5 top highlights from Arnold Schwarzenegger's career

Arnold bench presses on the street: Image via Instagram (@schwarzenegger)
Arnold bench presses on the street: Image via Instagram (@schwarzenegger)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is widely regarded as the best bodybuilder of all time. He has studded his name in the Hall of Fame by winning the most prestigious competition in the history of the sport, Mr Olympia, seven times.

Schwarzenegger has also won the professional Mr Universe title three times and has managed to forge a successful career outside the sport, as an actor and a politician.

It is difficult to boil down a career studded with rubies and diamonds to a few highlighted moments. But here, we attempt to do just that by taking a look at five key highlights from the legend's time as a professional in the sport.

#5 Pumping Iron: The 1975 Olympia

Leading up to the 1975 edition of the competition, Arnold Schwarzenegger spent the majority of his time filming for the movie Stay Hungry. For this, he lost a significant amount of weight.

Months before Olympia, Schwarzenegger was approached by the Pumping Iron team, who convinced him to compete against Lou Ferrigno and film his training for the movie.

Despite only having three months to prepare, the Austrian-American star managed to regain a significant amount of muscle mass and win the competition. The film, released in 1977, turned out to be iconic as it was the first movie to give people a look into what it takes to be an elite player in the game.

#4 NABBA Mr Universe amateur 1967: Earning a pro card

Arnold Schwarzenegger's name rings far and wide in the sport. Therefore, it is only appropriate to acknowledge the 1967 NABBA Mr Universe amateur as a turning point in the career of this superstar.

In 1966, Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to meet his idol Reg Park, who took him under his wing. This paid off in a big way as the Austrian-American bodybuilder became the youngest Mr Universe, at the age of 20, and earned a professional card thanks to his victory.

#3 NABBA Mr Universe professional 1968: First title

Taking advantage of his 1967 win, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to London from Munich the following year to participate in the professional version of the Mr Universe. This marked the beginning of what turned out to be three years of consecutive victories at the NABBA Mr Universe.

#2 1970 Olympia: Beating 'The Myth'

Schwarzenegger met Sergio Oliva in 1969 when he made his Olympia debut. At the Olympia, the 'Austrian Oak' realized why Oliva was called 'The Myth' as he finished behind him in second place. Oliva changed the game by introducing a near-perfect V-shape to the game.

However, this did not stop Schwarzenegger. With a new-found fire, he returned the next year and beat Oliva to win his first Mr Olympia title: the beginning of six consecutive victories.

#1 1980 Olympia: Capping off a career forged in gold

After winning his sixth Olympia in 1975, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his retirement from professional bodybuilding. This was in an attempt to focus on his rapidly developing acting career.

While preparing for the 1982 movie Conan, Schwarzenegger got back in terrific shape due to the action scenes in the movie. This pushed him to come out of retirement to take on the 1980 Olympia.

Facing new and focused bodybuilders such as Chris Dickerson and Frank Zane, Schwarzenegger won the competition. He became the first bodybuilder in history to win the Olympia in non-consecutive years.

Arnold at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Downhill, 2023 (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Arnold at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Downhill, 2023 (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Arnold Schwarzenegger represents the best of the best in the realm of sports. His work, including the books he authored, continues to help athletes around the world and he will be remembered as the person who put the sport on the world map.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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