The 1968 IFBB Mr. Universe

Frank Zane vs Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger on his defeat by Frank Zane

I arrived in Florida still totally confident. I felt I was ready. I’d just won in London and the heat of victory was in my blood. At the contest, people immediately crowded around to have a look at my body. The Americans had never seen me and they were amazed by my size.

When I went out to pose there was a strange silence, which puzzled me. I realized people were studying me. I gave them the biceps. Someone gasped. I could feel the crowd on the edges of their seats. It hit me then that this was America. I rose up and expanded every muscle fiber in my body. The crowd sensed it and cheered. I heard Americans shouting “Arnold!” I felt fantastic.

It wasn’t until the pose-off that I realized how close a contest it was. There were guys here I’d never seen before. Frank Zane, in the medium class, had unbelievable cuts and an elegant posing routine. He posed gracefully, like a matador, like a dancer. His body seemed to have been tooled down with the chisels and gouges a sculptor would use on mahogany. The announcer called my name for second place. I was stunned. Frank Zane had won the IFBB Mr. Universe.

I came in second, on grounds that I was not defined enough, not perfectly developed. I was just the biggest, not the best.

That did a little number on my mind. I went away from the auditorium overwhelmed, crushed. I remember the words that kept going through my head: “I’m away from home, in this strange city, in America, and I’m a loser….” I cried all night because of it. I had disappointed all my friends, everybody, especially myself. It was awful. I felt it was the end of the world.

But I’ve always been resilient. A day later I had gotten myself together. I’m going to get them back, I thought. I’m going to show them who is really the best.

I would train in America. I would use their food and their knowledge and work it against them. I would make it in America too.

About Yegor Khzokhlachev 820 Articles
Gorilla at Large

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