“Like an Adopted Son”: Real Reason Behind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Close Relationship With Joe Weider Finally Revealed by Bodybuilding Veteran Frank Zane

Published 12/12/2022, 8:00 AM EST

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In a recent interview, former Mr. Olympia Frank Zane revealed Why Joe Weider, the co-founder of the IFBB, had a close relationship with seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. Frank Zane won the Mr. Olympia contest from 1977 to 1979 and was also the only below 200 lbs bodybuilder to win the overall Mr. Olympia title three times in a row in the 70s.

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So what exactly made the two so close? Let’s find out.

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Why Joe Weider loved Arnold Schwarzenegger

During her interview with three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane, Lisa Alastuey asked Frank if he knew Joe Weider. Frank replied not just him but every bodybuilder in the 70s knew Joe. So Lisa asked the king of aesthetics what Joe would think of bodybuilders participating in Mr. Olympia today. “He was all for it… probably bodybuilding’s biggest fan,” said Frank.

via Getty

Frank also revealed why Joe would not be critical of today’s bodybuilders. The three-time champion said Joe liked the size element. “Arnold was like an adopted son. He loved Arnold because he was huge,” said Frank. The former Mr. Olympia also mentioned Joe liked Arnold’s “huge” arms. Arnold was among the biggest bodybuilders in the seventies.

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Zane also noted his lack of size was why Joe preferred Arnold more than him. In fact, Weider’s wife, Betty, talked Joe into liking Frank. The three-time Mr. Olympia disclosed that he made it on the cover of bodybuilding magazines and ads because of Betty. “I was the look for that. Not the big guys,” said the former champion.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane competed against one another on stage in 1980. Many still regard it as the most controversial year in the history of the Mr. Olympia contest. In 1980 Arnold returned after five years to beat defending champion Frank Zane. Arnold wasn’t in his prime. However, the Austrian Oak was much bigger than Zane.  

Zane talked about the “size factor” in bodybuilding

“The size factor is pretty much taken over in bodybuilding,” said the king of aesthetics. While people point out how massive modern bodybuilders have become, Zane said it was always like that. Zane said Lee Haney weighed more than Arnold. Dorian Yates, who came after Haney, was even bigger, while Ronnie Coleman was a mass monster.

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Zane said that the below 200 lbs class dominated the Mr. Olympia contest for a short period, from 1976 to 1983. During that period, bodybuilders like Frank Zane, Franco Columbu, Samir Bannout, and Chris Dickerson won Mr. Olympia.

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Watch this story – Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Andre The Giant: Who Is Stronger?

What do you think about Joe’s and Arnold’s relationship? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi

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Sagnik Bagchi is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. He has experience working as a freelance MMA writer for Sportskeeda.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa

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