Monday, October 13, 2014

1980 Mr. Olympia: Fair or fixed?

Was 1980 Mr. Olympia fixed? Did Arnold Schwarzenegger really win the Olympia that night? Were Frank Zane and Tom Platz better than Arnold that night? The 1980 Olympia raised so many questions and eye brows that night, which is still the most controversial Olympia till date. We take a look back at the history and what happened that Olympia night.

Arnold who had told everyone that he will be at the Mr. Olympia to do the commentary at the  show, decided to compete in the event. All the while people speculated that he was in competition shape and might compete, but no one was sure as Arnold brushed it off saying that he was getting in shape for the movie “Conan the Barbarian” .The contest was being held in Sydney, Australia, it was produced by Arnold’s good friend Paul Graham. The contest had some real tough competitors like Zane who was already the reigning Mr. Olympia from last year, there was Mike Mentzer, Tom Platz, and Chris Dickinson. Zane despite injury decided to compete in the show based on Arnold’s advice. Mentzer was in a great shape and hope to win the title; Tom Platz was looking to make an upset at that year Mr. Olympia by defeating last year’s winner Frank Zane.

All of these Top competitors had their own agenda based on previous years Mr. Olympia and had no clue Arnold would compete and that too at a stage where he had retired from the competitive bodybuilding after being the undisputed king of the sport for many years. I think what upset the most of the competitors, was that Arnold had it all 7 times Mr. Olympia, 5 times Mr. Universe and he had moved on to achieve bigger and better things like to make it in Hollywood. Why would Arnold; who had everything would come and take way what they wanted so badly. That created lot of resentment and to some degree it was fear that he would take way the title, this mixed feeling lit the light for the controversy which was in the making.

Some of the things which contributed to the 1980 Olympia controversy were:

Competitors felt Arnold should have register to compete a month before like the other bodybuilder rather than making a last minute entry to compete.

Mike Mentzer and Arnold had a fight which almost got physical and which left a bitter taste in mike’s life, resulting in his retirement from bodybuilding.

Most of the judges were friends or somehow associated with Arnold thus influenced the outcome of the contest.

IFBB bent the rules because it was Arnold.

Yes, the competition was controversial, Arnold didn't look nor had the great physique he had 5 or 6 years ago. Hey but still he is “Arnold” the Austrian Oak, he was cut and still big had the charisma and most importantly experience. Some of the people competing in that show idolized him so they never believed that they can beat him. I would say it was close between Arnold, Tom Platz and Zane, But Zane Looked lighter compared to the other two. Arnold was the tallest in the competition had a great chest, ripped abs and the show stealing arms. I do believe Arnold did win the competition and he did win it fair and square. Why he competed and took away what the other competitors wanted so badly, only Arnold could answer that question.  


  1. Well written! I've watched people yell and push over this argument, great topic!

  2. If you enter a competition, you should be ready to win or lose. If the other competitors weren't ready, they should not have entered.

  3. In terms of the upper body, Arnold still looked very good and appeared to be the most massive up top. The legs did not look on par with the rest, but that never seemed to hold him back in previous competitions.

    The win was and is still questionable
    Should he have won? For the upper body yes- for the legs, no.