1981 Mr. Olympia – Champion Franco Columbu


Pumping Iron 3Franco Columbu Training for Mr. Olympia 1981

Video taken from the channel: DAVY BRASCO


Franco Columbu Training for Mr. Olympia 1981

Video taken from the channel: World Bodybuilding Archive


1981 Mr Olympia “The Greatest Booing Contest Of All Time!” (Worse Than 1980)

Video taken from the channel: Tomn8er


Franco Columbu R.I.P �� Tribute Video

Video taken from the channel: NicandroVisionMotivation


Franco Columbu + final six Mr Olympia 1981

Video taken from the channel: William Lantrey


1981 Olympia: Did Franco deserve to win??

Video taken from the channel: Nick’s Strength and Power



Video taken from the channel: CEMİL GÜL

Muscle Wars 1981 Mr Olympia The Greatest Booing Contest of All Time. Franco Columbu was the winner with Tom Platz finishing runner-up. By Rick Wayne (Muscle Wars book)Arnold Schwarzenegger was keeping strictly to business. Which is to say, he avoided the Mr. Olympia contenders as much as possible, for fear any overt friendliness on.

Franco Columbu Winning Mr. Olympia 1981 World Bodybuilding Archive. ALL-TIME MR. OLYMPIA WINNERS 1965-2016 Duration: 1981 Mr Olympia “The Greatest Booing Contest Of All Time!”. Francesco Maria Columbu (August 7, 1941 – August 30, 2019) was an Italian bodybuilder, powerlifter, actor, author, producer, and a licensed chiropractor.

Originally a boxer, Columbu won the Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981, and competed in the inaugural edition of the World’s Strongest Man in. 18 rows · The 1981 Mr. Olympia contest was an IFBB professional bodybuilding competition held on. Bodybuilding legend Franco Columbu passed away on August 30, 2019.

Learn more about the inspiring career and life of Franco Columbu here. As mentioned in the beginning of the article, we have nothing but great respect for the legend Franco Columbu, but in a sport that is based on how you look on the day, Franco was not at his best. Some close decisions have had some controversy in recent Olympia’s but they are such close decisions that unfortunately somebody has to lose, but nothing such as the 1981 Olympia has ever.

Winner of two Mr. Olympia titles in 1976 and 1981, Franco Columbu was one of the most prominent figures during the golden era of bodybuilding, gracing the covers of many bodybuilding magazines and appearing in the bodybuilding cult classic documentary, Pumping Iron. Franco easily defeated the Over 200 Pound Class winner Ken Waller to win the 1976 Mr. Olympia title. This win would complete his extremely successful competition career. (From Left to Right) Danny Padilla, Ken Waller, Franco Columbu, and OSL Ambassador Tom Platz at the 1981 Mr.

Olympia. The following year, Franco Columbu was victorious for the second time. Chris Dickerson won his only title in 1982, and Samir Bannout won his only title in 1983.

Then in 1984 Lee Haney won the first of 8 straight Mr. Olympia titles. 1990s.

Haney retired from competitive bodybuilding after his last Mr. Olympia. After Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback victory in the 1980 Mr. Olympia, Franco followed suit and won the 1981 Mr.

Olympia. Columbu is a long time friend of Schwarzenegger, whom he met in Munich in 1965 and against whom he competed in.

List of related literature:

The 1981 and 1982 Olympia winners were experienced competitors— Franco Columbu and Chris Dickerson, respectively—but within a few years these champions had retired and we entered an era in which massive physiques would dominate the Mr. Olympia.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

Sergio Oliva had also won the Mr. Olympia contest.

“Arnold” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Kent Hall
from Arnold
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Kent Hall
Simon & Schuster, 1977

His bodybuilding victories included five Mr. Universe (4 – NABBA [USA]) wins, and seven Mr. Olympia wins, a record which would stand until Lee Haney won his eighth consecutive Mr. Olympia title in 1991.

“Focus On: 100 Most Popular WWE Hall of Fame” by Wikipedia contributors
from Focus On: 100 Most Popular WWE Hall of Fame
by Wikipedia contributors

He’d taken his most recent Mr. Olympia title that fall in New York unopposed: not one of the other four bodybuilding champions invited to compete even showed up.

“Total Recall” by Arnold Schwarzenegger
from Total Recall
by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Simon & Schuster UK, 2012

Franco, who also won the Mr. Olympia title, was born with biceps attached much higher on his arm.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

This change can be seen in the physiques of more recent Mr. Olympia winners and top contenders; fewer were around the 300-pound (136 kg) mark onstage.

“Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook” by Peter J. Fitschen, Cliff Wilson
from Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook
by Peter J. Fitschen, Cliff Wilson
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

Here, Marc receives postcompetition congratulations from the 1998 Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman.

“Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality” by Jerrold S. Greenberg, Clint E. Bruess, Sarah C. Conklin
from Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality
by Jerrold S. Greenberg, Clint E. Bruess, Sarah C. Conklin
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007

By 1967, Oliva was on top of the bodybuilding world with the IFBB Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia crowns to his name.

“Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors” by Randy Roach
from Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors
by Randy Roach
AuthorHouse, 2008

The first five Mr. Olympia winners — Scott, Oliva, Arnold, Frank Zane, and I — were all accorded superstar status.

“Franco Columbu’s Complete Book of Bodybuilding” by Franco Columbu
from Franco Columbu’s Complete Book of Bodybuilding
by Franco Columbu
Creators Publishing, 2017

He briefly served in the Austrian army (1965) and then went on to win thirteen world champion bodybuilding titles, including Mr. Olympia, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe (1965–1980).

“Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices” by Roger Chapman
from Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices
by Roger Chapman
Taylor & Francis, 2015

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

View all posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Image working so hard and knowing you have it easily won…… Then…… They give it to the one who didn’t deserve it. Makes you feel like, why work hard when you cant win..

  • No way Franco should have won. He wasn’t even a top 5 place winner. Danny 1st, Platz 2nd, Dickerson 3rd Callender 4th, Wikosz 5th.

  • A amizade dos dois eram fundamental eram amigos mesmos e muito bonito vê eles competindo e um em sinava au outro competição entre os dois era muito bonito de vê eles até ficarem velhinho amizade prevalecia parabéns ��

  • Nick, politics are built on subterfuge yeah, but mr columbo is and always will be for that genra a unique standout among men, his prowess was for the first time showing the strength of men, with aesthetic appeal, like the oak, it was a wonderful era of human example. To be accomplished tho not accoladed, thanx sardinian, I’m a old boxer too, franco, you are right about calcium. Pay attention nick..

  • Danny for sure, man, hands down. His balance, symmetry and proportion take the show. Platz did not have the proportion (legs were to big for his torso) and he never was a symmetrical guy. Chris has that paper thin skin thing going on but symmetry was never his game either when you break him right down (though he did have great proportion). Danny is one of the all time best Olympia contenders in this show, in my opinion. Man, just look at him for that era alone.

  • I forgot where I read this but Arnold’s biggest fear was this very thing subsequent to the Sidney Affair.. He warned Franco to totally have his sh1t together. I don’t think Arnold thought he would win. I’m not going to argue a fix.

  • Be interesting to have a massive poll, of Mr Olympia winners year for year, who the public think should have won (but didn’t), then compare the official Mr Olympia results with the Fans version. We’d probably see Nasser, Danny, Mentzer, Platz even perhaps Bertil as uncrowned Mr Olympias, and even some that got crowned have the crown removed… Be interesting.

  • This is why many bodybuilders are discouraged to compete. All that sweat, pain and dieting to be beat by someone whom is clearly not up to the minimal MR Olympia standard is sickening. I went to a natural show in RI back in 1998. Only about 40% to 50% of decisions were accurate. Competitors with no calves won matches, unbelievable!!

  • Tom Platz should have won really. But, Arnold and Franco we’re two of his biggest heroes so he never said one negative thing about the ’80 or ’81 Olympia.

  • If we are talking about symmetry and proportion vascular. Lets look at overall balance.
    Tom platz although great shape symmetry legs overwhelm upper body
    Danny ripped proportioned vascular overall balance and so Roy and even Jesup. Those guys could of gone either way. But in detail With better HD cameras Danny should of clearly won. Rumor has it he wasn’t willing to train in California stayed in rochester,ny to train. Pissed off some people not sure if that’s true. Chris Dickerson he was weird proportion bitch elbows.

  • Danny Padilla should won the Mr. Olympia title. If you see the total physique and symmetry od Padilla, way better than Franco and Tom platz.

  • I remember This Olympia all too well,and while yes I had never seen Padilla Platz and Callender in this type of shape,IMO Platz’s upper body while Much Improved was still Overshadowed by his Massive legs,so If I had been a Judge it would have been Padilla as Mr.Olympia Platz in 2nd and Callender in 3rd,but any of these 3 would have been good choices for the Crown,and IMO Padilla had finally put it all together and NO one compares to Padilla’s Aesthetics & Symmetry….Now let me add just one more comment While yes I thought all 3 of these men got shit on in 81,I have still never seen a weaker Mr.Olympia than Chris Dickerson in 82 when he won I figured he must have spent an excessive amount of time on his knees in front of the judges,He should have never been a Mr.Olympia IMO

  • he was at home in italy just going for a swim in the sea and just drowned, sad because he and Arnold had only just made a training video, its on here.

  • Losing a Mr. Olympia contest that you should have won is like a murder; it has no statute of limitations. Such is the case for both the 1980 and 1981 Mr. Olympia competitions: won by Arnold (’80) and Franco (’81). It was Mike Mentzer’s contest to lose in 1980 where he placed 5th and Danny Padilla’s to lose in 1981 where he also placed 5th. Interestingly, Chris Dickerson who placed 2nd both in ’80 and ’81 would finally claim the trophy in 1982. He was likely the only competitor to have benefited in some way from having endured the ’80 and ’81 debacles.

  • Density got franco……his legs were nowhere…… platz had baby chicken muscle denisty look at his triceps…. Thanks u didn’t speak of dikerson…. yes Danny looks better in ya 2nd pic both franco platz have undefined front thighs….

  • As I’ve always said, that was the biggest travesty of any Olympia. Sadly Platz was an uncrowded champ. The way his hams just hang from the bone on the side poses is mind blowing. Hardly ever seen more impressive legs ever since the Golden Eagle. And he ALWAYS showed incredible sportsmanship. He was a true lover of bodybuilding for sure and you could tell in every way. If I had such glaring gyno I’d only step on the biggest stage in the sport if I already knew beforehand I’ll be taking the Sandow. Just those blobs of undefined unconditioned legs Columbu had, if it was me, I’d feel so embarrassed standing next to any of the contenders. The Olympia has always been a disgusting event determined by associations and politics. The elite of the sport has always suffered because if it to this day.:(

  • Arnold with Franco legend! All the other grayness, extras, extras and losers! All right, to get to the top you have to explain everything. Strong in body and spirit is always right who do not agree go to hell! These are the laws of nature!

  • Arnold won in 1980 Mr. Olympia that’s ok that shouldn’t be that controversial cause Arnold was in a shape to be in top 3 but Franco doesn’t look the top guy in that stage so yes 1981 Mr. Olympia is the most controversial

  • Photos don’t show the complete truth. To determine who actually should be declared the winner, you have to see the video footage and you have to see it from the vantage point of the judges. Where you sit viewing the contest will give you different images of the same physique. Lighting, viewing angles, location on stage and stage presence are important in deciding contestant placement.

  • Old Franco still looked so happy to be in the gym. I remember seeing this when he died and it was awesome because he was one of my idols growing

  • Franco had great muscularity, separation and conditioning. His posing was good too… But with the arms & legs he loses on Symmetry and Proportion… Weider gave this to Franco because he gifted 1980 to Arnold… By 1980-81 Lou Ferrigno was in full swing with the Incredible Hulk and was over 300lbs. He would’ve destroyed Arnold and Franco…

  • This has to be some of the shittiest lighting I have ever seen. Worse than the ’80 Olympia and that’s saying something. Poor Franco had that leg injury from the strongman competition that impacted his prep.

  • Platz or Padilla easily. Franco did not look better than those two and a few others.
    Side note. Back in the day I saw Tom Platz at Golds Gym Venice Beach around 1986. You think those legs look impressive in pictures. Man, in person they didn’t look real! They were HUGE. He was very very short I remember. As was Franco I saw him at the old Worlds Gym run by Joe Gold back in that same era.

  • Franco’s back still beats them all. Yeah, his legs were off, but then again nobody really had great legs back then except Platz. I wouldn’t give it to Platz since he was always narrow upstairs compared to downstairs. To me it threw off his symmetry. I would give it to Padilla if he had more size, but Franco makes him look small. Franco may have had gyno but his was still more conditioned and has mor muscle maturity than Padilla. I mean look at the striations in Franco’s chest. I don’t care if he had gyno, or not he still owned the best chest at the show also.

  • Platz was never Mr. O material. His upper body never matched his legs and his shoulders were far too narrow compared to his competitors.
    Padilla was the most complete package on that stage.
    No matter how controversial Arnold & Franco’s final wins were, I still think ’82 is worse. Not only was Dickerson ridiculously outclassed by all of the final 6, I can’t see how he beat any of the 15 other competitors. Maybe Coe & Walker for conditioning & legs, but he had the weakest overall package of any Olympia competitor. Ever.
    If you watch the contest footage, he has by far the narrowest shoulders and smallest arms in the competition. Dickerson was conditioned, but he wasn’t a stand out there.
    His aesthetics are non-existent. Narrow, sloping shoulders, small arms, weirdly sloping pecs & the grotesque tear in his right, a narrow back, the weird & bulbous shape of his abs and particularly his obliques, make not only for the worst & least impressive physique by far to ever win the Olympia, but the least impressive package to ever even stand on any Olympia stage, ever.
    Seeing him sandwiched between Bannout and Beckles just really drives that home.
    There was a lot of booing at the final placings then, too. During the routines, Dickerson also had the most quiet and lacklustre response from the audience. All he got when he finished his routine was a polite smattering of subdued applause.
    I can’t credit how he ever won a major title & even got on the stage, let alone took home a Sandow.

  • Just like OD Wilson got robbed of world strongest man back in 1990. Tom platz should have won this Olympia! Columbo? A good man but Maybe 5th. Look around him.


  • 22WWWWWWWWWWW2WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW$WW22W2$2WW$WWW2W2WW2W2WW2W222W2WWWW2W22W2W2222222222a222ww222ww2a22w2ww22222a2w22222222222222222222w222222222222ww22w22w222$w222222w22222w22222w2222222222222222222w22222222222222222222w22w222222w222w22w2w22w222w222w2222222w22222222222222222222222w22w2w2222222222

  • I remember this well… The preceding year with Arnold’s controversial win, and then 1981 with FC winning, it really hit home how utterly incorrigible the judging was. Franco should have had the good grace to remove his medal and put it on either Platz or Padilla, not jump up and down.Fucking homunculus.

  • 1st place & 2nd place were both awarded wrong!!

    Way wrong!

    Neither one of those guys have the World Class genetics to win a prestigious competition.

  • I like Franco, but he should not have won. Arnold and Mr. Weider clearly had Franco pre-selected to win months before the competition. There was just as much political BS in the golden age of B.B. as there is today.

  • Padilla in 1981 and Francis Benfatto in 1990 are IMO the 2 most perfect bodies to ever grace the Olympia stage. Both were proportioned, aesthetic and ripped to the bone.

  • Does anybody knows where is that gym?I can see this gym many times in videos,and especially during the 80s.Does anybody knows wheres that?

  • Sorry but we all know MR PLATZ WAS THE MAN!!!! hands down the golden eagle was the only one who deserved #1 padilla was very lose. Franco should have been 5th at best only because of the gyno he was on everywhere else!

  • I was at this event for the entire weekend. I met with a lot of bodybuilders and Tom Platz looked fantastic. A lot of people including myself thought he was the rightful winner. This video had a lot of good information and I enjoyed it right up to the moment you described the judges decision. There was a lot of booing that definitely drowned out the cheering but the place did not turn into a madhouse like you claim. It was not pure pandemonium as you called it. I don’t remember people throwing things onto the stage. Platz was pretty gracious onstage but he was really pissed off backstage. I went to the vendor hall with about 100 other fans to meet Tom after the event was over but he was so distraught he decided not to show up. Sorry to disagree with you, but this is just how it went down. The rest of your video was very good though. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for making it.

  • Franco should not have won, firstly due to the nasty gyno that blows the eyes, secondly, he has not got the genetics of other contestants. Defintely 1891 Ne Olympia was a shameful misery.

  • I am a definite Tom platt’s fan but even I would have had to give it to Danny Padilla that day. I’m glad I wouldn’t have judge because I would have had a hard time picking between Danny and platt’s. Franco wouldn’t even have been top four.The 1980 and the 1981 was what stopped me from watching the Olympia anymore when I started watching this kind of thing in the late ’90s. I realized it was just political on who won. It wasn’t really who was the best bodybuilder. I saw it again in 2004 at the GNC show of strength in my hometown of New Orleans. With different judges Ronnie Coleman got fourth place with Gunther getting first. And Gunther deserved first I was there. We need to have rotating judges at the Olympia like Sean Ray says. It should be who’s the best bodybuilder not who is the most well-liked either that or we need to get a computer system that does it. doesn’t matter if anybody knows them or not the best body on the stage that day should win.

  • This was Tom Platz’s hour. And everybody knew it. But, the point system of how the judging worked, turned out to be in Franco’s best interest. Platz won. Dickerson 2nd and Padilla 3rd. Not to forget ROy callendar as well. I put him in the fight for second or 3rd. Franco, give me a break. It must have been pandemonium in there.

  • Danny was small in height, but he killed everyone in shape, balance,symmetry, and proportion. Platz had oversized legs and a weak upper body.

    I don’t think being short should be held against you unless you look stocky or block, which Padilla did not. Padilla had everything including muscle bellies, good posing, and great conditioning. A few inches taller and that guy could have gone down in history as one of the greatest bodybuilders of the classic era.

  • I think Callender should have won in ’81, but Dickerson and Platz looked great as well. It’s amazing that Mr. Olympia contests even survived two obviously rigged years in a row.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ernOSdoJuc4
    12:28 Jim Manion saying Padilla should have won and how he voted for him
    But on the scorecard he has Danny in THIRD
    What a corrupt POS

  • Bodybuilding is a corrupt sport the contestants are hand-picked… it’s about representing the sport nothing else… ice skating is another corrupt sport!

  • Its amusing when ppl say Yates deserved the Mr O because backs win that show. Well Franco had the best back by miles and everyone bitches, people are so fucking fickle!

  • I had a front row seat at the 1981 Mr. Olympia. a week before the contest Bob Kennedy told me Arnold had rigged it and that Franco would win. I said to Bob, “You can’t rig the Olympia. What if Franco comes in smooth and someone came in ripped?” Bob told me, “It won’t matter. Franco will win.” Franco should not have been in the top six, his legs were so bad, with no separation or cross-striations. Tom Platz should have won, Danny Padilla second, Roy Calender third, and Chris Dickerson fourth. People were booing loudly, shouting, “Bullshit. Bullshit”, throwing coins from their pockets. Ricky Wayne, editor of Flex at the time was running back and forth yelling, “It’s all bullshit. This is total bullshit.” Even Joe Weider said, “Why can’t the fucking judges be honest. I want my shows to be honest.” They couldn’t even give Franco his awards the crowd was screaming so much. They gave him his trophy and check backstage. The worst judging I have ever seen. After the show we were talking to Winston Roberts, one of the judges. He told us even the judges did not expect Franco to win. They thought he would come second. When Winston told us they couldn’t give first place to Tom because his thighs were too big. Garry Barlet said to Winston, “Yeah Winston, but you gave to a guy with no legs.”

  • I was at that competition. Danny Padilla should have won that year. One of these days I should post my pictures of that event. Many people were really upset that Franco won and were escorted out by the police.

  • Yeah regarded by what because of who they are bullshit the most controversial Mr Olympia of all time was Dorian Yates beating Pete Nasser El sonbaty that was the biggest rip-off ever

  • Tough sport
    Very political establishment subjective each year. If Columbo wasn’t friends with Arnold I’m sure outcome would have been much different

  • the gyno is so obvious, franco legs were cramp just like arnolds 1980 mr olympia, tom platz had this one, tom must have been sick. it was between platz and dickerson for the title!!!

  • No one ever mentions that Platz has one thigh with striations and the other looks smooth. Dickersons leg shape is odd and his biceps
    are pathetic not to mention his torn pec

  • You can’t have such a huge disparity between upper and lower body, Platz. Padilla too small and not hard enough. A case could be made for Dickerson. Franco had the most density, hardness, and the best back.

  • Franco had good upper body development and abdominals. His legs were like mine-chicken legs and spindly. Tom Platz had gigantic legs, and good upper body development. Platz should have won hands-down.

  • his chest separation and back were just… something else. Find me another person that short that could make big dudes look small.

  • franco didn’t look like shit.if he could have gotten his legs up that would have helped.his arms were never that big but good enough in the double bicep poses.still had the best back in the lineup.dont think he should have won.but coming off a bad leg injury n five years out.he definitely didn’t look like shit.top 10 about it

  • You watch them lift their form is perfect and how strong they were and they all did lifts the new guys don’t and nobody said the word over training they loved to train and how can you not myself I hate to leave the gym.

  • Padilla IMO had possible the most perfect physique in history here. Even if you look at his leg/torso length ratio it is perfect. If he was scaled up to 5’11 people would say he was the GOAT in this comp.

  • The gynecomastia  was simply awful. As a fan of Franco, the ’76 Olympia was just, but the ’81 title was laughable as was the ’80 Olympia for Arnold.

  • Get it right Nick. Franco did not drop the fridge on himself. He has bowlegges and one of them gave out. He was practically running with the fridge on his back.

  • I’m friends with his daughter and he was such a nice guy he didn’t hesitate to send me 3 autographed copies of his book. He died shortly after. I wish I had a chance to meet him.

  • I like Columbu’s choice of music. I love classical, even though I’m not a big Mozart fan. I think they always used hip hop music now, like it’s a gay disco party.

  • It amazes me how many losers come on Youtube and try to degrade/humiliate a legend and a winner. Very sad these peopleget a life. His second career as a chiropractor is more of an accomplishment than anything you’ll ever do or done. Sad!

  • At that time period politics and ambassadors was what was best for the sport. It was a disservice to a growing industry to crown a less popular individual.

  • At 4:08 is a good Padilla vs Columbo comparison. I think Columbo destroys him waist up. Platz should have won IMO. Nasser losing in 97′ is probably a bigger upset IMO.

  • Thank you Franco Columbu for the decades of inspiration and your scientific documentation of training and nutrition. Way ahead of your time.
    RIP Dr. Franco Columbu

  • Clearly the winner was Mr. Platz…the Quadfather, mr. Tree Trunks, Mr. Legs of Steel, Leg Master, Mr Squats, etc….his upper body was great this year too…..clearly he got screwed

  • I know that franco gets criticized for the win but as a 20 year competitor I happen to like the hard grainy conditioning of franco

  • Francos upper body was fantastic, it was his legs that let him down. His upper body was as good as anybody’s at the show if not better.

  • Absolutely agree… The judges were questionable on this one for sure. Platz was robbed… and Padilla was there. Dickerson was not good and Callender should have been 3rd..I would have had Franco 6th behind Dickerson (4th) and Wilcox at 5th.

  • This show was promoted by Arnold, it’s obvious he was gonna give it to his best buddy. In reality, Tom Platz 1st (without a doubt), Danny 2nd, Jusup 3rd… Franco shouldn’t even be in the top 5. He looked way off and that gyno.


  • Padilla and Platz obviously had better legs than Columbo; however, Columbo’s upper body ( 5:27) was much more ripped and grainy than both of them. I actually think Dickerson looked the best on that night.

  • BTW, Franco was stronger than Arnold.
    That’s a straight fact.
    He was an elite powerlifter and strongman competitor.
    Franco was a mini tank.


  • Franco could be argued to win. A sentimental win as he trained back to compete one last time. His abs looked good and arms and chest shoulder tie-in. Of course he had a great back. His calves were not bad and one thigh was very thick and separated although the other was not as symmetrical.

  • Prior to the show, None of the judges were tested for poor eyesight. And they didn’t fancy wearing glasses in a room full of oily, sweaty men. Go figure.

  • Franco,was a true great,body builder,and very strong for his size,not many people can blow up and burst a hot water bottle?R,I,P

  • O cara tinha 1,65 de altura, 40 anos em 1981,e mesmo assim treinando forte e foi lá e ainda venceu os “gigantes” que estavam competindo com ele..

  • Franco was not the best bodybuilder that day. His upper body was impressive except the gyno. Legs not near Olympia caliber. The problem is so many other guys looked so good, the votes got spread out giving Franco the title. At best, being generous he comes in 4th or 5th. But the judges reluctance to place a legend too low worked in his favor. 3 out of 7 had him first. 2 had him 2nd and he had a 3rd and 5th. The next 6 guys had votes all over the place. Dickerson, Platz, Callander, Padilla all looked so good, the judges couldn’t decide how to place them. Too much variety in the scoring. Franco should not have placed any higher than fifth. You can make a strong argument that Wilcosz and Tinnerino were better than Franco that day as well. If he stood next to Johnny Fuller, he probably didn’t deserve to place higher than him. The judge who had Franco 5th scored it Callander, Platz, Padilla and Wilcosz tied, Dickerson than Franco. And since that was the low score it gets thrown out. Perfect storm.

  • very nice movement from pose to pose. he was not a generic poser. he made the most of every shot. still amazing separation in the pecs. great lats as always. Just a little weak lower body. But charisma for days

  • Everything you said was correct, UNTIL you said the 1981Mr.Olympia wasn’t fixed… 1980 FIXED Arnold, 1981 FIXED Franco….. Case Closed!

  • Tom platz looked amazing. Franco upper body was impressive but did not the legs up to par which is understandable. Having Franco stand next to the king of legs just draws attention to his weak legs. Piss poor judging.

  • Let me stop you right there. There was definite favoritism for Franco in 81, like there was for Arnold in 80, however, saying that he looked worse than Jay’s washed out midsection, Ronnie’s disgusting bloated and wide midsection, or Dorian’s bloated and blocky midsection is simply inaccurate. It was still the golden era and Franco looked very good, minus the touch of gyno he had. Maybe Platz should have placed higher but just like in 80, there was at least as much sour grapes as there was favoritism. Arnold deserved the win in 80, even if he wasn’t at his best, he just had too many qualities, height, width of shoulders, biceps, chest, lats, that his competitors didn’t. 81 you can say is more controversial, but don’t go bananas.

  • Gyno is almost as bad to look at than turtle shell gut. A top bodybuilder in an event like the O with gyno just shows how committed he was to his compounds rather that training or diet. You can tell by Franco’s miserable legs. Spit!!

  • That kinda friendship is one in a billion, my closet friend of 15 years died of a over dose. Broke my heart his wife and mine were world’s apart and she wouldn’t let him chill with me cause she didn’t like my wife, so the last five years total of twenty I didn’t get to raise hell with my “brother”. The after life better watch out if we get to meet up.

  • You are blind dude. None of them have a front pose that can match Franko. Because he is the only one with a split developed chest.

  • Really have to see bodybuilders in real life. I saw Platz I around 88 at a guest pose.. He looked fantastic and was a likeable guy. His legs blew me away.

  • As always, spot on with your analysis. Franco should not have won the Olympia in ’81. Tom Platz looked fantastic. Franco’s legs were far sub-par to Tom’s, and Tom has no real weaknesses in the upper body where he should have lost to Franco.

  • Franco knew damn well he lost so did arnold, rigged sport just like all the rest. I think they should have cameras and computers do the judging that way they can spit out the areas of prominence and the areas lacking instantly.

  • Danny Padilla should have won this show. It was a travesty. Arnold and Franco were business partners and best friends. Talk about a conflict of interest. If you look at leveraging a Mr. Olympia title from purely a business stand point….i.e. to sell more endorsements, products, nutritional supplements…etc. Then that title not only benefits you as the winner but also whomever has a joint financial interest in your businesses as well (i.e your business partners). So the question is, what businesses were they dabbling in during this time period? This could well be an great example of fraud and collusion to bank some money. A wise business decision for Arnold.

  • ➤ Arnold Kessler’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Arnold-Kessler-Queste-Heritage-123010682423233/posts/?ref=page_internal➤ Arnold Kessler’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arnie.mcgee/

  • Nick he stepped in a hole when carrying that refrigerator. Point that out if you will. Franco would not just collapse with that refrigerator on his back.

  • Platz should have won this one.  He’d worked hard to try and bring his upper body into proportion with his incredible legs.  He may not have quite gotten there, but he was one thick dude.


  • I was there…3rd row… And believe it or not… The reason he won in my opinion was because I found myself always comparing him to the other bodybuilders… My eyes would look at Franco and then another bodybuilder and then back at Franco and then another bodybuilder… My eyes got to see Franco more than any other bodybuilder leaving me with more impressions(snapshots) of Franco… And I left that contest giving the edge to Franco… Plus everyone knew of the leg injury and his legs were better than the pictures show(somehow)… The standouts were Danny, Samir, Platz, Roy(who during the pre-judging was trying to punk Franco who was having NONE of it… Which helped Franco win) and Chris(who actually looked best in the standing relaxed from behind)…

  • At 5:06 you can hear the sound edit to cut out the throngs of Boos from the crowd over the decision. I believe this is the only footage from the event and it was done by Franco’s camp. After Danny Padilla was announced in 5th or 6th place the place apparently almost went into a riot and the show delayed. But the film edits right over it.

  • All be back
    To win my 8th Olympia in 2021 at 100 years young ����
    Why the hell not ��‍♂️
    I’m an unstoppable machine ��
    Arnold & even Joe actually spoke fondly of Hitler & his ability to work up crowd’s with his speech’s ��
    WTF? Joe was Jewish ��

  • What a shame that Franco won. He CLEARLY lost. It should have been Danny Padilla or Tom Platz taking it. Politics played a huge roll in it. Dirty and corrupt.

  • i wish today’s gym had this kind of ambiance…quiet with just enough sounds of weights unlike today loud music with some pretentious jerk slamming the plates deliberately to get over his insecurities.

  • franco and arnold always had a back up plan with their lives, even while arnold was bodybuilding he was buying real estate and securing a future cause he was smart enough to know that in bodybuilding it just takes 1 accident and its over. arnold never knew he was gonna be a famous actor and bodybuilder,yes he wanted to be badley but nothings guaranteed. franco studied to be a chiropractor to back him up and it worked out fine.

  • The worst of various Olympia wins within a highly commercially motivated Weider vehicle that consistently favored Weider mag regulars. Columbu was NEVER the world’s best built dude including ‘76 when Oliva or Nubret, had they been allowed to enter, would’ve won. Just one example. Playa/Padilla were the most deserving especially considering the sacrifice and what happened to both of them after that. Columbu was just one of the boys, protected by Weider very unfair but politics were often in evidence with Weider shows.


  • franco treinando não parecia ter muitos músculos mas quando subia no palco aparecia músculos e divisão por todos os lados do corpo!