Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls His Mother-in-Law Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Priceless Advice That Made Weightlifting a Success in Special Olympics: “Why Don’t You Do It…”

Published 10/09/2023, 9:13 AM EDT

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76-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger has been giving back to the people and the environment for decades. The seven-time Mr. Olympia continues to donate to innumerable charities and causes. He even founded a climate initiative and an after-school program. Besides, Schwarzenegger regularly publishes his free fitness newsletter, which provides over 500,000 people with valuable fitness advice.

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Recently, the Hollywood action icon appeared on the Rich Roll podcast. During their conversation, Rich Roll asked the bodybuilder about his latest book. The 56-year-old asked how Schwarzenegger started with a “self-oriented… selfish pursuit” of achieving glory and evolved throughout his career into a person who constantly gives back to people. So, Schwarzenegger spoke about how the Special Olympics and his late mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, played a role and how it led to weightlifting becoming a part of the Special Olympics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger played a pivotal role in Special Olympics

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The 76-year-old fitness icon said that after winning six Mr. Olympia titles, he had become “the foremost authority in bodybuilding.” While achieving bodybuilding glory was something he had always dreamed of, it brought opportunities. The Special Olympics committee summoned Arnie and requested that he train special Olympians.

They told Schwarzenegger that the specially-abled kids were “intellectually challenged. They don’t have the best coordination. They often have problems doing sports.” However, the Special Olympics committee desired to study the effects of strength training on the kids. So Schwarzenegger found an opportunity to use his skills and help the kids. The Austrian Oak helped them train, and the results looked positive.

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That’s when Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver advised him to expand his efforts. She said weightlifting “could be very popular… Why don’t you do it in Baltimore? We have a meet coming up. Let’s try it in Baltimore,” Shriver told Schwarzenegger. After finding success in Baltimore, Arnie traveled across America promoting weightlifting, and soon it became part of the Special Olympics. Arnie became the national coach. This experience taught the Austrian Oak a valuable lesson.

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The joy of giving back

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While the bodybuilding icon felt a sense of accomplishment after conquering bodybuilding, he felt fulfilled after helping the special athletes. Touring America and teaching specially-abled children compounded the sense of fulfillment. Schwarzenegger realized the joy of giving back. However, he also learned that to give back, one has to achieve something.

During the podcast, Schwarzenegger said he could give back because he had built himself up to be in that position. The Special Olympics called him up because he was Mr. Olympia. Later, Arnie realized that the more he achieved, the more he could give back. So, as he became more successful, he began helping people through several avenues.

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Eunice Kenndy Shriver’s advice to Arnold Schwarzenegger helped make weightlifting a part of the Special Olympics. It also helped Arnie realize the joy of sharing his success.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a sports writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in Bodybuilding. 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:

Simar Singh Wadhwa

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