Dying to Be Arnie
The Observer | October 31, 2004
Andreas Munzer dreamed of emulating his hero, fellow Austrian and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. In this special report, Jon Hotten traces two careers - one of riches and fame that may yet lead to the White House, and another that ended in drugs and disaster.
Read the second half of this article here.
He went to the stage as hard as a bag full of nails. He looked like the eighth wonder of the world up there: 17 stone of muscle and bone and not much else. He was huge and dense and cut. He had 21-inch arms, a 58-inch chest and enough junk in his bloodstream to kill a horse. It was certainly killing him. He lived in agony. If he had still had the will to turn his head to the left, he would have seen other men like him, Godzillas of the iron game. To his right, the same. They looked barely human.
They looked like a sub-strain, a spin-off, a genetic joke.
He was so dry that his lips kept sticking together. His body was arid. The last of his sweat rolled slowly down him, streamed by his deep striations. It left light streaks in his tinned tan. Andi fixed his feet harder into the floor and squeezed his unsteady muscle one more time.
The other guys still had some zap and heft and zing left in them. Kevin Levrone, 'The Maryland Muscle Machine', was ripped and zipped; Kenny 'Flex' Wheeler was as austere and beautiful as a Greek statue; Paul Dillett had a chest by Jackson Pollock, splattered with fat chunks of vein; Vince Taylor brought out his galactic shoulders; Shawn Ray ran as thick as a bull, front to back. It was a war of the strangest kind. Huge men in spangly thongs shoved each other aside so they could hit muscleman poses. There were 4,000 people watching them do it and they were going off while they did. The Veterans' Memorial Arena was a mushroom farm of jumping muscle. Most of the crowd were bodybuilders of a sort themselves - there were women who could have beaten the living crap out of you.
Andi already knew that the game was up. This was the final round of competition, the posedown - a concocted crowd-pleaser. It existed mainly to allow the judges time to verify the scores. Levrone, Ray and Dillett jumped from the stage and walked into the stalls so the fans could see them close up. They posed for photos. They gripped and grinned. Andi held on at the edge of the platform. There, perhaps one more judge might catch the final nuances of his development. Perhaps one more judge might move him up by one more place. Perhaps Arnold Schwarzenegger himself would look up from his seat in row two and understand that Andi's head had blazed with his name for 20 years. Perhaps then he would finally get his due and perhaps it would tip the balance of his life. His name was Andreas Munzer. For a decade, he had been the greatest bodybuilder in the German-speaking world.
Head judge Wayne DeMilia called the last six competitors into line. Schwarzenegger now stood in the wings ready to present the prizes. He had not been a bodybuilder for a long time; it had been 16 years since he was Mr Olympia 1980. But he remained the talisman of muscle. The Arnold Classic contest was named after him, promoted by him and dedicated to his glory.
In professional bodybuilding events, results were announced in reverse order. Andi would die soon, but he wouldn't die wondering. DeMilia said: 'Sixth place ... winning five thousand dollars ... from Austria ... Andreas Munzer...'
Andi picked up a slim cheque and a joke trophy. The applause was thin and slow. The crowd already had Munzer sixth. This was how things often were at the top shows. The consensus of years informed results. The judges had muscle memory, too.
There was a truism in bodybuilding: be born black or German. These were the favoured genetic lines. Through them, muscle thrummed down generations. Andi's people were farmers, 'simple with weather-tanned faces' as the press would later describe them. They lived a mile or so from the Modriacher Stausee reservoir near a village called Pack in the rural Austrian region of Styria. They ran a dairy business that just about kept them afloat. Andi absorbed their ethic of stoic self-improvement. He was a quiet boy and a hard worker. Andi paid his dues in the fields. He liked to play the trumpet in a local band, a Musikkapelle. During the summer, he played football. During winter, he skied.
Andi was hired as a toolmaker in Flach, a town 10 kilometres from the farm. He didn't have a car so he took the bus. Between finishing work and catching the bus home, Andi had a two-hour wait. 'To loaf about and drink beer was not his thing,' his father Killian said. Andi joined a gym instead. Passing time waiting for a bus home, he connected with his strange fate. Andi got big quick. The weight hooked up with those juiced-up Germanic genes. Ethics of work and sacrifice ran deep in Andi, too. His muscles began to haul him out of obscurity.
Andi's God was Schwarzenegger. Arnold was Austrian. Moreover, Arnold was Styrian. Arnold came from Thal, Andi from Pack. Arnold took up bodybuilding after seeing a muscleman working out by a mountain reservoir. Andi grew up by one. Arnold became the greatest bodybuilder in the German-speaking world. Andi was striving towards that end. Arnold was a seven-time Mr Olympia. Now he was a movie star, perhaps the planet's most driven man.
In the gyms, everyone was juicing. To succeed in professional bodybuilding, you had to. But you had to do many other things too. If winning pro shows was as easy as taking steroids, every loser iron-junkie, every tragic muscle rat, would be Mr Olympia.
Somehow, somewhere, at some point, Andi joined in. He had no choice. In chess, there is a position called zugzwang, where you must make a move, even though that move will cause you to lose. Drugs were Andi's zugzwang. Drugs were bodybuilding's zugzwang.
As he became more successful, Andi moved to Munich, where he was known as one of the nicest men in a sport mostly populated by meatheads, narcissists, egoists, attention-seekers, overcompensators and the terminally aggrieved. It was a sport that demanded extremity, so it attracted extremists. Andi was no such thing.
But he had made the deal. The Munich Andi would play the zugzwang. He hit some heavy cycles: he injected two ampoules of testosterone a day; he took the oral steroids Halotestin and Anabol; he combined them with Masteron and Parabolan; he used between four and 24 units of the growth hormone STH. Steroids aided muscle repair and general recovery; they allowed him to train with greater intensity. He combined different steroid types to maximum effect. He found that STH, the synthetic growth hormone, mimicked human growth hormone; it made everything grow - muscles, bones, organs, tissues. He ate 6-8,000 calories a day to nourish his muscles. He used insulin to stimulate his metabolism and churn the calories more quickly; he used at least five aspirin tablets each morning to thin his blood and help with the pain of training; he used ephedrine and Captagon to increase his intensity on the weights.
Fifteen weeks or so from competition, he would begin a rigorous diet designed to reduce his body fat. He would come down to 2,000 calories a day. In the days and hours before a show he used Aldactone and Lasix, both diuretics, to rid himself of the last of his water. Most pros would get close to competition shape once or twice a year. Anything else demanded too much; Andi maintained a reputation for always being in shape, or close to it.
The stomach pains had begun some months before Andi went to Columbus, Ohio, for the 1996 Arnold Classic. At first it was just more pain, and pain was the currency of muscle. Andi paid it little heed. It dug in and nestled down with all the other pain: the agonies of training, the banal deprivations of dieting down, the pulls, nicks, strains, jags and twists of the gym. But it kept coming back and its payload was different. A connoisseur of pain like Andi would soon have been able to tell. He would have been able to recognise it and rank it as something special in the pain game, something more exotic than the stuff he usually bore. He began to mention it to friends at the gym. He tried some health cures that would strengthen his stomach lining. Perhaps if Andi had quit training then, if he had turned away from the withering deprivations of another round of competition and stopped juicing he might have survived. Instead, the boy from Pack made himself ready to compete in front of the boy from Thal, in front of his hero.
After his sixth place at the Arnold Classic on 2 March 1996, Andi's mood remained low. 'Man, why don't you laugh?' a German official had said. 'You're the best white guy behind five Negroes.' Andi was never going to laugh at that. Best white guy. Best German speaker. All of the pain and deprivation, all of the gym seminars and pain-filled nights for those worthless epithets.
On the morning of 13 March, Andi's stomach pains became intense. His gut was swollen and hard. His bill had come in. He was fairly sure that this time he couldn't meet it. The debt was too big. The agony grew.
He was taken to hospital. Doctors there diagnosed the bleed, but could not prevent it continuing. He was transferred to the University Clinic. At 7pm, surgeons decided to operate to stop the bleeding inside Andi's stomach. Andi came through the operation, but his problems had multiplied catastrophically. His blood was viscous and slow-moving. His potassium levels were excessively high. He had been dehydrated by the diuretics he used in the days before his last competitions. His liver was melting. A post-mortem would find that it had dissolved almost completely. Andi's body went into shock. After his liver failed, his kidneys did too. He was offered a blood transfusion, but it was too late. Andi's heart held out for a while - he had always had a big heart - but by morning Munzer had joined the ranks of the bodybuilding dead.
Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a wreath from Hollywood to Andi's grave in Styria. The message was simple. It read: 'A last greeting to a friend.'
Columbus, Ohio, in February 2003 was not the America of Schwarzenegger's dreams. It was flat and cold. It had bare winter trees along its straight, plain roads. It had cabs that had run around their clocks three times. They coughed along and sloughed the snow into grey piles at the kerbsides. The light was low and grey, too. Under a permanent soft dusk, Columbus prepared for the Arnold Classic 2003.
The town had one famous son, the golfer Jack Nicklaus, who hosted a tournament there each year. The reason that the Arnold Classic was in Columbus was because of Jim Lorimer. He had been the promoter of a show called Mr Pro World and, in 1970, he persuaded Schwarzenegger to enter the contest. Arnold had just competed in London and so Lorimer laid on a private jet to pick him up from his commercial flight to New York and bring him to Ohio. Schwarzenegger won Mr Pro World. He received a $500 cheque, an electric watch and he was interviewed by ABC Television. By 1976, they were promoting Mr Olympia together. The Arnold Classic began in 1989. First prize in the men's bodybuilding in 2003 was $100,000. But the Classic was no longer just a bodybuilding show. It had a strongman contest, female bodybuilding and fitness and figure shows, arm-wrestling and bench-press and other strength competitions, a 5km 'pump and run' and a fitness expo that took up a huge hall in the Columbus Greater Convention Centre.
The Arnold Classic lasted for three days and about 100,000 people came each year. Columbus liked Schwarzenegger very much indeed. He had repaid his gratitude to Lorimer and Columbus many millions of times over in green.
Arnold was pretty easy to spot in Columbus. Every time he went anywhere, they closed roads and gave him a police escort. You would often see his big black town car heading to the Greater Convention Centre or the Veterans' Memorial Hall driving slowly down the street topped and tailed by lots of other cars.
Included in the price of a VIP ticket to the Classic was the chance to have your photo taken with Arnold. This was to take place at the Veterans' Memorial Arena, before the prejudging for the bodybuilding show. A long queue began at the doors to the pump-up room and circled around the first floor of the auditorium. The photographer had set up in one of the ante-rooms that sat to the side of the pump-up area. Arnold arrived from nowhere wearing a jacket and tie and stood in front of the photographer's backdrop. It was a slick operation. It had to be. There were several hundred people waiting outside. They began to come in, escorted in small groups. Arnold had a man standing either side of him, as well as all of the other security people milling around. Whoever was at the front of the queue came forward. The first man by Arnold took the photographee by the shoulders and positioned them next to Schwarzenegger. The photographer hit the button and a Polaroid popped out of the bottom of the camera. The guy on the other side of Arnold took the Polaroid, put it in a cardboard mount and handed it to the photographee as he simultaneously moved them away. Each picture took about 30 seconds, start to finish. Every person was next to Arnold for approximately 10 of them. Even so, they had been shooting for about an hour and the line didn't look much shorter. I stuck my head in the room to see how things were progressing just as Arnold called for a break. Suddenly, the doors behind us were shut and there were eight or 10 of us left inside: the photographer and his assistants, the men positioning people either side of Arnold, Arnold himself and me.
How did Arnie look? He looked like a movie star. He looked like the Terminator. His face bore his only faults: the lantern jaw, the heavy brow shading tiny eyes. He had a kind of superannuated youth about him: his skin was ripped and peeled and pampered, his hair was lustrous. It gleamed. What secrets he had. He appeared unknowable. His life was fiction. It was mediated through his roles. He was Conan, he was the Terminator, he was the Last Action Hero. Arnold Schwarzenegger was Arnie. From unpronounceable dolt to cultural shorthand in half a lifetime.
Arnold dabbed his face with a white towel and blinked several times. He drank from a bottle of water. No one said anything, so I asked him what he thought the bodybuilding show was going to be like.
'Tonight,' he said quite dramatically, 'will not be for girlie men ...' and we all laughed. 'Tonight,' he said, 'will not be for men who eat quiche ...' Everyone laughed again. It was a good line. Arnold grinned and said he was ready to begin having his photo taken again; the doors were opened and the great queue began to file through once more.
Schwarzenegger's father Gustav was a Thal town policeman who had joined the Nazi Party - with great irony considering the course of his second son's life - on 4 July 1938. He married Aurelia Jadrny in 1945. Meinhard was born in July 1946, Arnold on 30 July 1947 at 4.10am. Gustav was said to be vain and cruel, an authoritarian who made his sons write him essays and compete for his affection. Aurelia was dutiful and compliant. Meinhard was a golden child, the family star set for a shimmering future. Arnold was often ill and often scared, cowed by Gustav, a misfit. Gustav fostered the rivalry between the brothers. Arnold developed the classic response to a domineering parent: he both loathed Gustav and wished to emulate him.
These kinds of details of Schwarzenegger's life were eked out over years by the media. Arnold volunteered little personal information to anyone, even to George Butler and Charles Gaines, the authors of Pumping Iron, a celebrated book about Schwarzenegger and the world of professional bodybuilding (the book was later made into a film, introducing Arnold to an international audience).
By the time he was established in America, Arnold appeared to regard his childhood as malleable, material to fuel his legend. Meinhard and Arnold, Arnold and Meinhard: this was the darkest subtext of his story. Like opposed twins, only one could prosper. At first it was Meinhard, athletic, good-looking, his father's son. But then it was Arnold, also athletic but more driven, a swimming champion, then a curling champion, then a bodybuilding champion. Meinhard loved women and women loved Meinhard. He had many girlfriends, and one of them, Erika Knapp, had his son Patrick in 1968. Arnold's success with women grew only with his extraordinary body. Neither stayed in Thal. Meinhard went to Germany, Arnold to Germany then England then America. Arnold's success earned him Gustav's love.
Caught on the other side of the equation, Meinhard started to drink. He began working for a publisher in Kitzbühel. Arnold got a job with bodybuilding magazine publisher Joe Weider in California. By 1970, he was Mr Olympia. Meinhard rented one room of someone else's house. Arnold began to invest in real estate. Meinhard drank heavily. Arnold was one of the fittest men on earth. Meinhard assaulted a woman and went to prison. Arnold lived in the 'Land of the Free'.
On the evening of 20 May 1971, Meinhard Schwarzenegger, depressed and drunk, was killed in a car accident. Somehow, the golden child and Arnold had exchanged destinies. 'Deep down I always expected something to happen to him,' Arnold has said of his brother, although he did not attend his funeral, just as he would be absent from his father's funeral a year and a half later. 'He lived on the edge more than I ... Now, I wish he was here to enjoy all this with me. Back then, I just brushed it off.'
When Butler and Gaines met Schwarzenegger, he was living in a small condominium in Santa Monica with his girlfriend, Barbara Outland. He had been in America for four years, hanging about at Venice Beach and waiting to get noticed.
Arnold had more than an awesome physicality. He was lively, funny, clever, cruel, quick, brave, egotistical and, above all, he was rapaciously ambitious. The life force poured from him. He had been Mr Olympia for three years. Long before he was the Predator and Conan the Barbarian, a decade before he became the Terminator, he was the Austrian Oak, an indelible vision of human perfection. George Butler saw it, and so did Charles Gaines, but they didn't see it as Joe Weider did, or as the bodybuilding fans did, or even as the bodybuilders themselves did.
'We discovered that, if you begin with Egyptians, go to the Greeks, go to the Romans, go to Michelangelo, right through the history of Western art, you'll discover that there's a tremendous interest in the musculature of the male body,' Butler said. 'So we may have been far out, but we weren't that far off the main line of what interests people. We really thought we were on to something. We were watching, and saying, there's no one else in the world who's watching. No one else in the world.'
Schwarzenegger was unlike anyone else in all of bodybuilding, or in anything else at all. Arnold told Butler and Gaines about a recurring dream that he had. In the dream, he was king of all of the Earth and everyone looked up to him.
Butler recalled that Arnold was also attending night school and had drawn up something he called 'the master plan'. 'It was kind of a campy mix of Nietzsche and a Soviet five-year plan, only it was more of a 50-year plan,' Butler recalled. 'He wanted to be very big. My own particular view is that he had it in his mind to be President of the United States, king of the universe. Probably if there are extraterrestrials out there, he'd like to rule them as well.'
Arnold had laid out the master plan for Butler and Gaines. 'I will come to America, which is the country for me. Once there I will become the greatest bodybuilder' - with his accent he said it 'baddybuilder' and still does - 'in history. While I am doing this I will learn perfect English and educate myself, but only with those things I need to know. I will get a college degree, then a business degree. I will invest in real estate and make big money. I will go into the movies. By the time I am 30 I will have starred in my first movie and I will be a millionaire. I will marry a beautiful and successful wife. By the time I am 32, I will have been invited to the White House.'
To Arnold, the master plan was as clear and as tangible as his recurring dream. To Butler, it would have been absurd but for one thing: Schwarzenegger had already begun to accomplish the goals he had listed for himself. The idea that anyone might succeed in Hollywood via their muscles was an unlikely one, but then, everything about bodybuilding was unlikely.
'What he did do, clearly,' Butler said, 'was choose the hardest path to fame and fortune that any potential Hollywood star ever chose. To become king of Hollywood through your muscles? I mean, give me a break. He'd been in Los Angeles for four straight years trying to claw his way beyond the beach. No one would give him the time of day.'
Before Butler and Gaines had laid eyes on him, Arnold had gone from Austria to Germany then to England. He came to London for the Nabba (National Amateur Bodybuilders' Association) Mr Universe show in September 1966, a baby-faced giant. In the front row of the Victoria Palace sat one of the world's richest men, J. Paul Getty, a bodybuilding aficionado, and also Jimmy Savile, a former wrestler who was becoming a famous disc jockey. Chet Yorton was placed first by seven of the nine judges. The other two, including Wag Bennett, who was married to Dianne Bennett, who owned gyms and ran bodybuilding competitions, gave first place to Arnold. He had electrified the crowd.
'And afterwards,' said Dianne, when I met her recently, 'he looked so forlorn, so we went up to him and he could see by the score sheets that Wag had put him first. And he looked very lost, so we invited him back to our home. And of course we had gyms and we had six kids so he knew we were a family who trained. He came back and stayed with us and trained with us, and I fed him.
'He was only a lad working at a gym in Munich and he didn't have any money or anything, so we would arrange a few times a year for him to come over and do a series of shows and earn some money. He'd start in London and he'd have to do a couple of shows for Wag and me, for which he got paid 10 quid and for which he'd help get the hall ready, put chairs out. Then the first stop would be down here in Portsmouth for my mum and dad, on the pier or at the Wedgwood Rooms, and then he'd go on to Plymouth where another friend, Bill Jackson, had a gym. Then Wag would take him on a tour to earn money for food, and that's how it started.
'When he stayed with us, not only did he learn quite a lot from me about food, I also taught him English. I used to help him with his clothes, too ... he was a bit of a hick dresser. And then he trained. He used to say he could only get a decent pump when he was in Wag's gym. Until the time he came to us, Arnold had never used music to pose to on stage. We said to him, "You've got to use music and you've got to learn to pose to music." "No no," he said. But we won him over. He learned to pose in our front room.'
Dianne gave me a tour of the gym, where she kept some of the equipment that Arnold had trained with. There was a set of old scales that he once used. Sometimes he'd say to Wag or Dianne: 'I'm not going to bed tonight until I weigh 230lb,' and he might be two or three pounds off so he would eat and eat until he weighed what he thought he should. Dianne showed me the machine that he had used for 1,000lb calf raises. His calves had been the body part that gave him the most trouble. Wag had told him to cut the bottoms out of his training pants so that he could see them at all times, to remind him he must work harder on them. Dianne said that she'd never seen anyone train as hard as Arnold did.
Arnold went to live in America in 1968, but he never lost touch with Dianne and Wag, or with the people who had helped him in Germany and Austria. Dianne said that they would all meet every year at the Arnold Classic, where she often judged. Arnold would stop in when he came to Europe, too, and he would call and chat about his life. She and Wag had watched his inexorable ascent and it had come as no surprise. He had even had the master plan at 19 years old when he could barely articulate it in English. 'He used to sit at the table and say, "I'm gonna be the biggest. I'm gonna be the best. I'm gonna be a film star ..."'
As Schwarzenegger's achievements began to match his ambition, his past, with its curious mix of fierce loyalties and ruthless self-interest, with its artful blending of truth and myth, with its translucent screen of 20th-century fame and money, became something else he would have to master.
Arnold, the great existential force, bought the rights to Pumping Iron and he reissued it in 2002 for the 25th anniversary, along with a documentary about the making of the film. He was going to run for the governorship of California, everyone knew that. He was just deciding when. The reissue of Pumping Iron was a smart move. It was public acknowledgment of his past. The same, too, with his admission that he had used steroids, which were not controlled substances in America in the 1970s. He could not be badly beaten up by these things. During his election campaign, in 2003, he made a speech about how bodybuilding had been drug-testing for years. He held it up as an example for others. He got elected. But even Arnold had to realise how far bodybuilding had come since his time in it and how it had arrived there.
Friends of Arnold, such as Dianne Bennett, now believe that he will become President. He is, of course, Austrian and anyone born outside America is barred from the presidency by the US Constitution. For Arnold, the solution is obvious: he will change the Constitution.
Andreas Munzer became the first bodybuilder to have a play written about him. Well, it was part of a play at least, a very long play by the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, best known for the novel The Piano Teacher and who last month won the 2004 Nobel Prize for literature. The play was called Ein Sportstück (A Sports Play). When it premiered in Vienna in 1998 it received a 55-minute standing ovation. Jelinek's themes were intellectual and postmodern. Ein Sportstück was about mediated realities, lives experienced through other mediums: television, movies, sport. She used Andi's hollowed body to stress the primacy of surface over depth. She said that Andi's freaky frame had been manufactured for rapid consumption and then thrown away. You had to be patient to get to Andi's bit: Ein Sportstück lasted for five hours.
And so Andi's body became metaphor, too. He represented something to bodybuilding, and something else to the wider world. In death, Andi had become someone on to whom things could be projected: ideas, theories, prejudices. He could be interpreted, reinterpreted, misinterpreted.
My vision of Andi was mediated, too. I had the raw facts of his life and death; they had all been well reported. I had the views of other bodybuilders, some of whom had been Andi's friends. I had some theories of my own about him. But I was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to get any closer.
Andi rode the curve. He made the deal. He played the zugzwang. In Munich, he doubled himself. He understood what it would take to make it with a body like his in the earliest years of the era of the freak.
The novelist Timothy O'Grady once wrote: 'The spectacle of greatness is thrilling, alluring, intoxicating. It can make the beholder want to do the same thing, breathe the same air.'
Andi saw greatness in Schwarzenegger, but that was through the simplicity of teenage ambition. Later, as he ascended to become the best bodybuilder in the German-speaking world, he looked at the small gap between his own excellence and that of the five or six men who existed above him. He thought about what it might take to close that gap. Andi was no freak. But he could turn his skin into paper and his veins into ringroads around his stripped physique. Andi could take the stage glowing with hardness and he could do it several times a year.
The effort it took was difficult to imagine. Andi had picked the toughest battleground, the most elusive state to appear in and maintain. His unique selling point demanded much of him.
Once he had chosen, he could not turn back. There was probably a moment, a tipping point, where he might have pulled out, perhaps when he first became aware of the pains in his stomach and sought a health cure for them. Only Andi would know for sure. But he was a bodybuilder and bodybuilding was about excess. After a while, you were surrounded by so much of it, it became impossible to see how much was too much: because almost everything was too much. In bodybuilding, the only response to failure was growth. That was the law of muscle. Stressed to failure, it grew. When Andi met failure, he grew to defeat it.
Andi gave it everything because that's what he demanded of himself. He had built an extraordinary body by any standards. He had decided to find out what was possible for him. He wanted to get as high on the curve as he could, as all of us do. He understood the risks. He took his courage in his hands. He pushed towards his limits. He discovered where they were. In that regard, Andi had lived ferociously, he had strived for the best that he was capable of. I saw it as an act of great bravery to live in that manner.
Andreas Munzer strived and strived, and he found out what he could do. He was able to manufacture one of the 10 best bodies from six billion on earth. In his curious arena, he had almost ascended to the top of the game. He answered every question he asked of himself. He did not die wondering.
I saw unrecognised honour in what he had achieved. He was more than just a dead guy who had taken too many drugs. He was not the end of bodybuilding as a sport. He was a symbol of what it sometimes took to succeed
· Extracted from Muscle: a Writer's Trip Through a Sport with no Boundaries, by Jon Hotten (Yellow Jersey Press, £10.99)
The female Arnie: Kim Chizevsky
No woman has ever had a body to match the one that belongs to Kim Chizevsky. In the late Nineties the American bodybuilder pushed the female form to an extreme that had never been seen before. Gone were the pumped-up glamour models whotypified the first Ms Olympia in 1980. By the time Chizevsky had finished the 'pose down' at the 1999 event, she had won her fourth straight title and raised the bar to new heights.
At 5ft 8in she is not particularly tall - no taller than the majority of the women she used to compete against - yet come competition time, Chizevsky was a stone heavier than her nearest rival, all of it muscle. Never before had a woman had bulk with such definition. Chizevsky's physique was described as looking as though it had been 'carved out of ice.'
Worried that the glamour element, which defined early female bodybuilding events, was disappearing with every Chizevsky trip to the gym, the governing body changed the rules, putting more emphasis on 'overall appearance' than sheer muscle tone. It led to Chizevsky quitting the sport in 1999. A year later she followed Arnie on to the big screen, appearing alongside Jennifer Lopez in The Cell.