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The Meat and Potatoes of Schwarzenegger’s Youth

Arnold-schwarzeneggerHe said he’d be back, and now Arnold is — on ESPN.

Schwarzenegger is the subject of the first installment of the ESPN Films “30 for 30 Shorts” documentary series that bows next month. Doc short details Schwarzenegger’s mandatory Austrian military service that he completed as a young bodybuilder.

The thesp and politician said hearing the word “no” when he was an aspiring bodybuilder made him realize “you can’t pay attention to the naysayers. There are lessons in sports that aren’t like anything else…I always had a very clear vision: I wanted to come to America, be a bodybuilding champion, be the strongest man in the world. No matter what anyone said, I felt it was possible to reach.”

Schwarzenegger noted that learning to ignore the word “no” helped him for the rest of his life, particularly in politics where ideas are often shot down as impossible and not able to be achieved.

He took a few moments during the TCA panel to reflect on his journey to bodybuilding infamy. “My mom,” he recalled, “saw pictures on my wall [when I was young] of naked men oiled up and she called the doctor!…’All of his friends have girls, and he has only men oiled up with little briefs on,’ she said. So she was worried.”

Schwarzenegger also faced challenges outside of his home while living on a military base in Austria. “At the base, there was no [weight-lifting] equipment. So, I had to figure out how to get equipment to the military base…the concept of bodybuilding was so new that it took a lot of effort for me to be heard and for them to pay attention and say, ‘Let’s get him weights.'”

Turns out his fellow servicemen had his back, however. Schwarzenegger said that he would get in trouble for minor things, more so than other men serving in the military. “They’d send me to the kitchen to peel potatoes,” he remarked. In actuality, though, they sent him to peel potatoes so that he could also eat all the meat in the kitchen he wanted. Those kitchen punishments, Schwarzenegger said, contributed to him bulking up with over twenty pounds of muscle during his time in the Austrian military.

 

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