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Published:January 16th, 2006 08:48 EST
Anything To Win

Anything To Win

By Maria Grella

Mr. Olympia began in 1965, when Joe Weider created the contest to keep the Mr. Universe champions active in the bodybuilding sport, and to give the athletes opportunities to earn money from competing.  Larry Scott, who had won all major titles by 1963, including Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe, went on to win the first title of Mr. Olympia and defended the title in `66 before retiring.  The man known as The Myth ", Sergio Oliva, won the next two years, with 1968`s title unopposed, but the following year brought in a fierce newcomer from Austria.  Oliva won once more, but the determined youngster vowed to be back. 

1970 proved the Austrian`s words to be true.  Arnold Schwarzenegger battled in the close competition and won over Oliva.  He stated that he would never be beaten again, and would hold the title of Mr. Olympia until he retired.  The next year, Mr. Olympia was held in Paris, where Schwarzenegger won unopposed, but in 1972, Sergio was back to challenge his former rival in Germany.  In a still contested outcome, Arnold won in a 4-3 vote.  Back in NY, 1973 continued Arnold`s streak as champion, winning over Franco Columbu and Serge Nubret. 

A hulking man, 6`5 " tall, weighing 270 pounds, became the largest competitor Arnold had ever competed against.  Lou Ferrigno was unable to capture the title, however, and Arnold won once again, amidst rumors of impending retirement.  In 1975, South Africa was the host of the contest, and Pumping Iron, a film documenting the sport of bodybuilding and Mr. Olympia, was filming.  Once more, and seemingly for the last time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, under rumors of competing to boost his film career, won his sixth title and announced his retirement.  

`76 found Franco Columbu as the new title holder in six years.  The competition, held in Ohio, was not without Arnold`s presence; he and Jim Lorimer served as promoters.  The next three years had Frank Zane as champion, but in 1980, a peculiar event happened to shock the bodybuilding community.  Held in Australia, Arnold was once again on hand; some speculated it was for being a T.V. commentator.  When contestants saw him working out in the gyms, they supposed Arnold was beefing up for a role.  Athletes still didn`t catch a clue when Schwarzenegger was there at the contest, still under the impression that he was an official.  Not until they announced his name and he received a number did the horrible and strange realization dawn on them that he was there as a competitor.  Though it had been 5 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger had seized the title of Mr. Olympia for an unprecedented 7th time.  Since then, only Lee Haney holds more titles at eight consecutive wins.

The fierce competitive edge, the heart of a champion, and the blinding determination to win is what encapsulates the newest original documentary series, Anything To Win ".  The series not only includes athletes in all genres of sports and competitions, but also the drive of non-sports individuals, such as the late and famed Johnnie Cochran and John DeLorean. 

Kicking off the documentaries was Rosie Ruiz and the Boston Marathon Scandal ".  In 1980, Ruiz held the first place title in the woman`s division of the Boston Marathon, until it was discovered that she had snuck into the race a mere mile from the finish line.  A new medal was awarded to Jacqueline Gareau.  Ruiz was featured in her first on-camera interview since the scandal, where she still clings to her truth of running the entire race, despite overwhelming evidence disputing her claims.  Gareau and men`s winner, Bill Rodgers were also interviewed.

Upcoming episodes include the bizarre, ice-skating turmoil that plagued the 1994 Olympics.  Tonya Harding and her unfortunate fall from grace, gets more undeserved publicity as her alleged " role in the plot to destroy the competition, namely Nancy Kerrigan, to increase her chances of winning is told in this stranger than fiction tale.  An Olympic game that received far better press was the 1996 gymnastic`s competition, where the magnificent seven made history taking home team Gold for the United States.  Interviewing team members Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug, as well as legend Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, this episode spotlights the triumph and sacrifice of winners.

Anything To Win " airs Tuesdays at 9 pm (et) (pt) on the GSN.