Bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger made a name for himself with epic proportions and impressive muscularity. In a recent edition of The Daily Pump newsletter, Schwarzenegger revealed Sergio Oliva as the toughest competitor he faced alongside Franco Columbu.
Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed a successful career as a professional bodybuilder in the 1970s and 80s. He helped pioneer the gold standard of the Men’s Open division that saw him rack up seven Mr. Olympia titles. His lead role in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977) with Lou Ferrigno boosted his celebrity status to heights never seen before in bodybuilding. He broke out into the mainstream as the first true superstar and still represents the sport today.
In 1989, the IFBB Pro League and Schwarzenegger formed an annual competition named after him called the Arnold Sports Festival. Since its inception, ASF has turned into the second most prestigious show in bodybuilding after the Mr. Olympia contests.
The 75-year-old regularly motivates his 23.1 million followers on Instagram with workouts and fitness tips. Two months ago, Schwarzenegger shared the holiday spirit with an intense Christmas training session at an outdoor gym. A few days later, Schwarzenegger educated his audience on the importance of walking daily and eating high-protein meals to live a longer and healthier life.
Schwarzenegger joined forces with social media fitness influencer Joey Swoll to promote positive gym culture last week. He took notice of Swoll’s movement against the rise of toxic gym culture and praised him for helping make gyms a safe space for everyone.
Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals Sergio Oliva & Franco Columbu as his toughest opponents
In a recent edition of The Daily Pump newsletter, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed the toughest rival he faced during his career. Considering the high caliber of the opponents he went up against, ‘The Austrian Oak’ believes nobody presented him with a more of a challenge than three-time Mr. Olympia champion Sergio Oliva.
“I think the answer has to be Sergio Oliva, who won Mr. Olympia twice in a row before he beat me for his 3-peat in 1969,” wrote Arnold. “He was the dragon I had to slay to get to the top. His body was incredible. Really, take a second and go google him. Just a monster, and a sweetheart of a guy. It took everything I had to beat him at the Mr. World and then the Mr. Olympia in 1970. I mean everything.”
Schwarzenegger recounted the infamous incident when he tricked Oliva into walking off stage following an intense battle.
“I don’t think I had a longer comparison round than that Mr. World contest – the judges could not make up their minds. We were pouring sweat hitting and holding our poses, and I finally had to pull the trick on Sergio and tell him I thought we should just leave the stage.
“Once he walked off, I hit another pose, and from then on, I never lost again. Besides being an inspiration to me, I also just loved hanging out with the guy in Chicago.”
In addition, Schwarzenegger believes Franco Columbu was another huge threat.
“I could also say Franco, because his body was incredible, and he won the short division every year so it was always the two of us posing against each other for the final trophy. And all of you know how much I love Franco.”
Sergio Oliva’s son, Sergio Oliva Jr. recently spoke about his dad competing against Arnold Schwarzenegger. He mentioned that his dad held a grudge against Olympia organizers. He added that Olympia organizers prevented his dad from competing in 1971 after he participated at a show in a rival league.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was involved in a road accident this past Sunday. While driving in West Los Angeles, he clashed with a cyclist who broke into his lane. Initial reports indicate Schwarzenegger was not at fault but there is an ongoing investigation. Hopefully all parties involved are in good health.
Arnold’s impact on bodybuilding can’t be understated and will surely motivate the next generation of competitors. He is grateful to have shared the stage with so many legends while competing actively.