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Notes on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s competitive bodybuilding history 1963-1966

Compiled by David C. New, 29th January 2005 (with updates), Hong Kong

Article also includes

Notes on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s competitive weightlifting and
powerlifting history 1963 - 1968 


1963 Steirer Hof Hotel competition (2nd, Graz)

1964 Mr. Steiermark (4th, 26th April, Graz)

1964 Mr. Herkules (3rd, 26th April, Graz)

1964 Mr. Austria (3rd, 26th April, Graz)

1965 Mr. Steiermark (1st, Spring)

1965 Best Built Junior Athlete of Europe (1st, 31st Oct, Stuttgart)

1966 NABBA Mr. Universe (2nd Amateur, Class 1, 24th Sep, London)

1966 VDH-IFBB Best Built International Athlete (1st, 9th Oct, Cologne)

1966 Best Built Athlete of Europe (1st, 30th Oct, Stuttgart)


(Contests in bold have been confirmed from original reports and/or photographs)


Contests in Austria


-Steirer Hof Hotel competition (1963). Joe Roark reported Arnold taking 2nd place at age 15 in the spring of 1963 (M&F, Jul 1997, p. 72; Flex, Jul 1999, p.158). However, Joe’s source was Wendy Leigh’s biography, in which Karl Gerstl told the author that Arnold was, ‘a runner up’ in his first contest at the Steirer Hof Hotel. As she was not specific on the date, it is possible that Gerstl may have been referring to the 1964 contests, particularly as the two photos used by Wendy Leigh to illustrate Arnold’s first contest were taken at the 1964 contests (see next section). If so, perhaps Arnold didn’t compete in the 1963 bodybuilding contests. Although, Mr. Austria/Styria/Herkules contests were often held at the Steirer Hof hotel, Graz and Arnold may have entered one or more of these. I have a full set of Der Muskelbilder from 1963 but, unfortunately, these contests weren’t covered, even though the magazine reported on these contests in 1962 and 1964.


-Mr. Steiermark, Mr. Herkules and Mr. Austria (26th April 1964). The original reports of these 3 contests appeared in Der Muskelbilder (issue Nr. 21). They all took place on the same day at the Steirer Hof hotel, Graz. In the Mr. Steiermark (Styria), Arnold was 4th, Harald Maurer 1st, Adolf Zigner 2nd and Harald Gobetz 3rd. In the Mr. Herkules, Arnold came 3rd, Helmut Cerncic 1st and Zigner 2nd. In the Mr. Austria, 1st-Kurt Marnul, 2nd-Helmut Cerncic, 3rd-Arnold. The photos printed in the Der Muskelbilder and elsewhere make it absolutely clear that Arnold was competitor no. 6 and 10 at two of the contests. As far as I can tell, Arnold was competitor no. 6 for the Mr. Austria and no. 10 for the Mr. Herkules. I am not certain but I suspect that he was no. 15 for the Mr. Steiermark contest (coincidently, there were 15 entrants in this contest but Arnold’s number isn’t clear in the photos of the line-up that I have).

Competitor No. 6 (Mr. Austria)


Competitor No. 10 (Mr. Herkules)


Competitor No. 15 (Mr. Steiermark)


  NOTE: Albert Busek has written (H&S, 30th March 1967; Kraftsport Revue, Nr. 30) that Arnold came 3rd in the 1964 Mr. Austria and won the Jr. Mr. Austria. Furthermore, from the Graz local government web site on awarding Arnold the town’s ring of honour, "In 1963, he participated in his first bodybuilding competitions which were held in Graz. In 1964 he succeeded in winning the title of Austrian Junior Champion in this discipline.” The original report does not mention a junior contest. Perhaps, as Arnold was the only teenager in the top three of the Mr. Austria, someone decided retrospectively that he should be credited with a junior title.

            In ‘Education of a bodybuilder’, Arnold wrote (towards the end of chapter 1), ‘But my first goal was to win Mr. Austria (in the end, I never even entered the contest – by then circumstances had already taken me beyond it)’.


-Mr. Steiermark/Styria (Spring 1965). Albert Busek reported that Arnold won this contest (H&S, 30th March 1967; Kraftsport Revue, Nr. 30), which was probably held in Graz with the annual Mr. Herkules and Mr. Austria contests.

Unidentified contest photos from Austria

-No competitor number. Arnold isn’t wearing a number but in the BBC documentary ‘Arnie’s Millions’, Kurt Marnul’s translator pointed to the picture of the line-up and said it was Arnold’s second contest and he came 5th (Marnul won). In the line-up picture, Arnold looks too well developed to have come 5th. This may have been the 1965 Mr. Steiermark contest.





Contests in Germany


-Best Built Junior Athlete of Europe (31st October 1965). Held in Stuttgart and organized by Peter Gottlob and Albert Busek, the contest was first advertised in Kraftsport revue (issue Nr. 16). The contest report appeared in Kraftsport revue (issue Nr. 19). As also reported by Busek (H&S, 30th Mar 1967), Franz Dischinger, a German who later became Arnold's training partner in Munich, placed 2nd and is standing to Arnold’s right. Helmut Fluck, in 3rd place, is standing on Arnold’s left.



The name of the contest was Bestgebauter Juniorenathlet (Best Built Junior Athlete).


-NABBA Universe (24th September 1966). Original reports appeared in H&S, Ironman, Muscular Development and Kraftsport revue (Nr. 28 & 29).


-Best Built International Athlete (9th October 1966). Held in Cologne and organized by the VDHev and IFBB organizations. The contest reports appeared in Der Muskelbilder (Nr. 43) and Kraftsport revue (Nr. 28). The name of the contest was ‘die Internationale Wahl des Bestgebauten Athleten’. Albert Busek also mentioned this contest in H&S (30th Mar 1967). Franz Dischinger and Franco Columbu also competed and Larry Scott guest posed. Larry Scott’s wife presented Arnold with his trophy. Guiseppe Deiana was 2nd, Franco was 4th and Dischinger won the junior class.

   This contest was the same as that captured by British Pathe newsreel and called ‘Mr. Muscles’. British Pathe incorrectly dated this as the 23rd October but Arnold was actually in East Berlin on the 23rd (see Miscellaneous notes below). Strangely, Arnold has the film on his website along with the following description, ‘Although our hero gave it his all, he was not crowned Mr. Muscles that year’.

More pictures of Arnold, Scott and Dischinger at this contest were published in H&S (14th Sep 67, p.21; 6th Jul 67, p.34; 8th Jun 67, centre spread; 18th Jan 1968, p.18-19), Athletik Sportrevue (Nr. 1, spring 1967, p. 19-22), Kraftsport revue (Nr. 31, Feb/Mar 1967, p. 21) and Body Builder (Nr. 24, Sep 1973, p. 17).


-Best Built Athlete of Europe (30th October 1966). Kraftsport revue (Aug/Sep 1966, Nr. 26, pages 6 and 16) reported that a Bestgebauter Athlet contest was due to be held in Stuttgart on the 30th October. The contest was organized by Peter Gottlob and Kraftsport revue magazine. Reports of Arnold’s victory appeared in Kraftsport revue (Nr. 28-30). Albert Busek also reported that Arnold won in H&S (30th Mar 1967). Both of these photos were taken at this contest (in the first the backstage curtains are partially drawn). Riedmeier was 2nd, Said 3rd, Franco 4th. Dischinger won the junior class. Arnold won the heavyweight powerlifting competition at the same event (Kraftsport revue Nr. 30).


The first photo is often mislabeled as the 1965 Jr. Mr. Europe contest.


Miscellaneous notes:


1) This photo appeared in ‘Education of a bodybuilder’ and was described as the 1966 Mr. Europe. It was in fact a studio shot. Arnold is holding a NABBA Universe trophy. Another photo from this shoot was used in Kraftsport revue throughout 1968 to advertise Arnold’s gym in Munich. Other shots showed Arnold using some chest expanders (Kraftsport revue Nr. 43)



2) Dianne and Wag Bennett published a photo of Arnold in Bodypower magazine (Jul 1988). The photo was labeled as the 1965 Jr. Mr. Europe. It clearly wasn’t and looked more like a shot from 1966 or possibly 1967.



3) In English language publications we are told by Arnold that BEFORE the 1966 Universe he won Mr. Europe and Best Built Man competitions. In fact, he said that because he won the Best Built Man competition the organisers of Mr. Europe withdrew their offer to send him to the Universe. There are no reports of these contests and I suspect that Arnold was actually referring to the 9th and 30th October competitions.


4) Arnold describes, in ‘Education of a bodybuilder’, winning a contest in Essen shortly after the Universe, at which a judge jumped on stage to measure his arm. There are no reports of this competition and Arnold may have been referring to an, as yet, unidentified guest posing.


5) Bob Gajda has said that he beat Arnold at the 1966 FIHC World Physique Championships in East Berlin (23rd October). The original contest report appeared in Kraftsport revue (Nr. 29), making it clear that Arnold was the guest poser and not a competitor. Albert Busek informed Joe Roark that Arnold was not allowed to compete as he was not sent by a German or Austrian bodybuilding organization. A list of the first seven place winners was also published in IronMan magazine (Jan 1967, vol. 26/2, p.18). A picture of Arnold guest posing appeared in Bodypower magazine (Jul 1988).



7) I have a complete set of Kraftsport revue from 1967. There are no reports of Arnold competing in German bodybuilding competitions in 1967. Although, in FLEX (May 2005, p. 102) Albert Busek contributed a photo of Arnold and Dischinger doing side chest poses. The caption read, ‘1967, Munich- Arnold competes against German champ Franz Dischinger’. Dischinger won the junior class at the 1967 Mr. Germany contest and Arnold guest posed. Perhaps this photograph was taken then (2nd April 1967).


Notes on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s competitive weightlifting and powerlifting history

Compiled by David C. New, 18th June 2005, Hong Kong


1963 Olympic Lifting Competition (placing unknown, early 1963, Graz)

1964 Styrian Junior Weightlifting Champion (1st, Autumn)

1965 Austrian Olympic Lifting Champion (1st, Heavyweight, Summer)

1966 International Powerlifting Champion (1st, 80+ kg, 30th Oct, Stuttgart)

1967 German Powerlifting Championships (2nd, 80+ kg, 2nd Apr, Munich)

1967 Graz Paradise Keller Lifting Championships (2nd, Dec)

1968 German Powerlifting Champion (1st, 80+ kg, 5th May, Munich)


(Contests in bold have been confirmed from original reports)




1963 Olympic lifting competition. In an interview with Peter McGough (M&F, July 1997, p. 60), Arnold told of competing in a competition at a beer hall in Graz in early 1963. This was apparently Arnold’s first contest. He lifted 165 lbs overhead, beating his previous best of 150 lbs. It is not clear whether this was a jerk or a press.


1964 Styrian Junior weightlifting championships. Albert Busek’s article on Arnold (Kraftsport revue Nr. 30, Jan 1967) states that Arnold was the Steirischer Jugendmeister in the Autumn of 1964. The winning weight is given as 280 kg (616 lbs). However, the English version of Busek’s article (H&S 30th March 1967) claims a total of 705 lbs. Neither article is clear about which lifts were included.


1965 Austrian Olympic lifting championships. Arnold states in ‘Education of a Bodybuilder’ that before he was 18 he had won the heavyweight division of the Austrian Olympic lifting championships. Busek also wrote (Kraftsport revue Nr. 30; H&S 30th March 1967) that by the summer of 1965, Arnoldoccupied an undisputed first place in the list of Austrian weightlifters’. The impression given in ‘Education of a Bodybuilder’ was that this was Arnold’s last Olympic lifting competition.

   The H&S article reported best lifts of, Press 264 lbs, Snatch 243 lbs and C&J 298 lbs. There was no suggestion that these were the lifts from the 1965 Austrian contest.


1966 International powerlifting championships. Results of the Internationale Meisterschaft Kraftdreikampf appeared in Kraftsport revue (Nr. 30, p. 36-37). Arnold won, Michelik Stanko was 2nd and Leo Pelekies 3rd. Arnold’s lifts were, Deadlift 250 kg, Bench 165 kg and Squat 170 kg. The original contest report gave the total as 585kg, Busek’s H&S article reported 1290 lbs.


1967 German powerlifting championships. Results appeared in Kraftsport revue Nr. 34 (p. 34-35). Arnold came 2nd to Georg Schipper, Klaus Schumann was 3rd. Arnold’s lifts were, Bench 170 kg (374 lbs), Squat 200 kg (440 lbs), Deadlift 280 kg (616 lbs). A photo of Arnold deadlifting at this event was published in FLEX (May 2005) but incorrectly dated as 1966. I have the results for the 1966 competition. Arnold did not compete, although he was one of the guest posers.


1967 Graz Paradise Keller lifting Championships. Wendy Leigh reported that Arnold lost to Helmut Cerncic. Apparently, Kurt Marnul, Karl Kainrath and Adolf Ziegner also competed.


1968 German powerlifting championships. A brief summary of the results was given in Kraftsport revue (Nr. 45, p. 38). These indicated that Arnold deadlifted 310 kg for a total of 725 kg. Full results were promised for issue nr. 46, which I don’t have. However, Thomas Klose has previously told us that the full results were later reprinted as, Squat 215 kg, Bench 200 kg and Deadlift 310 kg.

   The impression given in ‘Education of a Bodybuilder’ was that this was Arnold’s last powerlifting competition.

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