The 1980 Mr. Olympia contest was one of the more controversial Mr. Olympias partially due to Arnold winning the contest with less overall size than the fans were used to. His legs, particularly his thighs, were not up to his previous Mr. Olympia levels. Also, by 1980 the number and quality of competitors had exploded. In Arnold’s previous contest, which was in 1975, there were 8 competitors. In 1980 the number doubled to 16. By the way, according to Muscle Memory, one of the 8 competitors in the 1975 Mr. Olympia was Giuseppe Deiana, who most people that follow bodybuilding have never heard of. I don’t recall seeing Guiseppe in Pumping Iron although Frank Zane wasn’t featured much either. Anyway, people had preconceived notions of how Arnold was supposed to look which could work for him or against him. On the one hand anything less than Arnold at his best would upset some of the crowd. On the other hand, this was Arnold, a superstar, and still the same guy with the same genetics, even if he was only at 80%. Another factor contributing to the controversy, other than Arnold’s friends being some of the judges, was the level of Arnold’s competition. The bodybuilding gene pool had increased to the point where, contrary to the 1975 Mr. Olympia, Schwarzenegger was unsure whether he would win or not, although he did not display that behavior on stage. Who should have won in 1980 is still hotly debated to this day.
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