“Cried in My Hotel Room All Night”: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Defeat Against a Mathematics Teacher Turned Most Aesthetic Bodybuilder Ever Made Him Question His Life Choices

Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in America in 1968. After winning the Mr. Universe contest in London in 1967, Schwarzenegger became the youngest Mr. Universe in history. It’s a record that is yet to be broken. Hence, the Austrian Oak was confident he would dominate his first bodybuilding contest after landing in the States. However, his confidence would get severely dented.

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At the 1968 Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger faced off against the elite bodybuilders. After winning the tall category, he had a final pose down against the winner of the under 200 lbs category. Despite the size advantage, Schwarzenegger lost the final pose down against Frank Zane, a high school mathematics teacher by trade.

Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t process the loss


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In his new book, Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life, the bodybuilding icon imparts his valuable lessons through examples of his lived experiences. Arnie explains that people often think life is unfair when something significant goes wrong. Many people at that moment wanted to blame others instead of accepting their shortcomings.

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While Arnie states this isn’t the right perspective, he also recounted how he felt the same after losing to Zane. “When I lost to Frank Zane in 1968, I was despondent and inconsolable,” wrote the bodybuilding icon. “I cried in my hotel room all night afterward. It felt like the world had come crashing down on me,” the seven-time Mr. Olympia wrote in his book

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After his 1968 loss, the bodybuilder blamed everything that had happened until that point. “I questioned what I was even doing coming to America,” wrote Schwarzenegger. He was far from his family, didn’t have any friends, couldn’t communicate properly in English, nor did he have any money. He blamed the judges for the bias toward the American Frank Zane. Arnie even blamed the food he ate while traveling from London to America. However, Schwarzenegger gathered his thoughts and saw things with a new perspective.

Watch This Story | From Young Age to Becoming a Beast, Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Insane Transformation 

Learning from his defeat


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The following morning, Schwarzenegger focused on himself. Arnie had blamed the world for his loss but realized he also had shortcomings. The bodybuilder realized his conditioning was far worse than Zane’s. Hence, the mathematics teacher-turned-the god of aesthetics had far more definition than him. At the three-time, Mr. Olympia also had a more balanced physique.

So, instead of resenting his rival, the bodybuilding icon became friends with the American. Arnie contacted Zane and invited him to train with him in California. The Austrian Oak trained with Zane and learned different tricks that helped him achieve a well-defined physique. Arnie also worked on his weak body parts.


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The Austrian Oak felt helpless after his 1968 defeat at the Mr. Universe. However, the champion bodybuilder recollected his thoughts and made a comeback. He wants others to do the same thing when they face a setback.

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Author: ZeroToHero

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