029. Arnold Speaks On His 1980 Comeback – The World Of Muscle

029. Arnold Speaks On His 1980 Comeback

Arnold’s Reasons For His 1980 Comeback

Just when you thought it was safe to move on from the 1980 Mr. Olympia…

A question from a reader sucked us right back into the thick of one of the most controversial Mr. Olympias ever!

Anthony Corradini asked Randy why he brushed over Arnold’s own remarks concerning his return to competition in 1980 in a 2007 interview with Pro Bodybuilding Weekly. 

Randy addresses Anthony’s pertinent question then responds in full (even throwing in some facts) to what the then governator had to say about his return to competition.

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Hosts: Randy Roach and Tamas Acs

Episode #29

Arnold’s Comeback

In This Episode:

Arnold’s February 2007 intrview with Pro Bodybuilding Weekly

Why did Arnold come back in 1980 to compete

What did Bill Pearl tell Arnold at the end of pre-judging

What was Randy’s opinion on Arnold’s condition

Similar circumstances with the 1975 Mr. Olympia

Iconic shots in bodybuilding

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Episode Summary

Anthony Corradini is thanked for bringing to Randy’s attention a 2007 interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Pro Bodybuilding Weekly

Anthony was curious as to why Randy did not include Arnold’s  comments about the 1980 Mr. Olympia

Randy at first was not aware of  the 2007 interview, but did recall hearing it 9 years ago after listening once again

Tamas played a clip from the show where Arnold spoke on why he competed in 1980

Randy had not begun researching the 1980 Mr. Olympia back in 2007 when he first listened to the show

After playing the clip, Randy elaborated on Arnold’s reasoning for his competition return

Did Arnold return for revenge on Frank Zane for embarrassing Arnold on CBS  television following Franks third Mr. Olympia victory

Was Arnold wanting to teach Boyer Coe and Mike Mentzer a lesson for criticizing  Arnold’s training

Did Arnold compete because filming for Conan the Barbarian was delayed

Was there further rasoning

It was discussed how Arnold’s return to bodybuilding at that time of his career could be argued as a backward step for him

Arnold’s strained relationship with Joe Weider during the later 1970s was brought up

Randy also took issue  with Arnold’s statements regarding Bill Pearl telling Arnold after the pre-judging that Arnold was in third place trailing by two points

Randy discussed the oddity of these statements as Arnold was never trailing in the contest and that Bill Pearl had stepped down as head judge

Arnold had kept his entry secret right up to contest time

Bill recused himself  when he learned of Arnold’s entry into the contest

Charles Gaines also declined to go to Australia when he learned of Arnold’s plans earlier that summer

Randy shares from Volume III, Book 1 how judges were swapped last minute

Arnold did not return to bodybuilding to lose

Similar thoughts surrounded the 1975 Mr. Olympia

Arnold was enticed out of retirement in 1974 by a big money offer from George Butler and Jerome Gary

Randy gave his opinion on Arnold in 1980

The cover of Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding depicts Arnold’s condition at the 1980 Mr. Olympia 

Randy conceded that the shot of Arnold on the cover of his first book, The Education of a Bodybuilder is still iconic as is the 1972 victory pose of Sergio Oliva

Tamas speculated on what that 2007 interview  may have looked like had Volume III, Book 1 of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors been out at that time

Randy shared how many had asked him if he would have liked an interview  with Arnold

Randy stated that his book is different because he was able to get important figures from Australia to speak for the first time publicly

Bodybuilders such as Danny Padilla, Tom Platz and Casey Viator felt Arnold still had enough to win

Vince Basile stated that Arnold looked better live due to his charisma, but the photos and slides did not show him as the winner

Tamas asked if anyone knew what had happened to the film footage shot by CBS television

Randy added how CBS had filmed an entire day in the lives of Boyer Coe, Mike Mentzer, Dennis Tinerino and Frank Zane

More was discussed on the judging discrepancies and the judges’ dilemma

Randy brought up how the mass equation had changed since Arnold had last competed…Mike Mentzer possibly weighing more than Arnold while standing almost six inches shorter

Randy’s Post  Podcast Comments:

In a late 2014 interview, Frank Zane told me that he had not heard Arnold Schwarzenegger speak negatively about anyone in the previous 10 years.  Frank was most likely correct as Arnold had become quite a seasoned politician through that span of time.  Arnold was in fact far more diplomatic in his February 2007 interview with Pro Bodybuilding Weekly about his rturn to bodybuilding in 1980 when compared    to what he told Charles Gaines in 1981:

“I wanted to have a good time with the whole thing. To go there, see them all be surprised, see them all freak out and have diarrhea, you know?  And be confused and be upset about it, and have a career that they had planned for themselves go down the tube in two seconds.” (“Pumping Iron: Revised”, 1981)


Randy updated listeners on his upcoming article for Joe Pietaro’s  MuscleSport magazine, “The American Muscle Monopoly”.  Randy and Tamas will do a show on this article when it is published later in April of 2016 

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Joe Breen

Great show guys, I remember there being an interview around that time, had I remembered I would have sent it to you. The point you made about Schwarzenegger being behind in a round that he should have won reminds me of the DeLahoya Trindad fight in 1999 when DeLahoya lost rounds he should have won and then won the 12thround on all three scorecards and I think on 2points on one scorecard and he didn’t throw a single punch. This is really good stuff, looking forward to your article Randy.


Apparently Arnold competed because the groom at his wedding Paul Graham was panicking, as he expected a big financial loss in Sydney, Australia. Arnold used his name as a draw card to help his best friend break even. Arnold’s cause was helped by a change in judges and the very moral Bill Pesrl withdrawing as chief judge, as his student Chris Dickerson was competing.. and was in immaculate condition and could have won.
The other competitors were deeply offended by Arnold’s win, and he walked terrified away from an angry Mike Mentzer.

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