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Weider Rigged Contests For Arnold?

I’ve actually read books by Dan Lurie and Rick Wayne (among other BBing historians) alluding to this before so seeing this video isn’t new to me, but I thought it would be an interesting topic.


Didn’t they kind of make up a rule that said that if you had competed in a different fed you couldn’t compete in the Olympia? IIRC, they made this rule, and implemented it in the middle of the year, but the rule applied to the entire year (including before the rule was made). I believe they excluded Sergio Olympia with that rule. Intentional or not it sure seemed shady, and it was for sure a dick move to not give him an exception as he couldn’t have known competing in that other fed would exclude him.

Sergio also had beaten Arnold I believe the previous year.

Let me start out saying this “proper federation” garbage persisted through the AAU/NPC break. (It’s a long story, but I was an NPC National Judge during the break from the AAU.) There is no doubt in my mind that the quest for power and money influenced many aspects in bodybuilding, especially in the midst of a federation power struggle. IMO, in those days, there was a continuous quest for bodybuilding dominance between Hoffman, Lurie, and Weider. Weider seemed the most fierce, and eventually prevailed. As to a conspiracy, probably not the word I would use. Competitors were just the causalities of war. And all is fair in love and war.

The guys I associated with concerning bodybuilding pretty much agreed that, as far as size and proportions are concerned, The Myth was the best. IMO, what Sergio lacked was muscle separation. Also my opinion: If both Arnold and Sergio appeared in top shape, Arnold would win. But then I always preferred muscle separation over hardness that lacked muscle separation. Please don’t confuse my term “hardness” for definition and striations.

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If Joe didn’t want something to happen, and he had the power to stop it, it didn’t happen. He was the “director” and he controlled the script.
If the issue wasn’t critical, then chance and merit played a more dominant role.

The guys that consistently won, like Arnold, were very fond of the Weiders. A lot of other guys were badly exploited, poorly paid or not paid at all, for photo shoots. If you didn’t tow the line you got closed out, from competition, or magazine publicity.

This is an interesting video, as it covers what I know I’ve heard other people agree was a very controversial Olympia where Arnold beat Sergio, who was arguably at his best. In my opinion, and I’ve seen a lot of videos and photos from this contest over the years, Sergio was indeed the better bodybuilder.

It’s very easy for Arnold to come up with ridiculous stories like he spun in the magazines about choosing certain backgrounds, or rooms for the pose off due to the color of Sergios skin, but I think that’s all bunk.

In Rick Wayne’s book, I believe, he references Weider admitting that he could control Arnold, which hadn’t been the case with Sergio. As an athlete, as well as someone with a full-time job, Sergio knew his worth. Arnold’s on the other hand, was playing the long game. He had Joe paying for his rent, food money, teaching him about art and helping him invest in real estate… Arnold probably let Joe do whatever he wanted, because Arnold was using Joe in a similar fashion.


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That was a well done video. I agree with the comments, particularly the inferior muscle separation of Sergio. I feel Sergio’s arms have some of the worst muscle separation of any successful bodybuilder.

If the contest were a silhouette contest, Sergio wins hands down. To this day, no one remotely compares to his hands over head pose, either front or back, IMO.

Tough call on this one. I am a big Oak fan, but here I think Sergio should have had him. Looks a little more shredded back and front and his leg muscle separation stood out to me compared to Arnold’s. This is obviously an opinion of a fan, I have never judged a competition.

I do think the 1980 Olympia is one that was rigged for Arnold as well as the one against Lou Ferrigno filmed for “Pumping Iron”.

1981 was the biggest rigged contest ever when Franco won

I agree. Does anyone know how the judges scored? In my opinion Platz was the obvious winner. But, I have only seen the available footage on Youtube, and obviously wasn’t there. In any case, what stands out is that Franco should NOT have won.