- May 11, 2012
The 1975 Mr. Olympia contest was the 11th Mr. Olympia competition. It was the main event of the 1975 International Congress of the International Federation of Bodybuilders, held in Pretoria, South Africa, from November 4–11, 1975.
The competition was filmed for the 1977 bodybuilding docudrama Pumping Iron. It followed Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno as they prepared for the competition. The film's success made Arnold Schwarzenegger an international celebrity. It contributed to his success as a Hollywood actor. It also helped establish bodybuilding as a professional sport, even though it was released two years after the event.
The 1975 Mr. Olympia was one of the most extraordinary Mr. Olympia events ever. Many reasons turned the already prestigious Mr. Olympia event into a legend. We are going to discuss some events here.
The Olympia went global.
One of the significant reasons that set the 1975 Mr. Olympia apart was the change of venue. For the first time, the Mr. Olympia competition was held in a foreign country in Pretoria, South Africa.
This was a significant shift, demonstrating the IFBB's global reach over the previous decade. Besides, the IFBB Mr. Universe and the prestigious Mr. Olympia competitions were held on the same night.
Pumping Iron was filmed.
The 1975 Mr. Olympia competition served as the inspiration for director George Butler's new bodybuilding documentary. "Pumping Iron" is the title of George's new film.
The documentary "Pumping Iron" was filmed both onstage and backstage during the competition. In 1977, the film was released, putting bodybuilding on the map.
He chose the same title as the best-selling book he and his partner, Charles Gaines, had published only a year before.
Nobody could have predicted that the film "Pumping Iron" would become a classic. Instead, the film has defined the sport of bodybuilding for decades.
More Competitors Compete than Ever Before
Mr. Olympia 1975 was also significant because it was the largest competition in ten years since it began. Also, it was rumored that the previous year's champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would not compete this year due to his burgeoning acting career. As a result, more competitors than ever before showed up to compete for the most prestigious title in bodybuilding.
Division Split and rivalry between friends
The 1975 Mr. Olympia was held in two weight divisions, continuing the new rule from the previous year:
Under 200 Pounds Division and Class for people weighing over 200 pounds. A total of six competitors competed in the Under 200 Pound division. In addition, three competitors signed up to compete in the Over 200 Pound Class. This represents a significant increase in competitors compared to the previous two years. The first one to take the stage was Mr. Universe because the competition began in 1975 with the Mr. Universe contest. There were some surprises in both the under and over 200-pound weight classes on both sides of the competition. A rivalry explicitly created for the film would cause controversy in that Mr. Universe competition.
In a friendly pose-off, Arnold and Franco, best friends and opposite-height rivals, competed for the Mr. Olympia title. Everyone assumed Arnold, the reigning champion, would win the event for the sixth and final time.
The controversies with the event
The selection of the American Team to compete in the Mr. Universe that year sparked some debate. For the Mr. Universe competition, each country was required to send competitors in each weight class. They were only allowed to compete one class at a time:
Yet, the American Team had entered four competitors.
Danny Padilla, the overall winner of the IFBB Mr. USA competition, was eligible to compete in the Mr. Universe competition. He would be competing in the Lightweight division. Robby Robinson, who was the 1975 IFBB Mr. America and Mr. World champion, competed in the middleweight division of the Mr. Universe competition.
The controversy primarily focused on the American bodybuilder who competed in the Heavyweight Class.
In 1975, Ken Waller was chosen to compete in the Mr. Universe Heavyweight Class. He obtained the second position in the Mr. Universe competition the previous two years and had won the IFBB Mr. World title in 1973.
Mike Katz was unexpectedly chosen as a competitor for Mr. Universe that year. Mike was not eligible for the contest. This is because he had not won any competition held in 1975.
Katz's most recent competition victory came in 1972 at the IFBB Mr. World competition. In 1973, he finished third in the Mr. Universe competition and second in the Mr. International competition in 1974. Mike Katz was rumored to have been chosen to compete in Mr. Universe to create an exciting story for the film "Pumping Iron."
America lost in the Lightweight Class. The American Team had to eliminate one of their competitors because Mike Katz was now in the competition. Just as Danny Padilla was about to take the stage, he was told he couldn't compete. Instead, Padilla possessed a fantastic physique and would have easily won the Lightweight division.
Instead, he was forced to sit in the stands and watch England's Wilfred Sylvester win.
The great muscular body of Robby Robinson easily defeated Albert Beckles of England in the Middleweight Class.
Beckles was a surprise entry in the competition, as he had previously won the IFBB Mr. Universe overall title in 1971. He was also participating in the Mr. Olympia competition that weekend. It was also interesting that he decided to compete in the amateur Mr. Universe competition.
The 1975 Mr. Universe Heavyweight Class was fiercely contested.
Ken Waller took first place, as expected. Roger Walker, Australia's heavily muscled bodybuilder, finished a disappointing second. Paul Grant of Wales came in third, with Mike Katz in fourth place, much to the dismay of many. "Pumping Iron's" cameras captured all the action, both backstage and onstage.
Wrapping it up, the 1975 Mr. Olympia is one of the most memorable and eventful Mr. Olympia to this day. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed 225 pounds, about 12 pounds less than he did the year before. With his incredible physique, great muscle mass and separation, and masterful posing ability, Arnold won the competition for the 6th time, keeping up to everyone's expectations.
Pumping Iron depicted the build-up to the 1975 Mr. Olympia in Pretoria, South Africa. It helped launch Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno's acting careers. Considering everything, 1985, Mr. Olympia was a treat for the eyes, and it had changed the world of bodybuilding in remarkable ways.
Be sure to check out our other threads on the 1975 Olympia!
1975 Olympia Pictures and Results
The 1975 Olympia