Muscle Builder, Vol 12, Num 11, Page 23, July 1971
It came to pass that on the Sunday morning following the night of the Mr. America / Mr. World / Mr. Olympia extravaganza, the high priests and lesser mortals of the International Federation of Bodybuilders gathered in a studio deep in the heart of Greenwich Village, awaiting their turn to do their thing for the camera of miracle-worker Jimmy Caruso.
This has long been the custom, for it is well-known among the bodybuilding gentry that the year's best physique photographs are taken at this ritual session, when every move is according to the direction of chief guru Joe Weider himself.
Even the greatest bodybuilding stars know the value of the kind of publicity only Muscle Builder can give, impeccable photographs that do not disguise their deep striations and incredible musculature, and well-written interviews that do not present moron-like personalities to their impatient public. And they also know that only Joe Weider can fulfill their requirements.
It is, therefore, not surprising to find the top stars and a few hopefuls, making themselves available to Joe the morning after the show, red eyes and smiles, depending on how they made out in the big contest.
I arrived at the studio around ten-thirty that morning, eager to interview all who felt disposed to breathing gems of wisdom into my Panasonic tape recorder, fully anticipating the sour grapes pejoration that is synonymous with red-eyed losers, and the aw-shucks-I-didn't-look-that-good- but-wait-till-next-year brand of modesty from the winners.
Already present were that pedagogue of super-sets and mathematics, Frank Zane, Roy Callender, Don Peters, mystic Dave Draper, Chuck 'The Gopher' Collras, Franco and Arnold (formerly of Austria, now added to California's other problems), and other followers of the world-famous Weider System.
They were all very occupied putting away unbelievable amounts of whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato, ham, turkey and Super Pro 101, a situation which told me straightaway that my bodybuilding friends are familiar with and live according to the precepts advocated in the Good Book. For it is written: Man doth not live by bread alone! Now it remains for my friends to learn the bit which says: From the sweat of thy brow thou shall eat bread! If and when they do, Joe Weider will be a much richer man.
Sergio Oliva strolled in around 11 a.m. He immediately announced his intention to fly out of New York as soon as possible, and asked Joe whether it would be alright for him to pose before those already waiting. Chuck Collras muttered something about having to get back to California but much of what he said was lost in the Formual 7-and-chewed-bread in his mouth. Joe told Sergio he would shoot him as soon as he had changed into posing trunks.
Twenty pushups and thirty light barbell curls later, the slightly mortal immortal, the man whom many had hoped would be beaten but never actually expected to be, until the night before, stepped before Caruso's camera and announced his readiness to begin posing.
Joe Weider told him he still needed more oil on his back. Arnold applied it. Now everyone was ready. Sergio hit his favorite poses, as instructed by Joe Weider. And as he posed, Joe applied the famous Weider touch that turns even the most ordinary picture into a masterpiece. "Lock the back leg!" "Tense your intercostals!" "Hold your head back slightly!" Each time we thought Sergio had hit the perfect pose, Joe showed us how unobservant we really were. If only Sergio could have the benefit of Joe's personal supervision for just three weeks before a contest he really would be unbeatable. It was hard to believe that the man who went through those poses that Sunday morning was the same Sergio Oliva of the night before. So many of us thought The Myth appeared smooth on stage. His abdominals seemed to lack definition and his thighs appeared over-bulky. W knew he could not have developed razor-sharp definition overnight. So how come he was now displaying striations from all angles? On Joe's instructions, Sergio tried some new poses that even Arnold could not believe. I cannot help but wonder what went on in the Austrian's mind as he watched Sergio in action before Caruso's camera. has he really accepted the fact that he actually beat Sergio Oliva for the Olympia title?
Last month, I wrote how Sergio mounted the posing platform a beaten man. I wrote that he lacked separation of muscle, that his intercostals and abdominals could have done with much more work, and that his posing lacked the finesse that is expected of a super star. Hundreds of Oliva's fans were disappointed in his performance. If only they could have seen their hero that Sunday morning! I now know that Sergio's physique is without a flaw. His shoulders, back and arms defy description and his thighs and calves are second to none. It is my opinion that Sergio lost the contest (and I believe it was an honest decision), because he still has not learned to control his muscles. He tenses his biceps and forgets to tense his legs, lats and midsection. He uses much more oil than is necessary. And his presentation is not near good enough. Not when the man competing against him is the perfectionist Arnold. Arnold still has a number of flaws in his physique. . and he will be the first to admit this. But he makes full use of his assets. He shows himself to best advantage at all times. Each pose is perfection. He comes on stage tanned, full of confidence, smiles to the audience. He looks every bit a winner He uses a minimum of oil.
Joe Weider also believes Sergio's is the most incredible physique on earth. And he bemoans the fact that Sergio's stage presentation is that of a rank beginner. He has yet to come to grips with the art of muscle control, an art that Arnold really could teach him!
Too soon, Sergio's posing session was over. I later accompanied him to a nearby French restaurant, perchance to hear his views concerning the biggest upset in the history of physique contests. Between mouthfuls of wine and steak, the man whom many thought unbeatable, the man whom I personally consider unbeatable when only sheer animalistic muscle is the criterion, spoke into my recorder. Sergio Oliva is quick to give credit to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He holds nothing against Arnold. In fact, he shared a hotel room with him after the big contest. He says that Arnold is the greatest bodybuilder in the world-next to himself!! And he believes Arnold beat him because the judging panel was composed of more Schwarzenegger fans than Oliva supporters. He would like to see more blacks sitting in the judges' seats. He points out that while he does not believe the IFBB judges would deliberately vote for a man mainly because he is white, they might be tempted to vote in favor of the contestant who most closely resembles their idea of male physical perfection. And that man is most likely to have a white skip. This is only natural, he says. Were the situation reversed, with the majority of the judges black, they might fall into the same trap and choose a black man for the same reasons!
It is worth noting that this was the same panel which chose Sergio over Arnold last year, the same panel which made him Mr. Olympia three years running. I pointed this out to Sergio and he shrugged his shoulders saying, "They could not pull the stunt last year since I was so far ahead. But Arnold had improved enough this year to make their decision less questionable!"
The ex-Mr. Olympia winner insists he is not anti-white. He simply believes that in a world such as we live in today, facts must be faced, even when they are unpleasant. And, in his opinion, there are those who believe a man cannot be physically perfect if he is non-white.
One might be tempted to call Sergio Oliva a sore loser, to label him a bad sport intent on making excuses for his bad showing in the Mr. Olympia contest. But the truth is he lost against the diminutive Bob Gadja, against Scott and Poole without making the observations listed above. Could it be that Sergio thought he was fairly beaten in the above contests? That the judges were fair to him until 1970? Let this be food for thought. I would very much like to hear from readers who were present at the big 1970 show.
Perhaps of greater interest to readers, is the fact that Sergio was sick in bed three or four weeks before the Olympia event. He had entered the Professional Mr. orld contest in Ohio while still recuperating from a bout of influenza. And he says that if he appeared lethargic at the Olympia contest it was because he had not fully recovered from the illness. He refuses to admit what many fellows thought on the night. That Arnold had psyched him out. By the way, Sergio does not think too much of the Ohio contest in which he was beaten by Arnold. He feels there were too many foreigners on that panel of judges!
Readers will no doubt note that Sergio Oliva appears to have lost much definition between the time of the Mr. World contest and the Mr. Olympia event. Having lost to Arnold in Ohio, one would have expected him to check out the reason. Oddly enough, he concluded that he was not heavy enough at the Mr. World contest! And so he packed on twelve more pounds for the Olympia. . . twelve pounds in just over two weeks. The pictures show clearly the effect those pounds had on his definition. Certainly, he could have done better at a lighter bodyweight!
At this point, 1 would like to give Sergio's answer to the people who booed him when it seemed he was walking away from the big battle with Arnold. You might recall I wrote how Sergio walked away from the posing platform, leaving Arnold on his own, during the pose-for-pose session. According to Sergio, he was busy throwing poses from all angles, as many as Arnold threw, when the Austrian suggested they should both leave the stage. He agreed, since he felt pretty tired out from his efforts. He started walking away, fully expecting Arnold to follow. Too late, he realized this was just another ruse to make him look bad in the eyes of judges and fans.
"Why should I run away from a man whom I certainly do not consider better than I?" he asks, not expecting an answer. He begged me to make it clear to the fans that he had not chickened out.
My next question was inevitable. Would he be returning to do battle in 1971? Sergio parried that one. It depends a lot on Elma, his wife, he replied. And anyway, he would have to do some more thinking.
At time of writing, Sergio says he will be back. He is most happy that the IFBB has revised its rules on judging and now looks forward to being appraised by even more competent judges. He expressed the hope that past black champions such as Art Harris, George Paine and Enrico Tomas might take time out on the big day to join the judging panel. He still believes that he was beaten unfairly, however.
I do not agree with all Sergio said. After holding a title such as the Mr. Olympia for three years it can't be an easy thing to suddenly find yourself without it. However, it would leave no room for unjust criticism if we did have a judging panel consisting of an even number of black and white experts. Not that I personally believe the question of race ever enters the minds of IFBB judges. Those of you who were at the show have already arrived at your own conclusions. Other readers may judge for themselves from the accompanying photographs. The Oliva-Schwarzenegger story is not quite finished. So far, it has been one to Arnold and one to Sergio. Next time, we'll know for sure who really is the greatest bodybuilder on earth. And no matter what excuses the losers come up with, that will be that!
- Sergio Oliva drops a word into Joe Weider's ear. Pity the two could not have got together before the big show!
- Possibly the three biggest bodybuilders in the world Dave Draper, (left to right) Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger stand before the judging panel at the MR. WORLD contests in Ohio.
- You pay your money and take your pick. The big three turns sideways for further comparison during the MR. WORLD contest in Ohio.
- Pity the poor judges. Sergio (center) claims the lighting was bad and the judging poor but some four thousand fans cheered the eventual winner of the MR. WORLD contest, Arnold Schwarzenegger (right).
- The incredible legs of Sergio Olvia show to great advantage in this picture. He is flanked by Dave Draper (left) and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Sergio packed on twelve pounds during the two weeks prior to the IFBB Mr. Olympia contest (on Arnold's suggestion) and it is plain to see his definition suffered as a results of the extra weight.
- Compare this picture with the one at left. Here Sergio weighs 220 lbs. Note the separations in his back, legs and arms at that bodyweight, then check-out left.
- Again when this picture is compared with the one at right, it is evident that Sergio lost much in the way of definition in the two weeks after the Ohio MR. WORLD contest. Picture taken at MR. OLYMPIA.
- This picture taken during the Ohio MR. WORLD contest, shows a massive but still defined Sergio. Two weeks later he weighed 232 lbs!
- It is Joe Weider's considered opinion that, had Sergio had the ability to balance his mass with definition and produce the utmost in MUSCLE DENSITY for his body, the results might have been different. Sergio needs to readjust his routines. In the past, he concentrated on mass; now he must keep his mass and chisel in the definition needed to build density. Arnold is a tough competitor and Sergio must be at his ultimate best to reverse the decision.
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