Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1980 Mr. Olympia Rival Once Claimed the Bodybuilding Legend Spread False Rumors About Their Stage Conversation

Published 11/04/2022, 10:30 AM EDT

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Arnold Schwarzenegger has been known in the bodybuilding stage since the 1960s. Arnold won six Mr. Olympia titles between 1970 and 1975. He retired after the sixth victory to concentrate on his then-emerging acting career. His retirement meant the stage would get to see a new winner.

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But in 1980, Arnold decided to make a comeback to the sport. Surprising everyone, the champion returned to the stage, but unlike other times, this time, the reactions were mixed. While many were excited, others were hostile. Though Arnold secured his 7th title win, his picture with fellow-competitor Frank Zane grabbed the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

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Frank’s picture with Arnold became the topic of discussion

As the 1980 Mr. Olympia kick-started, Frank Zane found himself standing next to Arnold in the pre-judging round. Intrigued by his return, the competitor could not stop himself from asking the most obvious question. He enquired Arnold, “How does it feel competing after not being on stage for five years?”

In all honesty, Arnold replied, “It’s really hard.” The reply cracked Frank up; before going for the ‘most muscular pose,’ the bodybuilder spared some moments for a laugh. The moment was caught in the lens. Soon the picture where Frank is laughing next to Arnold became the talk of the time. The said picture also appeared in ‘Arnold Encyclopedia’ with the caption, “Arnold tells Zane a joke during the Olympia competition, so he’d break his concentration and laugh.”

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But the reality stood otherwise. Frank, in his blog, gave away the story behind the iconic-controversial picture. Sharing the truth, he added, “no one would know the difference until now.” Arnold eventually clinched his seventh win that year.

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1980: A poignant year for Arnold Schwarzenegger and bodybuilding

When Arnold walked onto the stage, the crowd cheered for him and showed their approval for the ‘Austrian Oak.’ His return was unexpected for the competitors and an even bigger shock for the crowd. Though they enjoyed his stage presence, they did not expect his win.

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Thus, when Arnold was announced the Mr. Olympia winner in 1980, the audience booed, and the competitors walked off the stage. Some even retired from the sport. While competitors and fans were outraged, the competition forever changed the trajectory and perception of the sport.

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Watch This Story: Five Years Younger to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Lou Ferrigno Looking Like a Beast Next to the Terminator Left Fans Amazed Once

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Written by:

Mubhaswara Ahamed

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Mubhaswara Ahamed is currently working as a US Sports Author for Essentially Sports. She completed her Grad degree in English Literature from Calcutta University. Mubhaswara was introduced to the world of sports by her father.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa

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