A young Arnold Schwarzenegger dominated the bodybuilding world, and his name and achievement remain iconic today.
Although many people know Arnold for his career as a movie star, the iconic star first rose to prominence as a bodybuilder. As a child, Arnold’s father Gustav ridiculed him for his dream fo becoming a bodybuilder. Instead, Gustav favored Arnold’s older brother Meinhard over his less athletic son.
However, as a child, Arnold found solace in watching movies and soon found a role model in Reg Park. At the time, Reg Park, a bodybuilder, also starred in various B-level Hercules movies. After Arnold saw this, he became determined to one day move to America and follow in Reg Park’s footsteps.
In 1960, at just 14, Arnold chose a bodybuilding career over soccer after his soccer coach took him to a local gym. A year later, Arnold started weightlifting with Dan Farmer. Then, in 1965, he served in the Austrian army to fulfill his one year of service. During this time, Arnold won the Junior Mr. Europe contest.
Although being in the military at that time prohibited him from participating in the competition, Arnold went and won. Still, he had to spend a week in the military prison when he returned. Afterward, he won another bodybuilding contest in Graz at Steirer Hof Hotel. At the event, he got named the best-built man in Europe.
Winning The Mr. Universe Contest.
After success at various junior and continent-level competitions, Arnold dreamt of achieving more success. Also, to make his American dream come true, Arnold knew he had to compete and win the NABBA Mr. Universe competition. So in 1966, he got on a plane to compete at the event in London.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Arnold only came second behind the eventual winner Chester Yorton. However, while competing at the event, one of the judges, Charles “Wag” Bennett, noticed how impressive Arnold looked. After the event, Charles offered to coach Arnold for the next installment of the competition.
However, when he realized Arnold had little money, he invited the promising young star to his family home above one of his two gyms in Forest Gate, London, England. There, Charles trained Arnold by concentrating on improving the muscle definition and power in his legs. Chester defeated him solely for those reasons, and they worked to correct it.
During this time, Arnold met his idol Reg Park, and the two became friends. Everything looked set for him to win the next Mr. Universe competition, and Arnold did exactly that. In 1967, Arnold won his first Mr. Universe title at just the age of 20, becoming the youngest-ever champion. However, after that, Arnold’s most impressive feat was replicating the success three more times.
Winning Mr. Olympia at age 23
In order to successfully dominate the bodybuilding world, Arnold needed the “Mr. Olympia” status. He made his first attempt in 1969, but three-time champion Sergio Oliva defeated him. However, he returned to the tournament in 1970 and won the competition.
He holds the record for being the youngest Mr. Olympia at 23. From 1971 to 1974, he maintained his winning streak. When it came to 1975, Arnold was in peak form once more and defeated Franco Columbu to win the title for the sixth time in a row, and he continues to hold the record up to this day despite his retirement from the profession.
Arnold Is Still Popular in the Bodybuilding Industry
For many years, he penned a monthly column for the bodybuilding publications Muscle & Fitness flex. In addition, Arnold keeps up his exercise routine. During the 2011 Arnold Classic, Arnold disclosed that he was still exercising with weights for a half-hour each day.
Long after his retirement, Arnold Schwarzenegger has continued to be a well-known figure in the bodybuilding industry; due to his ownership of clubs and fitness magazines, he has presided over many competitions and award ceremonies.