1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy


Do you want to know about the 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy? Read on to take a closer look about this controversy. The 1980 Mr. Olympia competition was an ‘IFBB Professional Body Building Competition’, which was held in October 1980 at Sydney Opera House in Australia. This event is considered among the most debated and controversial contests in the history of bodybuilding.

About Mr. Olympia 1980

The controversy involves Arnold Schwarzenegger. While he was training for an acting role, Arnold shocked the people of the bodybuilding industry by retiring then entering the ‘Mr. Olympia competition’ one day before the said event and just after being trained for only 8 weeks prior. During that time, Frank Zane was the defending three times Mr. Olympia Champion. He entered the 1980 competition after he recovered from a life threatening injury. Although Frank Zane had recovered his muscularity from the previous year was missing. There are also other excellent participants such as Mike Mentzer, Boyer Coe, and Chris Dickerson. They are all in exceptional condition, the very reason why the 1980 Mr. Olympia is considered as among the best and most competitive contests.

In the end, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the competition. And this decision was widely criticized by competitors and attendees alike since he lacked his muscular definition and size. Lots of people from the audiences booed when the result was announced. Dickerson, one of the participants, can’t believe he had just accepted the runner up position. Mentzer tied in scoring landing to the fourth place, but Mentzer was entitled with the 5th place award. Mentzer believe that he was cheated and was victimized by conspiracy and politics. The resulting 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy and the loss had an extremely huge impact on Mentzer both professionally and personally. And he never again competed in the professional body building competition.

A Closer Look

Whatever the misconceptions and facts, the right and wrongs, and the myths and theories surrounded the competition, a lot of people especially the avid fans of bodybuilding world believe that there really is something about the 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy that should be talked about.

After the competition, most of the competitors agreed to boycott 1981 contest. Another thing, the CBS Television watched the contest and filmed it but they agreed not to show or air the competition on television contrary to what they have planned.


Well, that’s what happened during the 1980 Mr. Olympia award that gained controversies and debates from people. But at the end of the day, this contest is still considered among the most controversial yet exciting bodybuilding competitions ever recorder in the sports history. Throughout the years and up until now, the said event is still discussed and highly debated on almost all bodybuilding forums across the different parts of the globe. Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite what happened has achieved a superstar figure as among the largest movie stars.

Contestants from the 1980 Mr. Olympia wishes not to discuss the matter ever again and they have moved on and looked forward to living their own lives. For most of the bodybuilding fans, however, discussions and controversies regarding the 1980 Mr. Olympia controversy will never stop.