“We Gave Them a Lifetime Guarantee”: 3 Years Before Losing His Best Friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger Decided to Refurbish a Wall They Built in 1971

Published 08/25/2023, 11:00 AM EDT

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Arnold Schwarzenegger lost his best friend and training partner, Franco Columbu, in 2019. The tragic and sudden passing devastated the seven-time Mr. Olympia, who had met Franco Columbu even before coming to America. The pair once participated in a bodybuilding contest in Germany in the 60s. From bodybuilding to cinema, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu remained inseparable.

While the best friends enjoyed their success on the bodybuilding stage, they also helped one another in their struggle. In 1986, neither Arnie nor the Italian had much to their name. So they went into business together. The pair used their skills to create a construction company and worked across L.A. for three years before passing away. Arnie and Columbu made a video where they visited one of the walls they had built in the 60s.

A wall that needed “minor” repairs 45 years later

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In 2016, Arnold Schwarzenegger uploaded a video on YouTube to celebrate 50 years of friendship with Franco Columbu. In the video, the two former champions celebrated their friendship with a workout at Gold’s Gym. The video started with them taking a bike ride to Gold’s Gym.

While it acted as a warmup and cardio session before their session at the gym, they took a detour on the way to the gym. The duo stopped their bikes in front of a wall, and Schwarzenegger revealed they had built it in 1971. “So we’re talking about 45 years ago… It’s still standing,” said the Austrian Oak, proud of the quality of their work. However, he spotted a problem.

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“We gave them a lifetime guarantee… I see some problems up here Franco,” added Schwarzenegger. While the two-time Mr. Olympia winner said it was a “minor problem,” Arnie had another idea. “I think we have to come back and fix it. So I think next week we go get the wheelbarrow, I’m gonna mix the cement,” he said. While Franco said he’d fix it, he also joked that they won’t get paid for their work. 

“Because it’s a warranty. It’s under warranty,” Schwarzenegger told Columbu before leaving the place. The rest of the video showed their workout session as they recounted their glory days.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu’s joint Mr. Olympia win

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Among the most glorious moments in their bodybuilding career was their joint victory at the 1975, Mr. Olympia. Before Arnie made his surprise return in 1980, Mr. Olympia, ’75, was supposed to be his last. Despite the tough competition from Lou Ferrigno and Serge Nubret, Arnie won the heavyweight class.

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Similarly, Ed Corney gave Columbu a run for his money, but Columbu won the Olympia title in the lightweight class. In the finals, Columbu and his best friend went head to head for the overall title. While Schwarzenegger won, it didn’t detract from Columbu’s achievement.

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Schwarzenegger didn’t give an update if they did repair the wall. However, the fact that it stood nearly intact after 45 years proves they poured their hearts into whatever they did.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a sports writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in American sports. He has a deep understanding of combat sports, gymnastics, and weightlifting. He holds a Master's Degree in English Literature from a top university.
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Edited by:

Parth Sharma