Friday, May 20, 2011

THE RUNNER STUMBLES: Arnold and Maria…better times in Toronto—30 years ago

TAKEN IN REXDALE, sometime mid 1980, at Vic Tannys, in the very same plaza that William Shatner shot one of his famous commercials for Loblaws. And this plaza was across the street, and down the hill from the former secretive Briarcrest mansion—the last hold-out of the Arrow and Avro Canada.

The 80s. Weightlifting. Health food. Girls. Not enough, girls.

No matter.

Heady days indeed, even, for me.

But this piece is about Arnold—not me.

Even 30 years ago Arnold was no stranger to controversy. At this bodybuilding event, Arnold announced he could come back and beat anybody, anybody, in the highly competitive world of bodybuilding with only 6 weeks of training. Everyone, some very serious bodybuilders were in attendance, became instantly enraged! To Arnold's delight. Soon derogatory comments were hurled back at Arnold. Even more to Arnold's delight. Rarely have I seen Canadians act in such unison. Schwarzenegger had long retired from the barbell scene five years previous, when he had won his 5th, and final Mr Olympia.

Still, the rumors started.


Was Arnold coming back? Would he compete in the 1980 Mr Olympia? Arnie had been seen training but that was for one of his cheesy movies right? Right?!?!? And why was the Austrian Oak pumping iron all covered up—so no one could see what he looked like?

True to form Arnold did come back 12 weeks later—and he did win his sixth Olympia!

Everyone said the contest was rigged.

Mike Mentzer, who had won the Mr Universe contest, the previous year, with a perfect score of 300 (which has never been done since) swore he would never compete in bodybuilding again. There was no way Arnold should have beaten Mike. And although everyone tried to reason with Mike about the unfairness of life etc., true to his word he walked away from the sport, and never. Competed. Again.

The scandalosa would be re-visited through the years, but when Mike's brother Ray became quite sick and was near death, Arnold called the hospital and told Ray that if he needed anything— Arnold would get it for him. And for a while Ray's health stabilized.

The road to healing had begun—Arnold and Mike even talked on the phone a few times after Mike found out about Arnold's generous overture to his brother.

Life was good again.

Will Maria and Arnold make it back from the abyss? Can their marriage be saved?

One thing is sure—forgiveness is a direction.

And THAT is the hand that Maria will have to play out—it's all up to her now, and no one else—

And another thing is sure—Arnold's 'rendezvous days' are over—Maria can't go back to that, he'll be on a tight leash from here on in.

Arnold has to decide if he can actually do that~

(Here the happy couple is pictured together in Toronto…about five years before they married)

(photo taken, by me, with a horrendous Agfa 110!)

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