Schwarzenegger


His gap-toothed grin is one of the most recognized in the United States and the world. Broad shoulders on top of an abnormally muscular torso with legs of steel are also trademarks of the man. For most people, the sight of his bulging biceps wielding ridiculously large arsenal of weapons is not an uncommon phenomenon. The strange, thick accent that escapes his lips does not seem ludicrous anymore. Labeled as king of mayhem and mass destruction, he proclaims to the world he has a sense of humor. He backs up his word with an image-shattering vehicle that automatically thrusts him to the top of the comedy A-list. Arnold Schwarzenegger is, arguably, the number one American Icon and movie box office draw not only in America, but in the entire world; although he represents different concepts to different people, the result is usually the same, staggering box office receipts. The violence of his films speak a universal language, ensuring that international markets are ripe prospects. His identification with young children, politics, bodybuilding/fitness enthusiasts, hollywood, and most importantly, an inseparable bond with the American Dream make a superstar of the man who is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Born in the tiny village of Thal-By-Graz , Austria, young Arnold Schwarzenegger did not seem destined for grandeur. "In the beginning Arnold seemed an unlikely figure to become a cultural icon" (Flynn 10). Living in poor, medieval-like conditions, Schwarzenegger was raised alongside his older brother Meinhard in a strict, Catholic household. His father, a police chief, often put his two sons through rigorous physical tests, as well as mental. Schwarzenegger credits these tests and his father\'s strictness as a contribution to his strong self-discipline. As a child, Schwarzenegger often spent many hours in a movie theater watching Hercules films portrayed by various bodybuilders such as Reg Park and Steve Reeves. An encounter with former Olympic Swimmer and Hollywood star, Johnny Weissmuller left a deep impression on young Arnold. It would seem that years later, Arnold patterned his career path after Weissmuller\'s.
During his youth, Schwarzenegger was active in soccer, but he soon abandoned the sport to pursue bodybuilding, due to a random run-in with a weight room. "When I saw those animals climbing around…doing 20 chin-ups…and squatting 200 kilos [440 pounds]…snatching up 315…it outweighed by far everything that I\'d seen on the soccer field" (Shaw 142). Schwarzenegger\'s infatuation with America further cemented his resolve. "…it was a very American sport, and I thought, \'If I do well, it could take me to America\'" (Hoberman 23). He has gone as far as to say that American was always his true country. "I always felt I had an American mentality. I was born in the wrong country" (Flynn 20). His family and friends urged him to give up a sport which they deemed perverted and narcissistic. Their opposition made no difference, however, as Schwarzenegger pursued the sport with a vengeance. After collecting an impressive stack of bodybuilding magazines, he soon littered his wall with images of bodybuilders he wanted to emulate. "Within a year, I had a very clear vision of where I wanted to go…I began to work out, and from that moment on, my goals were clear!" (Flynn 18). Bodybuilding became an obsession to Schwarzenegger. He worked out seven days a week, at least three hours per day. When his parents tried to restrict his workouts to three days per week, a rebellious Schwarzenegger made a crude gym in his basement and worked out there. The gym in which Schwarzenegger trained in was open only six days a week. One Sunday, the owner came by to check the gym and discovered that a window had been broken into. Inside, he found Arnold working out in a mad fury. Various sources state that at this time, when he was a young teenager, Schwarzenegger started to use anabolic steroids to supplement his intense training schedule (Walsh 63). He continued to use them throughout his professional bodybuilding career but claims that he suffers no side-effects because he was always under the supervision of a doctor.
At age eighteen, a 200 pound plus Schwarzenegger enlisted in the Austrian Army for his mandatory one-year service. Unfortunately, it was at this time that the Junior Mr. Europe Bodybuilding Contest took place. Schwarzenegger received an invitation to compete