitors had to restrain him. Arnold simply smiled and wandered off, his job done. The same scenario was repeated with other competitors - Arnold, their hero and inspiration, throwing them tidbits of advice and condescending comments specifically designed to throw them off their game. By the time of the night show Arnold had managed to wreak havoc with the minds of most of his fellow Olympians.

Still, Arnold knew that this was not going to be a cake walk. His faithful advisors, Franco Columbu and Joe Gold, had enough sense to tell him that he needed to pull out all the stops on stage if he was going to come off victorious. He posed his heart out at the night show. When the top five were called out, the crowd was surprised that Arnold remained. Loud boos echoed throught the Sydney Opera House as Mike Mentzer was awarded 5th place. The judges couldn't be serious. To Mentzer this result was so ludicrous that he could only laugh. Boyer Coe in 4th pace reacted by smashing chairs against the wall backstage. Zane in 3rd place, smashed his trophy to a thousand pieces in the Opera House parking lot. And runner up Chris Dickerson, accepted the result with an 'Oh, no', and disappeared into the night. Arnold was bemused by the whole thing. He clutched his 7th Mr Olympia trophy and held it aloft as 40% of the crowd booed him.

The repercussions of that night still echo around muscledom. The howls of protest went up immediately. The other competitors had been robbed! Arnold wasn't even top six material? The judging was rigged? Mike Mentzer resumed his magazine campaign against Arnold with a vengeance. And how did Arnold himself feel about it all? Well, a few months after the event he was reported as saying - "in 20 years time all the fuss will have died down, but I'll still have 7 Mr Olympia titles."


(1) Arnold Schwarzenegger
(2) Chris Dickerson
(3) Frank Zane
(4) Boyer Coe
(5) Mike Mentzer
(6) Roger Walker
(7) Roy Callender
(8) Dennis Tinnerino
(9) Tom Platz
(10) Danny Padilla
(11) Ed Corney
(12) Tony Emmott
(13) Roy Duval
(14) Casey Viator
(15) Samir Bannout
(16) Ken Waller

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