Muscle Builder, Vol 11, No 3, Page 23, March 1970
IT is but a few hours since the mammoth 1969 IFBB muscle get-together, and I am writing this report some thirty thousand feet above Nova Scotia enroute to London.
The difficulty I expereince in my efforts to put thoughts to paper is due, I asten to add, not to a suspect memory, but to an unusually titillating Air Canada hostes in a mini-skirt that leaves me in no doubt whatever as to the exact location of "the action." In fact, if you will allow me this one boast, I can recall events long past with surprising exactness and clarity, Why, I remember as if it were yesterday, the last time Len Sell appeared in a muscle show; and if that is not ample proof of my powers of retention, then I'm a two-tailed, winged barracuda!
The truth is I realize how keen you are to know the details of the big show and since I never wish it to be said I kept the good readers of Muslce Builder aiting, I am determined that this piece will be ready for the printers by the time we land at Heathrow.
From the very start, let me set your minds at rest on the question of Sergio Oliva. For months, it had been rumored that the two-time winner of Muscledom's premier award had hung up his posing briefs à la Larry Scott and gone into seclusion. Some even reffered to him as "Howard Hughes with muscles". Oliva fans will therefore be relieved to know 'The Myth' is alive and well and living in Frank Sinatra's "home town". True, his roamin' days have been somewhat curtailed, thanks to the lovely raven-haired Mexican señorita whom he married some twelve months ago, but you may rest assured matrimony has, in no way that is immediately obvious to me, retarded the growth of Mrs. Oliva's prize package. Moreover, he continues to scare the pants off all and sundry -- all except one twenty-two year old fledgling who came ever so close to causing the biggest sensation in the history of physique contests! But more about that later.
For me, the excitement began when I was informed by Mr. John B. Knox, Managing Director of Weider U.K., that as there was not sufficient time to hold a contest to decide who would represent IFBB Britain at the big show (due to the recent re-organization of Weider U.K.), it would be left to me to wave the flag in New York. Luckily, I had been training six weeks in preparation for the Mr. World show, and Mr. Knox felt I stood as good a chance as anyone else of bringing back some Mr. Universe 'gold'.
I flew to New York three days before the big event and, not altogether surprisingly, the main question on everyone's lips was: "Will schwarzenegger take on Sergio Oliva?" To be quite candid, I was much more concerned with whether or not I would have to do battle against the Austrian in the Mr. Universe contest!
Came the morning of the 13th, and I joined the many representatives from different countries at the famous Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was good seeing old faces like Vic Downs of Canada, Frank Zane, fresh from a most successful appearance in the IFBB Mr. Western America show, Joe Nista, Conrad Laframboise, funnyman Chris Forde, and Mike Katz. Don Peters, with a toothpast ad smile that probably had much to do with the fact that he was crowned IFBB Mr. Western America only the night before, was also present. We engaged in the usual muscle-talk that normally precedes the serious business of preparing for the actual contests and I learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely planned to compete in both the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia events. By all accounts, he looked "plain outta this sphere and would wipe out all competition" but I refused to be dismayed. After all, Arnold was no stranger to me. had he not been beaten by a 185-lbd. Frank Zane just twelve months before?
Suddenly, without warning, a familiar "Hya Rickee Babee!" echoed around the vast auditorium. All eyes turned left, in the direction of the well-known sound. You guessed it. Sergio Oliva was in town! Somehow, I survived his usual enthusiastic bear-hug salutation without too many side effects other than a suspected cracked rib and a couple of slipped discs. I swear that man has no idea the suffering he inflicts on his best friends!
Sergio was his usual flamboyant self; immaculate to a fault. Neatly attired in a check suit that spoke volumes in favor of expensive tailoring, matching waistcoast, white shirt and dark tie, he presented an image not unlike a top male model for Sears and Roebuck. Yes, the massive, clanking gold bracelet, the gold rings and mayoral chain of office necklace were, as ever, conspicuously present. So was the little mod hat. I looked down at his feet to be reassured the golden boy had not changed much in his way of dressing. The Cuban-heeled, black patent leather boots glistened in the semi-darkness. Bodybuidling's fashion-plate had not lost his touch for choosing the threads!
But even under his 'now' attire, it was obvious Sergio's physique had undergone some changes. He appeared even more massive than before, a fact which promopted me to study his face for tell-tale signs of over-bulking. Far from being soft and pudgy in appearance, it bore a lean, trained look that is synonymous with 'contest condition'. I felt the bulge in his left sleeve; rock-hard, as usual!
Sergio smiled knowingly. "You gonnad see somethin' tonight, babee. I tell you, you gonna see but you ain't gonna believe it. Ain't nobody gonna believe it." He was right, of course, but just then I wasn't quite sure what he meant. Even when I pushed him to elaborate, my friend merely echoed the ominous declaration: "Ain't nobody gonna believe it!" I would have to wait a few more hours to find out the truth.
Soon it was time for the pre-judging of the Mr. America contest and we settled into our seats to watch the proceedings. The boys lined up before the judges, on stage, and after the three height classes had been viewed from all the relevant angles it became evident the title would go to either Don Peters, Mike Katz or John Decola. Mike's famous chest appeared even more phenomenal than I'd remembered and Don looked every inch a winner - as impressive as I had been lead to believe. This was my first meeting with John Decola although I was familiar with his bodybuilding career. He appeared shorter than I imagined him to be, judgin from his photographs, but no doubt about it, his physique bore that championship seal of approval. Certainly, the above-mentioned three would present a giant-size headache to any judging panel!
The Mr. America competitors were vying for the best arms trophy when Mr. Schwarzenegger breezed in, accompanied by Franco Columbu. He eased himself as gently as a two hundred and forty pounder might into a chair somewhere behind Oliva, and soon I was made aware that whatever else California might have done for him, she had had no adverse effect on his leg-pulling talent. "Hi skinny," he boomed into my left ear. "How's England?" I assured him no one back home was actually grieving over his departure! With that he directed his ammo at Sergio. "Monster, are you in shape?" he hissed. Sergio mumbled something about Arnold needing a lesson in respect for his elders and superiors which caused 'Big A' to issue that foghorn blast that passes for a hearty laugh in Austria. The leg-pulling continued for the next twenty minutes, until Bud Parker announced it was time for the competitor's to prepare for the pre-judging of the Mr. Umverse contest.
In the light of the warm-up room, I came face to face with Joe Weider's 'Frankenstein' and reality. Even in his sweatsuit, it was painfully obvious this was not the Schwarzenegger I had warned against competing in the 1968 Mr. Umverse pageant! Gone were the flabby, bloated appearance, the bulky, box-like midsection and pale skin that almost cost him the NABBA Mr. Universe title in London and which wrecked his chances a week later in Miami. Indeed, the man who now stood before me bore little resemblance to the Schwarzenegger of the 1968 NABBA Mr. Universe contest. As a competitor in the 1969 IFBB event, I was forced, regrettably, to admit Joe Weider's declaration that he would launch a new Schwarzenegger on the bodybuilder world was certainly no idle boast but a promise which he had kept!
Thoughtful friend that he is, Arnold insisted I should follow him into an unoccupied dressing room where he then proceeded to give me a preview of my irrevocable fate. As soon as he had removed his sweatsuit, I found myself hating the day Joe Weider first set eyes on Schwarzenegger. Here was Austria's secret weapon unveiled! It seemed hardly possible that he actually weighed 240 lbs; so great was his muscular delineation. Abdominals, obliques, chest, back, delts, serrati, calves, leg biceps, thighs, you name it; they all stood out, sickeningly trained to razor-sharpness. And his arms you just wouldn't believe! Schwarzenegger mentioned quite casually that up to three weeks before the show he weighed 260 lbs. but had, on the advice of Joe Weider, trimmed down to his present mind-shattering condition.
It will no doubt prove of great interest to all trainees so be sure to read the story of how Arnold trained down from 260 to 240 lbs. in the almost impossible space of three weeks.
Soon the short class competitors had appeared before the judges and it was my turn, with the rest of class two, to do my stuff. Later, a glutton for punishment, I watched Arnold go through his paces -- a mere formality, if fact, for by then we all knew who would be the IFBB Mr. Universe 1969. Sometime afterwards, I sought Sergio's opinion of the little 'un. "Very good," he replied, taking full responsibility for the understatement of the year. "Very good, but wait till tonight, ain't nobody gonna believe it."
I wish to state that whoever suggested Arnold should be allowed to compete in the sub-divisions contest must possess a pretty sick sense of humor; and I will be more than willing to supply him with the address of Dick Tyler's psychoanalyst! The result was as predictable as a politician's nomination speech. But what was truly amazing was the battle between the 240-lb. Arnold and 185-lb. Franco Columbo for the title of 'Most Muscular.' One normally expects this award to go to the lighter man, but there was Arnold giving Franco the fright of his life! The same situation arose when the judges called for "best abdominals" poses. Twelve months earlier, it would have been ludicrous for Arnold to even contemplate winning either of the two categories. Now he was making the judges sweat!
Of all the fantastic achievements of Joe Weider with his pupils, surely his work with Arnold Schwarzenegger must go down in bodybuilding history as the most astounding.
We broke up for lunch at Junior's, a restaurant just a few hundred yards from the Academy, where the cabaret starred Oliva and Schwarzenegger (I trust I've got the billing in the right order) in their super leg-pull act. Both men possess a fantastic sense of humor and they kept us fully entertained throughout a meal which included gallons of milk, an unmentionable amount of cottage cheese, fruit, steak, and eggs. Later, Sergio introduced his wife. She is a beautiful lady who takes obvious pride in her famous husband's achievements. "He's so sweet," she says with touching simplicity. "Honestly, you wouldn't believe." But we do believe. Only when she mentions that he is also gentle and my bruised ribs scream wickedly against her every word do I begin to suspect she might possibly be a little biased. There she stood beside her husband, this diminutive, delicately feminine example of nature's best work, and one could not help but admire, marvel even, at her courage. But such is love, they say. C'est l'amour!
It was seven thirty before we knew it and the curtain rose slowly, signaling the opening of the show. A spotlight picked out Bud Parker, resplendent as always in red mohair. He welcomed the capacity house before introducing Ben Weider, President of the IFBB. Ben beamed proudly as he informed everyone of the progress that is being made in the move to have bodybuilding and power-lifting accepted by the Olympic powers-that-be. Then he introduced the judges and other celebrities, some of whom had traveled enormous distances to be present at the show of shows. In true New York fashion, they were warmly welcomed by the audience. The curtains came down, only to rise again two seconds later, revealing the true meaning of the International Federation of Boby Builders. There we stood, each proudly bearing his national flag, the top representatives from some forty different countries. From lands as far apart as Czechoslovakia and Trinidad, from the Philippines, Bermuda, Canada, Japan, Barbados, Yugoslavia, Britain, Sweden, Norway, the United States, from every comer of Muscledom they came to unite under the banner of the IFBB. A truly awe-inspiring sight, one which speaks well for the pacifying effect, the friend-making influence of sport in general -- and bodybuilding in particular.
Then Bud was at the microphone again. What a healthy looking, energetic, enthusiastic person this man is. I know what Bud goes through at every show, the work involved and the times when it all seems so unappreciated. But Bud remains in control, enjoying the audience enjoying the show. I can think of no better Master of Ceremonies or organizer than you Bud, take a bow.
Bud introduces a very professional, exciting juggling act which sets the pace and the big show is truly under way. The artists performed amazing feats of equilibrium which left the enthusiastic audience shouting for more. But it was time for the Mr. Amerca contenders to present their posing routines. As always, there were the special favorites who received ear-splitting ovations. Peters, Tony Carroll, Ed Giuliani, Decola, all received the now famous New York brand of welcome. The posing display was followed by another variety act and then a short intermission.
Back in the dressing room, Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger were hard at it. Their leg-pulling had now developed into full-scale psychological warfare, not unlike that which. preceded the much publicized Clay Liston first heavyweight encounter. "Hey, monster, have you heard? I've got the sexiest legs in Hollywood," announced the jovial Austrian. "Yeah," retorted Oliva, Clad from head to big toe in a butcher's white overall that would do justice to any detergent advertisement. "I heard. But I tell you babe, this ain't gonna be no sex contest and this time you gonna be competing against a MAN for a change!" Arnold ducked that one. "Did they tell you about the Mr. Western America show?" he countered "For years they can't get more than twenty twenty-five cats to watch. But suddenly some smart cookie pays sexy Schwarz a heap of dollars to appear and zapp -- they can't find a place big enough to hold the fans. And they're mostly women!" Sergio replies with bulletspeed and effect. "Aw c'mon now; they just wanna take a fast look at you before Sergio wipes you out. You gonna be plenty scarce after tonight babee!" Arnold adds his own vociferous laughter to our own and marks up one round to 'The Myth.'
Meanwhile, on stage it's action once again. The Mr. Universe competitors have started their posing display. One by one they mount the podium, some receiving particularly loud ovations, all enjoying the enthusiasm of the most receptive audience on earth. It is not quite my turn to pose so I sit in the wings with Mike Katz. Every inch a champion, still he is as nervous as a raw beginner about the results of the Mr. America contest. You never quite get over this 'butterflies in the stomach' sensation that plagues competitors before the results of any event are announced. "Who do you think will take it, Rick," he asks, referring to the Mr. America title. I tell him it's a difficult situation when there are so many top champs in the contest. However, I assure him no one will beat him for the best chest award. This hardly satisfies him for he slams his left fist into his open right hand. "What the heck," he exclaims, "I'm only twenty-three, I've still got time. But doesn't Don Peters look great?" That's the stuff which Mr. America winners are made of. Sure, he wants the title. They all do. But they refuse to be so blinded by ambition that they are unaware of the fact someone else might be that bit better and so more deserving of the top award.
Then my name is called. I walk up to the posing platform and do my best. I recognize voices in the audience and consider whether I have ever appeared before a better audience. I am forced to admit I have not. As I hit my last pose, I try to imagine what their reaction will be when Arnold steps under the posing light. I have not long to wait. Someone else takes my place on the platform. He poses for three minutes and then Bud Parker begins the announcement that Arnold Schwarzenegner is next. But he does not get further than "From Austria. . ." Suddenly, the normally uninhibited, extrovert, excitable audience pulls out all stops. Pandemonium reigns! Arnold steps onto the posing platform and strikes three poses that numb the minds of the onlookers. If during the judging he looked tremendous, formidable, he now appears positively monolithic -- a magnificent bronze statue that moves, awesome, more inspiring even than the greatest works of the ancient great sculptors. Although Herculean, his physique possesses the aesthetic symmetry of Michelangelo's famous 'David'. Truly the greatest monument to Joe Weider's bodybuilding genius! And then Arnold walks off.
More! More! More! It is five minutes before Bud Parker's message reaches the excitement-crazed audience. Since Arnold is already a NABBA Mr. Universe winner, he may, if he so wishes, compete for the Mr. Olympia award. Arnold will be back to pose against Sergio Oliva. They will just have to wait until then to take a second look at the miracle who is determined to curb Oliva's winning ways.
Minutes later, we were on stage once again for the distribution of the various awards. Mr. America goes to John Decola. Mike Katz takes best chest. They congratulate each other. Don Peters smilingly accepts his trophy as winner of the tall class. I am amazed but happy to receive the best poser trophy for the second time and when it is announced I have also won my height division my day is made. You'll never guess who took best back, best legs, best chest, best arms PLUS the overall Mr. Universe title! More detailed reports concerning the full results of the Mr. America and Mr. Universe contests appear elsewhere in this magazine.
Then it was time for the battle of the century. Read next month's issue of this magazine for a full report of the most exciting, funniest, astounding, greatest Mr. Olympia ever. Read about Oliva's reaction to the result. Read what Arnold said to Sergio afterwards. I'll tell you of my private conversation with 'The Myth,' what his wife said to me regarding the next Mr. Olympia contest. You will laugh, you may cry, but you'll enjoy reading the behind-the-scenes report of the 1969 Mr. Olympia contest. Don't miss next month's issue of this magazine.
Overall winner -- John Decola; short class -- 1. Warren Frederick, 2. Joe Nista, Jr., 3. John Ianno; medium class -- 1. Decola, 2. Peter Caputo, 3. Chuck Fautz; tall class -1. Don Peters, 2. Mike Katz, 3. Tony Carrol; Best Arms -- Decola; Best Chest -- Katz; Best Back -- Gordon Babb; Best Abdominals -- Josue Rivera; Best Legs -- Peters; Most Muscular Frederick.
Overall winner -- Arnold Schwarzenegger; short class -- 1. Francesco Columbo, 2. Johnny Maldonado, 3. Elliot Gilchrist; medium class -- 1. Rick Wayne, 2. Serge Jacobs, 3. Fred Jarrett; tall class -- 1. Schwarzenegger, 2. Conrad Laframboise, 3. Vic Downs; Best Arms -- Schwarzenegger; Best Chest -- Schwarzenegger; Best Back -- Schwarzenegger; Best Abdominals -- Columbo; Best Legs -- Schwarzenegger; Most Muscular -- Columbo; Wayne also won Best Poser, a prize open to both Mr. A. and Mr. U. contestants.
1. Ann Mewshaw, 2. Michelle Natisse, 3. Margaret Paray; Most Shapely - Mewshaw.
Sergio Aliva (compete battle details in next month's MUSCLE BUILDER/POWER. . . Schwarzenegger came very close to toppling 'The Myth').
- The Show of Shows gets underway -- with an official welcome and speech by Ben Weider, IFBB President.
- THE WINNERS AND BEST ARMS The faces change every year, quality remains tops, and always there is joyous excitement for the winners, here being congratulated by IFBB Chief Joe Weider. Left to right: John Decola, MR. AMERICA; Ann Mewshaw, MISS AMERICANA; and Arnold Schwarzenegger, MR. UNIVERSE. John and Arnold also took Best Arms in their respective contests.
- 2nd PLACE WINNERS Left to right: Joe Nista, Jr. (short class); Mike Katz (tall); and Peter Caputo (medium) -- which should give you some idea of the high level of competition.
- 3rd Place WINNERS left to right: Chuck Fautz (medium class); Tony Carroll (tall); and John Ianno (short). Fautz and Ianno were new to IFBB audiences in Ney York -- and did great.
- BEST LEGS Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) walked away with this award in the MR. UNIVERSE contest; his legs wee fantastic and overshadowed those of his rivals. For Don Peters, also tops, it was tougher; there were some close moments in the MR AMERICA contest.
- BEST CHEST Who could top Arnold Schwarzenegger's unbelievable chest development -- and his ability to display it! It was all his in the Mr. Universe. Mike Katz fared likewise in the Mr. America.
- MOST MUSCULAR -- SHAPELY Francesco Columbu (left) had everyone beat for this award in the MR. Universe, while Warren Frederick -- a sort of living anatomy chart -- breezed through the MR. AMERICA. In MISS AMERICANA the Most Shapely award went to pretty Ann Mewshaw, the overall winner.
- BEST BACK Another victory for Arnold in the MR. UNIVERSE. The MR. AMERICA Best Back award went to IFBB newcomer Gordon Babb -- a fast-rising chunk of muscular dynamite; watch him.
- BEST ADBOMINALS It was no shock to see Francesco Columbu (right) take this one in the MR. UNIVERSE, but MR. AMERICA contender Josue Rivera's fantasstic abs rattled everyone, especially the King of Abs, Zabo Koszewski, whom he beat. A first!
- Pre-judging for Best Arms in the Mr. America contest -- a few of the contestants, left to right: John Ianno; Don Peters; and Mike Katz. The eventual winner was John Decola.
- MR. AMERICA medium class lineup made a side-by-side comparison possible. Here you see Peter Caputo (left) and Chuck Fautz. Caputo eventually placed 2nd in his class, Fautz 3rd.
- Gordon Babb, Best Back winner in the MR. AMERICA went over great in his first IFBB compeition.
- Tony Carroll, who placed 3rd in his class, is always the biggest -- 6'3½' weighing 255 lbs.
- John Decola was super -- the looks that befit a new MR. AMERICA. He also won Best Arms.
- Peter Caputo had high hopes -- and considering his compeition did great, placing 2nd in his class.
- Dan Mackey is unquestionably a great -- yet failed to lace because of stiff compeition.
- Chuck Fautz placed 3rd in his class. he's rising fast . . . kep your eye on him in 1970.
- Ed Giuliani, really tops, also lost out by a few points -- sad disappointment all champs must face.
- Mike Katz not only placed 2nd in his class, but also won Best Chest -- sort of expected by the fans.
- Zabo Koszewski, for years the King of Abs, lost Best Abs to newcomer Josue Rivera.
- Don Peters came very close to winning the title; he settled for his class win and Best Legs.
- Josue Rivera, the biggest upset of the evening -- toppled Zabo Koszewski for Best Abs.
- Another look at the MR. UNIVERSE lineup for Best Legs -- same order as above. Pre-judging permits adequate time for the judges to study everyone carefully.
- Vic Downs improves with time -- placed 3rd in his class and shook rivals half his age.
- Nicolas Kemp of Belgium failed to place in what may have been history's toughest MR. U.
- Conrad Laframoise, always a treat to see in action, placed 2nd in his class.
- Ricky Wayne, always great, won his class and the Best poser award, an overall show win.
- Ken Hall didn't place - but as usual thrilled the fans with his unique posing routine.
- Francesco Columbu won his class and Most Muscular -- and might have won the overall hadn't it been for Arnold.
- Pre-judging for Best Back in the MR. UNIVERSE -- seen here are Serge Jacobs (left) and Rick Wayne. That award eventually went to Schwarzenegger.
- Short class lineup in the MR. UNIVERSE -- left to right: Hubert Plumanns (Belgium); Nicolas Kemp (Belgium); and Ernesto Ybanez (Philip.).
- Toshisuke Kanazawa of Japan impressed everyone, failed to place.
- Pre-judging the MR. UNIVERSE contestants for Best Legs -- left to right: Fransesco Columbu; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Johnny Maldonado; and Nicolas Kemp. Schwarzenegger won.
- Another look at the MR. UNIVERSE lineup for Best Legs -- same order as above. Pre-judging permits adequate time for the judges to study everyone carefully.
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