Khirul Alam

Mike Mentzer vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Real Story Behind Golden Era Bodybuilding Rivalry

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bodybuilding Rivalry, IFBB, Mike Mentzer, Mr Olympia

Few rivalries in bodybuilding history have been as divisive and publicized as the one between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Mentzer. Fans and competitors alike will never forget their titanic match at the 1980 Mr. Olympia in Sydney, Australia. This article explores the background of the 1980 Mr. Olympia, the great rivalry that developed between these two iconic figures, and the dramatic competition that followed.

The Iconic Conflict Between Arnold and Mike

Very few bodybuilding rivalries can claim the legendary status of the one between Mike Mentzer and Arnold Schwarzenegger. From their days of competing on stage to their acrimonious interviews, these two legendary figures in the fitness sector appeared destined for discord. But what kindled their hostility?

Different Philosophies: Mike Mentzer argued for High-Intensity Training (HIT), emphasizing the importance of generating the most muscle stimulation in the shortest amount of time. On the other hand, Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted intense training because he saw bodybuilding as an art form that needed careful shaping and sculpting.

Differing Personalities: Schwarzenegger’s gregarious charisma clashed with Mentzer’s more contemplative and analytical style. Schwarzenegger embraced the glitz and glamour of bodybuilding, while Mentzer questioned conventional wisdom.

The Fierce Battle

Their rivalry reached its zenith during the 1980 Mr. Olympia. Tensions increased as rumors surfaced about Schwarzenegger making a comeback after a five-year absence. As the competition progressed, claims of foul play surfaced, and contentious choices sparked discussions and accusations of insider trading within the IFBB.

Beyond Competition: Their competing training philosophies were just one aspect of their rivalry that went beyond the stage. Tensions behind closed doors increased, and Arnold’s insulting comments almost started a fight. A shadow was cast over the sport when the 1980 Mr. Olympia descended into chaos.

A Dark Day for Bodybuilding

Controversy marred the event, with some competitors alleging judging bias. Corruption allegations swirled, escalating the debate over who truly deserved victory. The 1980 Mr. Olympia remains a contentious issue, with fans divided on the outcome.


As we reflect on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Mentzer’s dramatic showdown, let us remember their passion and dedication to bodybuilding. Despite their differences, both athletes pushed the sport’s boundaries and inspired future generations of fitness enthusiasts.

Who do you think deserved to win the 1980 Mr. Olympia? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And don’t forget to like, subscribe, and click the notification bell to stay up to date on everything Hercules Bodybuilding. Until next time, keep pushing your limits and following your passion for fitness!

Leave a Comment