T Nation

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Truth

I know this is a touchy subject. Arnold is the golden child of the golden age of bodybuilding. He had an incredible physique, worked incredibly hard and brought renewed attention and fame to the world of weights.

What gets me is what came out of this guys mouth and how he acted towards his competition. He was very open about playing mind games with guys like Lou Ferrigno, and even seemed to appeal to the judges by pointing at how short guys like Columbu were who wouldn’t let him into their heads, if that was supposed to be an all around, I have no idea how Arnold beat him other than with his celebrity. I guess that is a specific about bodybuilding that isn’t present in Powerlifting or Olympic lifting, as weights don’t lie, give two craps about celebrity, and the mind games are limited to ones you play on yourself.

In a sense, I’m very happy to have guys like Dave Tate and C.T. as Powerlifting and Olympic lifting folks to admire (not necessarily role models). That being said, there is a difference between doing everything you can do to set yourself up to win and desiring everyone else to be at their absolute best to make things that much more competitive. This is true competition, when you want your competition at their best and you are at your best.

I guess, thinking about Arnold and The Pumping Iron film as an adult pulls out the magnifying glass on Arnold and compares him to his predecessors of today (in a sense). He was a competitor, but he didn’t want to face his competition at their best or he wouldn’t have tried to get in their heads. He seemed to be willing to use whatever means possible to win, including mind games vs. Ferrigno as well as celebrity and height in his pose off vs. Columbu… Lets be real, if Columbu were 6’3" we’d be going to Columbu Classics…

This is intended to get us thinking… Also, get us to appreciate the sorts of characters we have around today who not only preach, but embody virtues such as integrity, forbearance, and a passion to be their best/ the best. I of course have to give a shot out to C.T. and Dave Tate. Just my opinion, but Arnold couldn’t carry either of their jocks.

I believe this so strongly it’s to the point I got a little annoyed watching Kimberly Walfords 2nd deadlift at the Arnold Classic, hearing the overly large, overly chatty announcer,calling for her to pull her weight because Arnold was there. I don’t hate the guy, but isn’t it time to honor others?

Or, is this dude, who is sort of a dick going to be the face of iron forever?

Pumping Iron is a movie.
Arnold played a role; in the 80s nobody would have given a shit about two or three oiled up guys just posing and flexing.
They had to make it interesting for an audience which wasn’t into bodybuilding.

[quote]peach black wrote:
Pumping Iron is a movie.
Arnold played a role; in the 80s nobody would have given a shit about two or three oiled up guys just posing and flexing.
They had to make it interesting for an audience which wasn’t into bodybuilding.[/quote]

That being said, watching the film again, look how Arnold treats his competition. Look at Lou Ferrigno and how much he and his trainers are eaten up by Arnold. You see Ferrigno pumping out sets yelling Arnolds name. Not Arnolds fault, as Ferrigno is ultimately responsible to himself for how he feels/ felt and trains. But it shows that mind games and bullshit weren’t beyond Arnold.

The story Arnold tells about his fathers funeral with very little emotion is similar to how he talks about cheating on his wife and denying one of his sons… He seems to have nothing for people other than himself at the end of the day. Just saying, this is the real Arnold, I could think heaps of lifters, or everyday people I’d rather sit down and have a beer with.

[quote]peach black wrote:
Pumping Iron is a movie.
Arnold played a role; in the 80s nobody would have given a shit about two or three oiled up guys just posing and flexing.
They had to make it interesting for an audience which wasn’t into bodybuilding.[/quote]

This.

They also shot the scene where Ken Waller says he’s gonna steal Mike Katz’s t-shirt AFTER the contest - just to add a bit of drama. The bit where Katz walks around saying he’s lost his t-shirt has nothing to do with Waller having taken it - Katz simply lost it.

My point being - it’s a movie as much as a doco and it did its job very well in making bodybuilding interesting for the man on the street.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
Lets be real, if Columbu were 6’3" we’d be going to Columbu Classics…
[/quote]

Yeah right. Columbu was a decent BBer, but he had the personality of a turnip compared to Arnold. The majority of us would have been lucky to have heard of the Mr Olympia contest if Arnold hadn’t come around.

Steve Reeves and Reg Park to pick 2 prominent examples were “prettier” than Arnold and by all accounts very nice guys - and were VERY successful BBers as well as broke into the movies. Plus of course they had the advantage of not having a weird accent.

But even they couldn’t promote bodybuilding to the mainstream masses the way Arnold did - not one has, either before or since.

The one exception that that is potentially Eugene Sandow who was “mainstream big” in his time - and he was also renowned for being a real dick of a guy. So what?

Admire and respect Arnold for what he is, not what he isn’t. The reason you’re disillusioned with him is because YOU put him on an unnecessary pedestal in the first place.

(Edited for clarity)

[quote]justrob wrote:

[quote]peach black wrote:
Pumping Iron is a movie.
Arnold played a role; in the 80s nobody would have given a shit about two or three oiled up guys just posing and flexing.
They had to make it interesting for an audience which wasn’t into bodybuilding.[/quote]

This.

They also shot the scene where Ken Waller says he’s gonna steal Mike Katz’s t-shirt AFTER the contest - just to add a bit of drama. The bit where Katz walks around saying he’s lost his t-shirt has nothing to do with Waller having taken it - Katz simply lost it.

My point being - it’s a movie as much as a doco and it did its job very well in making bodybuilding interesting for the man on the street.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
Lets be real, if Columbu were 6’3" we’d be going to Columbu Classics…
[/quote]

Yeah right. Columbu was a decent BBer, but he had the personality of a turnip compared to Arnold. The majority of us would have been lucky to have heard of the Mr Olympia contest if Arnold hadn’t come around.

Steve Reeves and Reg Park to pick 2 prominent examples were “prettier” than Arnold and by all accounts very nice guys - and were VERY successful BBers as well as broke into the movies. Plus of course they had the advantage of not having a weird accent.

But even they couldn’t promote bodybuilding to the mainstream masses the way Arnold did - not one has, either before or since.

The one exception that that is potentially Eugene Sandow who was “mainstream big” in his time - and he was also renowned for being a real dick of a guy. So what?

Admire and respect Arnold for what he is, not what he isn’t. The reason you’re disillusioned with him is because YOU put him on an unnecessary pedestal in the first place.

(Edited for clarity)[/quote]

It’s very true that I had put him on a pedestal. But think about what you just said, the fact remains he won Mr. Olympia primarily based on his celebrity and his ability to self promote, which lets be honest, doesn’t lend much confidence to the Mr. Olympia as a competition unless you buy into Arnold actually being the best on top of being a major jerk. With very questionable integrity and motivations given what we know about his life as a whole. Again, maybe all of our bads for buying into it, but that is exactly what I’m bringing up Justrob!

I’m not accusing you of buying into Arnolds Legend, it’s just one of those things I sort of reflected on today… I don’t think it’s odd or irrational to compare guys like Arnold to other folks around today like C.T. or Dave Tate or John Meadows.

It’s just a little curious to me that I, and I’m sure many others have held Arnold to this crazy standard… All along there have been folks I personally enjoy a hell of a lot more than Arnold.

Fact still remains, he is still the face and body of weightlifting culture for most folks, and most folks really value the Arnold Classic. It’s a little odd at least imo. Little disturbing that he smiles when the interviewer asks him about cheating on his wife… There he is nodding his head giddily with a smile on his face. Again, me holding him to high standards, not appreciating him for who he is.

And, take a good look at Columbu. He was 5’5" and in their pose off, it’s really hard to tell who has better symmetry… Columbu actually looks to have a larger chest and quads than Arnold even though he was vertically dwarfed. Watch again if you would. I think he was clearly the better physique.

[quote]justrob wrote:

My point being - it’s a movie as much as a doco and it did its job very well in making bodybuilding interesting for the man on the street.
[/quote]
Yea “docudrama” I think is what they call it. Shouldn’t be taken as straight non-fiction lol.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
…the fact remains he won Mr. Olympia primarily based on his celebrity and his ability to self promote, which lets be honest, doesn’t lend much confidence to the Mr. Olympia as a competition…[/quote]

There is and always has been a ‘political’ side to bodybuilding. Joe Weider hand selected Arnold and invested a great deal of money in his promotion & development. The Weider’s were Bodybuilding at that time…the outcome was as expected.

Getting mad at Arnold over Pumping Iron is like getting mad at Sylvester Stallone because he mishandled his money and left his family in poverty in Rocky V.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a character in Pumping Iron.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Getting mad at Arnold over Pumping Iron is like getting mad at Sylvester Stallone because he mishandled his money and left his family in poverty in Rocky V.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a character in Pumping Iron.[/quote]

Lol, pretty good analogy.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Getting mad at Arnold over Pumping Iron is like getting mad at Sylvester Stallone because he mishandled his money and left his family in poverty in Rocky V.
[/quote]

I actually blame Burt Young for that one.

S

[quote]Severiano wrote:
It’s very true that I had put him on a pedestal. But think about what you just said, the fact remains he won Mr. Olympia primarily based on his celebrity and his ability to self promote, which lets be honest, doesn’t lend much confidence to the Mr. Olympia as a competition unless you buy into Arnold actually being the best on top of being a major jerk. With very questionable integrity and motivations given what we know about his life as a whole. Again, maybe all of our bads for buying into it, but that is exactly what I’m bringing up Justrob!
[/quote]

Sure. Arnold legitimately was the best competitor in a number of Olympias but not all of them. Sergio Oliva, Chris Dickerson, Mike Mentzer, Tom Platz etc could and should have beaten him at some point (not necessarily won themselves, but beaten Arnold at least).

But Arnold did NOT win because he was a jerk, he won because he was the most marketable. He used to talk up ‘psyching out’ your opponent pre-contest to (again) make it sound like a sport that the man on the street could relate to.

But other than Lou who clearly had self-esteem issues, how many grown men could you truly psych out - and even if you did manage to do this, what effect would that have in a non-performance sport such as bodybuilding?

BTW don’t know how closely you follow bodybuilding, but this kind of shit (politically and/or commercially-driven results) still happens today - and in the biggest contests.

[quote]
And, take a good look at Columbu. He was 5’5" and in their pose off, it’s really hard to tell who has better symmetry… Columbu actually looks to have a larger chest and quads than Arnold even though he was vertically dwarfed. Watch again if you would. I think he was clearly the better physique. [/quote]

I hear ya but I prob still give it to Arnold over Franco.

In my inexpert opinion, Serge Nubret had them all beat that year.

OP prolly things Transformers is real too.

[quote]justrob wrote:

[quote]Severiano wrote:
It’s very true that I had put him on a pedestal. But think about what you just said, the fact remains he won Mr. Olympia primarily based on his celebrity and his ability to self promote, which lets be honest, doesn’t lend much confidence to the Mr. Olympia as a competition unless you buy into Arnold actually being the best on top of being a major jerk. With very questionable integrity and motivations given what we know about his life as a whole. Again, maybe all of our bads for buying into it, but that is exactly what I’m bringing up Justrob!
[/quote]

Sure. Arnold legitimately was the best competitor in a number of Olympias but not all of them. Sergio Oliva, Chris Dickerson, Mike Mentzer, Tom Platz etc could and should have beaten him at some point (not necessarily won themselves, but beaten Arnold at least).

But Arnold did NOT win because he was a jerk, he won because he was the most marketable. He used to talk up ‘psyching out’ your opponent pre-contest to (again) make it sound like a sport that the man on the street could relate to.

But other than Lou who clearly had self-esteem issues, how many grown men could you truly psych out - and even if you did manage to do this, what effect would that have in a non-performance sport such as bodybuilding?

BTW don’t know how closely you follow bodybuilding, but this kind of shit (politically and/or commercially-driven results) still happens today - and in the biggest contests.

Funny thing about Serge, not a lot of attention on him during the doc, and not a lot of direct footage of him either. It even looked as if the spotlight was centered on Arnold most of the time (literally during the pose off).

To be honest, I’m only into the strength aspect of training but want to appreciate bodybuilding more. I’ve seen and heard guys talk about bodybuilding like it’s purely about aesthetics, and the whole, “Who cares how you look, what can you do?”

I don’t think it’s about a dichotomy between strength and aesthetics, but a combination. You will be hard pressed to have a great physique without a somewhat profound strength foundation. And as powerlifters or olympic lifters, it doesn’t pay to be carrying around extra, extra weight if you cut for a weigh in and then turn around and put the weight right back on. In a sense the weight management has an impact on aesthetics, as a result I usually don’t walk around above 12% bf and I get a lot of compliments on my physique but you won’t catch me doing supplemental exercises to make this or that look bigger or stronger.

So, in a sense I can watch the footage of guys like Arnold and Corney doing a squat session, pushing the hell out of one another and I have a great appreciation for THAT, how it translates to competition and that is a genuine facet of the culture of iron/ a brotherhood or sisterhood of iron that is positive, motivating, challenging and incredibly fulfilling.

When I watch Arnold talk all of his crap, see how devious and self absorbed he is as an extrovert, it’s not something I think is even very common in lifters today.

On one hand we can just say it’s a movie. But really? The whole psyching out your opponent thing is gradeschool or for people who don’t want their opponents at their best because for them, winning trumps the virtues of iron.

That is of course, unless there are different virtues for different aspects of the iron culture… I tend to think we are a lot more similar than we are different… It’s true that nobody is perfect and there is plenty of room for black sheep, we wouldn’t have a colorful iron culture without guys like Freakshow, Matt Kroc, Johnnie Jackson, Kendrick Farris, Lydia Valintin, or Kimberly Walford who’s footage alone is hair raising and motivating. I just tend to think that the more I learn about Arnold, the less I see commonality between him and people I have grown to admire… When in reality, the people I have grown to admire earned it, where it was probably just given to Arnold when I was a kid watching him.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
When I watch Arnold talk all of his crap, see how devious and self absorbed he is as an extrovert, it’s not something I think is even very common in lifters today.

On one hand we can just say it’s a movie. But really? The whole psyching out your opponent thing is gradeschool or for people who don’t want their opponents at their best because for them, winning trumps the virtues of iron.

That is of course, unless there are different virtues for different aspects of the iron culture… I tend to think we are a lot more similar than we are different… It’s true that nobody is perfect and there is plenty of room for black sheep, we wouldn’t have a colorful iron culture without guys like Freakshow, Matt Kroc, Johnnie Jackson, Kendrick Farris, Lydia Valintin, or Kimberly Walford who’s footage alone is hair raising and motivating. I just tend to think that the more I learn about Arnold, the less I see commonality between him and people I have grown to admire… When in reality, the people I have grown to admire earned it, where it was probably just given to Arnold when I was a kid watching him. [/quote]

I’m with you there. As much as I respect Arnold’s achievements, and would shout him a beer at a bar - from what I know of him (as much as you can a guy you’ve never met) I don’t think I’d want him for a friend.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
Funny thing about Serge, not a lot of attention on him during the doc, and not a lot of direct footage of him either. It even looked as if the spotlight was centered on Arnold most of the time (literally during the pose off).
[/quote]

Serge was n the middle of a political mess with the Weiders. In fact, shortly after the filming of that particular Olympia, he was banned from the IFBB. Not sure if that played into it because the film was completed independent of the IFBB, or if it was simply a matter of his residing outside the US.

S

About the psyching your opponent out…if he is weak minded enough to be psyched out he doesn’t deserve to be at the top. It happens in all athletics and its fun. I never wore a mouth guard in football or hockey just so I could talk shit and have people still understand me. And I would only pick on the guys that it bothered. If they were unaffected it was no fun and I would move on

[quote]ryanbCXG wrote:
About the psyching your opponent out…if he is weak minded enough to be psyched out he doesn’t deserve to be at the top. It happens in all athletics and its fun. I never wore a mouth guard in football or hockey just so I could talk shit and have people still understand me. And I would only pick on the guys that it bothered. If they were unaffected it was no fun and I would move on[/quote]

I was the same, except I murdered the guy’s parents and ate his pets.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]ryanbCXG wrote:
About the psyching your opponent out…if he is weak minded enough to be psyched out he doesn’t deserve to be at the top. It happens in all athletics and its fun. I never wore a mouth guard in football or hockey just so I could talk shit and have people still understand me. And I would only pick on the guys that it bothered. If they were unaffected it was no fun and I would move on[/quote]

I was the same, except I murdered the guy’s parents and ate his pets.[/quote]

I was the same, except I ground his parents up, cooked them into chili, and tricked the guy into eating it. Then I told him about it and he started crying, and Radiohead showed up and called him a fag.

Pretty good Arnold call-out, but not as good as this:


Yea, Arnold has the best body in the sport, there is no doubt about that, he also has one of the most screwed on heads in the sport, irregardless of his bank account. Let me tell you a little story of when I met him in Columbus, Ohio at an area mall. He was in town in conjunction with what is now termed the Arnold Classic. I traveled 45 miles to see him and had my questions written down to ask him about training. I was 18-20 years old, Benching 350, curling 200 for cheats, without steroids, in fact, I didn’t even no what they were in 1980! Well, Arnold came in to the store and was mobbed by girls and wannabe’s, not serious bodybuilders. Well they were all asking him questions about Conan the Barbarian, mind you he wasn’t a movie star then when I got the chance to ask him about training, REST-PAUSE TRAINING to be exact. He made me look like a fool in a packed house with some kind of smart retort. I immediately knew I was being dissed, and by nature I told him to F-hisself. He said he couldn’t hear me, and I repeated the saying, and a pin could be heard dropped. I would have killed him, as I was in the bars in Columbus everyweekend hurting guys severly who tested my strength. My hand speed was so swift I sometimes wondered where it came from, I used to break those automatic punching machines that they used to make. Right then and there I lost my respect for him and just wanted to make him respect this peon with brute force. He backed down and got out of the situation, but I feared noone in that room, and they knew it. I thought maybe the place would gang up on me, but they figured if I had just told Arnold to F-hisself they better not mess with me! Me and my cousin left and I probably took it out on some punk in a bar, I can’t remember. People, bodybuilders are the most INSECURE people on the planet. I have lifted 30 years and saw the worse nut case scenarios in bodybuilding. No very many women end up loving a bodybuilder as they are too hung up on themselves. One thing for SURE, as a Mentor in a high place, you NEVER, REPEAT, NEVER, belittle someone who idolizes you. You give that person good sound advice and urge him on. Not belittleling them. I wasn’t working out with Arnold in the gym or any of the physco-babble crap that he employed, just being an innocent youth. When I finally saw PUMPING IRON, and saw how he lit up that joint in front of Mr. Ferrigno, who is ironically one of NEW YORK’S FINEST POLICEMAN, I knew Arnold was a LOSER, no matter what he had in the Bank. If he lit that up in front of my mom, I would have hurt him so bad, with the intent to change his life and attitude. One thing for sure, Arnold sure wasn’t this Bad-A-- that you read about. Not at all. Keep on pumping.

LOL