Mr. America Magazine, Vol 11, No 4, Page 78, January 1970
This article is mis-titled. It is only about the 1969 IFBB Olympia
WE hear a lot about audience participation nowadays. It's part of modern theatre. The top plays on Broadway and London's West End follow this format. If you have an opportunity to see Hair which is currently the musical play to see throughout the Western world, you will be invited to participate - to dance along with the cast on stage . . .
Go to the annual IFBB Mr. America, Mr Universe, Mr. Olympia extravaganza and you will participate along with the stars, too. Not that you will be invited on stage exactly, but you will nevertheless feel that you are right up there with the fellows. The 1969 contest was no exception.
To a man, every member of the audience felt he was 'up there' when Sergio and Arnold Schwarzenegger posed side by side. In fact it was the audience who by volumes of cheers and applause, got these two giants to pose together on the same platform. Audience participation . . . and what a show it was! Historical fact now; a dual posing contest that few believed would ever come about (after all both men had a string of international titles and 'World's Best' reputations to lose).
Here were the two greats of bodybuilding, side by side, squeezing every last drop of sweat from their bodies, each to outdo the other for the honor of winning the coveted Mr. Olympia trophy of 1969, together with the $1,000 first prize. Never was more energy spent by two athletes over a three-minute time space, in any sport. Oliva and Schwarzenegger twisting, flexing, tensing. This was perhaps the very first truly competitive bodybuilding show ever staged because they were actually posing together. Simultaneous double-biceps poses, lat spreads, most musculars and back shots. All to the sound of a roaring crowd of enthusiasts doing their best to make the name of their particular favorite heard above the shattering applause. Somehow the roof stayed on. . . .
Franco Columbu, entered in the Mr. Olympia with these two, looked tremendous, huge thick delts and sliced up pecs that vibrated under the lights. What a reception he got! He took the short man Mr. Universe with honors, and was in the Olympia by merit of being Mr. Europe. Great as he was one tended to overlook his presence in the company of Oliva and Schwarzenegger simply because these two were making history by appearing together.
It all began with Bud Parker introducing: "A twenty-one-year-old youngster from Austria. Give him a break," pleaded Bud, "his name is Arnold Schwarzenegger. . .." Immediately something began to move from out of the shadows of the wings. It was him, the Austrian Oak, walking with his easy stride to the platform, head held high. As he steps up to the rostrum the bright overhead lights fall onto his shoulders, revealing unbelievable massiveness. The California tan is there, but more.
The audience automatically breaks into cheers and unprecedented applause as we realize that here indeed is a new Schwarzenegger, defined, proportioned, elegant. . . . His hips are minimal, his legs 100% improved. The same massive arms, just on 22 inches! His abdominals are sharp now, as are his serratus and intercostals.
He stands relaxed facing the packed auditorium, acknowledging the cheering throng--and now his first pose. The front double-biceps. A groan from the audience as eyes boggle to mountainous high peaked biceps. The spectacular lat flare skiing down into small waist and hips. The applause is deafening.
He twists his body into his famous three-quarter back pose and the applause trips to a new high. Here indeed are the Austrian Alps etched across the most densely muscled back in the history of the world. Hercules not excepted!! Munich massiveness heightened by Santa Monica separation. Muscles steeled from a brand new mould, sculpted by enthusiasm generated by the encouraging words of Joe Weider, during long previous months of preparation.
Arnold flies into a single arm biceps shot and then thunders into a most muscular. Gargantuan incredulity. The audience roar like wildcats in appreciation as the strands of fibre tug across that 58-inch expanded chest. A smile, a wave and the giant leaves the rostrum vacant for the reigning Mr. Olympia winner, Sergio Oliva. . . .
Long seconds falling away, the crowd tipping forward on their seats, but here he comes. Bud Parker's introduction brings a crescendo of applause even before the lights hit this ebony colossus. The spots reveal that he is bigger than ever and his fans fill the auditorium with piercing appreciation. We are treated to a double-biceps pose that we don't believe, lat spreads, back shots with extended arms above the head, most muscular and trapezius displays. Too much for the audience who hoarsely call Sergio to the echo. He leaves the rostrum smiling with pleasure at his reception. There is a lull while the judges regain their breath and contemplate what they have just witnessed.
Unable to reach an immediate decision the panel request that both Oliva and Schwarzenegger make a final appearance to settle the matter. It is no reflection on the fantastic physique of Franco Columbu to say that all eyes were on Arnold and Sergio at this time. He had made an indelible impression but now that the stage was occupied by the world's two greatest bodybuilders of all time, he was momentarily overlooked in the battle for Mr. Olympia supremacy. We were all busy gulping in the two mammoth heavyweights.
Bud called to the wings for them to appear--No response. "Give 'em a couple of minutes," he announced, "I think they're pumping up!" Not a murmur came from the audience, as it might well have done if any other contestants apart from these two had kept an audience waiting. But this was deadly earnest. The audience tonight would have gladly waited half an hour. However only a few seconds passed before Schwarzenegger appeared and stood on the platform, closely followed by Oliva.
They stood together on the platform; eyes alternated between the two. The crowd was alive with murmured speculation as to who was the better. We all called for posing and Oliva stepped down, gesturing towards Arnold, giving him the freedom of the platform. "No!" shouted the crowd, "both together! We want 'em to pose together. Let's see just who is the greatest!" There was a slight pause and then Sergio joined Arnold on the platform. The greatest contest of this decade had begun. I sincerely wish every one of you reading this account could have been present. None of us who were there will ever forget. Arnold Schwarzenegger twisted into his best three-quarter back pose. Oliva took the cue and shot his fabulous front biceps pose. The crowd yelled in awed appreciation of both--and from all sections of the auditorium one could hear the names "Arnold" "Sergio" booming out among the tumultuous thunder. . . .
Both men continued to match poses in a struggle to oust the other. Each gave of his best; the audience egged them on with noise that would drown a jet engine. Strands of separation split massive pecs; biceps crested to a new high; thighs creased into unbelievable definition. Here on one stage, posing a yard apart were the two widest shoulders in the world; the two biggest chests and the two largest pairs of muscular upper arms. This was competitive bodybuilding personified. No sedate posing to soft music now--this was it--muscles under real tension; gritting teeth; tortured tendons, swelling veins, grimacing jowls and white knuckled fists. Each man draining the last drop of energy from his body, flexing, wrenching, blasting the pain barrier to show more than his adversary.
Who was the better man? This was no 'Reeves-Grimek contest' of Apollo versus Hercules. This was strictly Herc against Herc. Men of the same breed, of the same class. On the surface an easy job for the judges--but in fact a near impossible job as both men were built to near maximum. Who would win? How would the judging panel decide this battle of the giants? The posing ended and both men retired tothe wings gulping oxygen, dripping sweat. Eventually the decision came over the mike clearly and simply. "Mr. Olympia 1969, Sergio Oliva."
Schwarzenegger was clearly disappointed but rushed over to Sergio, grasped his hand and playfully grabbed him by the neck. He showed he had accepted the decision in good faith and proved that he was indeed as big a sportsman as he was a bodybuilder. It was over! But to a man every enthusiast present at the crammed Brooklyn Academy of Music that night will remember the earthshaking thunder as the two accepted 'World's greatest' bodybuilders make history matching poses side by side in an unforgettable display of monumental muscular development. Be there next year. It might just happen again!
- Joe Weider looks proud . . . Sergio Oliva looks delirious (a thousand bucks and the Mr. Olympia title can do that to a guy!) . . . while Arnold Schwarzenegger wears a puzzled 'now what did I do wrong?' look as he determines to try harder for next year's contest.
- This kind of muscle can be measured only by the mile . . . that's two of the widest shoulders in the world, and they belong to Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger. you might also note that they have just about the deepest chests, the most massively muscled (and defined) legs, too. The thighs, in particular look like a sea of vastus cuts!
If you find these articles interesting and useful, please