Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Early Influences

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born in Graz, Austria, on July 30, 1947, and the city of Graz would play a unique role in shaping his early years. Graz, as the capital of Styria and the second-largest city in Austria, boasts a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant atmosphere. It’s a city of history and innovation, where old-world charm harmoniously coexists with contemporary progress.

In his formative years, Schwarzenegger was like any other young individual with dreams and aspirations. He found inspiration not in the scenic landscapes of Graz but within the dimly lit theaters that showcased action heroes of his time. Among these cinematic giants were Reg Park, Steve Reeves, and Johnny Weissmuller, figures whose on-screen feats captured the young Schwarzenegger’s imagination.

Steve Reeves, in particular, held a special place in his heart. Schwarzenegger once remarked, “As a teenager, I grew up with Steve Reeves. His remarkable accomplishments allowed me a sense of what was possible, when others around me didn’t always understand my dreams. Steve Reeves has been part of everything I’ve ever been fortunate enough to achieve.” Reeves served as a beacon of possibility, igniting in the young Arnold the belief that greatness could be attained, even when the world around him may not fully comprehend his ambitions.

But it wasn’t just Steve Reeves who left an indelible mark on Schwarzenegger’s aspirations. He also looked up to Reg Park, a man whose rugged and powerful physique became the embodiment of Schwarzenegger’s aspirations. The young Schwarzenegger made a conscious decision to follow in Park’s footsteps. “I knew that would be me. I would look like Reg Park. I studied every move he made, every gesture,” he once reflected. Reg Park’s image became his ideal, a representation of the sheer power and masculinity he aimed to attain.

While many of his peers may have held Steve Reeves in high regard, Schwarzenegger harbored different desires. “Reg Park had more of a rough look, a powerful look, while Steve Reeves seemed elegant, smooth, polished. I knew in my mind that I was not geared for elegance. I wanted to be massive,” he explained. To him, the distinction was akin to that between cologne and sweat, with the latter being his preferred path to greatness.

In this way, Graz, the city where Schwarzenegger spent his youth, served as the backdrop for the emergence of his dreams and the determination to achieve them. Through the influences of cinematic icons like Steve Reeves and Reg Park, he embarked on a journey that would lead him to become one of the most recognizable and iconic figures in the realms of bodybuilding and film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Gallery

Schwarzenegger vs Reeves and Park

Actually Steve Reeves is one of few and possibly the only bodybuilder who looked like he would later look when he was only 15 years old. Schwarzenegger trained to become what he was but Reeves was born that way. The following is a quote regarding Steve Reeves by bodybuilder and gym owner George Eiferman.

A few days before the (Mr. America) contest we heard rumors about a man who had throngs of people following him along the Lake Michigan beachfront, and we couldn’t imagine who could draw crowds by merely walking along the beach!

-George Eiferman, Mr. America

Steve Reeves played Hercules in 1958 and 1959. When Reeves moved on to other roles, Reg Park took over the Hercules role starting in 1961. Reeves and Park were bigger stars in Europe than in the United States. Reeves, at one point, was the highest-paid actor in Europe. Schwarzenegger identified more with Reg Park because he believed his build was similar to his own and looking like Reeves would be impossible. Park’s Hercules movies were, in my opinion, on par production-wise with Reeves‘ Hercules movies. They were all Italian productions with some of the same crew. Read a Built Report article on Reg Park’s Hercules in the Haunted World here.

Schwarzenegger started lifting weights at around age 14 which would have been around 1961, which was the year that Reg Park began his movie career. A few years later in 1966, when Reg Park was doing a Wag Bennett produced exhibition in the UK, Schwarzenegger met Park who became his friend and mentor.

In 1970 Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated Reg Park at the NABBA Pro Mr Universe in London. This article contains a direct quote attributed to Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding being “the one to burst the Reg Park bubble” competition-wise, which was part of an article published in the May 1971 issue of Joe Weider’s Muscle Builder magazine. According to Reg Park’s son, Jon Jon, although Arnold admitted to taking steroids, his dad was “clean his whole career. He refused to subject himself to that.” Steve Reeves also stated that he never took steroids and if you look at early pictures of Reeves and see how far along he was at age 15, it is not too naive to believe that he may never have taken steroids. But let face it, even with bodybuilder’s physiological responses to steroids, some are genetically suited to respond WAY better to them than others. So, someone with good natural genetics and good steroid response genetics will beat someone with good natural genetics but mediocre steroid response genetics. It still boils down to genetics on some level.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Contest History


Mr Europe (1), Winner
Mr Universe – NABBA, Tall, 2nd


Mr Universe – NABBA, Tall, 1st
Mr Universe – NABBA, Overall Winner


Universe – IFBB, 2nd
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Overall Winner


Mr Europe – IFBB, Tall, 1st
Mr Europe – IFBB, Overall Winner
Mr International – IFBB, Tall, 1st
Mr International – IFBB, Overall Winner
Olympia – IFBB, 2nd
Universe – IFBB, Overall Winner
Universe – IFBB, Tall, 1st
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Overall Winner


Olympia – IFBB, Winner
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st
Universe – Pro – NABBA, Overall Winner
Mr World – AAU, Pro Tall, 1st
Mr World – AAU, Professional Overall Winner


Olympia – IFBB, Winner


Olympia – IFBB, Winner


Olympia – IFBB, Winner


Olympia – IFBB, HeavyWeight, 1st
Olympia – IFBB, Overall Winner


Olympia – IFBB, HeavyWeight, 1st
Olympia – IFBB, Overall Winner


Olympia – IFBB, Winner

About Yegor Khzokhlachev 820 Articles
Gorilla at Large

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