Arnie and Franco come across the new phenomenon of CrossFit and the CrossFit Games while watching ESPN on the sports channel on cable television. Both are automatically hooked on the variety of exercise and fitness routines and high intensity.
Franco calls Arnie to have a look at the sport, ‘Arnie, get a look at this. This will be good for our training.’ As soon as Arnie has a bit of a closer observation he said, ‘Franco, let’s do it, c’mon’. What Arnie and Franco liked about CrossFit was that it provided good strengthening and endurance training.
Franco looked up and called the nearest CrossFit group next to their Venice Apartments and organised for himself and Arnie to have a specific session tailor-made just for them. ‘This is going to be awesome Franco, I can’t wait for it.’
The next morning Arnie and Franco have another one of their hearty deluxe continental breakfasts before going to CrossFit and spending time after talking to some of the other bodybuilders about the fun, excitement and energy of CrossFit as they had seen it on ESPN on cable television.
Both travel past Venice ‘Muscle’ Beach in their Ferrari (Franco) and Lamborghini (Arnie). Franco pumps ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor loud on his car CD player, and both beep their horns simultaneously, catching the attention of members of the local general Venice Beach public. These people wave frantically to Arnie and Franco and try to chase them down the main street of Venice Beach.
Arnie and Franco arrive at the Venice ‘Paradiso’ CrossFit warehouse to meet Steve James, the head Venice CrossFit instructor. Arnie and Franco are in for a special treat with Steve, who has organised specific and unique exercises for the two. The Venice location was a medium-sized warehouse with all the equipment ready to go. This will be the first taste of CrossFit for the two. ‘This looks like the military or Gladiators all over Franco,’ Arnie said excited.
There were a number of tough exercise routines for Arnie and Franco to undertake. Here is a list of them: First of all jump over a wooden beam, a floor-to-ceiling rope, fast walking up-and-back carrying a medicine ball, sit-ups throwing a medicine ball back to each other taking turns, as many chin-ups they can do, as many sit- ups they can do, as many freestyle squats and lunges they can do, as many 50kg bench presses they can do, tyre waist pull, as many weights-bell straight front shoulder raises, carry weights boulder up and down warehouse as many times as they can, bend down and turn 20kg weight over and over up and down warehouse as many times as they can, pulling small car towards them and pushing huge weights boulder with arms and shoulders. Both motivated each other all the way.
Arnie and Franco would spend the whole day at the Venice CrossFit warehouse, taking much needed breaks in between and pushing to the point of exhaustion. Both even felt like fainting at one point. Both would do CrossFit once a week as it gave them the edge over other competitors and their training at gyms like Venice Gold’s Gym and other gyms in California and sometimes inter-state.
Both would finish off the day with another full-on deluxe continental dinner back at their Venice Apartments and sit back in the lap of luxury after a hard day’s training.
Now Arnie and Franco were lucky to have the CrossFit Games come up in time before the 1975 IFBB Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions. Both were over the moon. The CrossFit Games is what they had seen on ESPN on cable television that day. They would take part as special guests and will receive honorary citizenship of Venice Beach to represent Venice Beach at the CrossFit Games. Arnie and Franco were well prepared for this, getting in months of time and effort at the Venice CrossFit warehouse.
When the day of the CrossFit games arrived, it was like Arnie and Franco were taking part in the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions. The look on their faces said it all, like the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ song Arnie was playing along the way. They were pumped and ready, ‘I never been this excited before Franco, look at the crowd and atmosphere and the course before us, it is like the real thing (Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia).
The speaker at the 6th CrossFit Games (Interstate), at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in California, announces that Arnie and Franco are special guests on the course, unveiled to the fans and spectators at the last minute. The cameras switch to them and they appear on the big video screen at the Coliseum. The crowd erupts into an ecstatic frenzy, overly-excited to see the two champions joining the growing popular event. The applause, shouting and whistling for the two lasts for two minutes but seemed to last forever. Arnie and Franco were flattered. ‘Let’s do it Franco,’ Arnie says.
There were no special rules for Arnie and Franco and they would be treated like the other competitors. Both would not push too hard as they did not want to injure themselves for their pet bodybuilding event.
The race begins and Arnie and Franco put away their casual laughs and zoom off with considerable pace for someone their sizes. Both decide to keep up with each other to motivate one another by verbally and physically pushing themselves to finish the course.
The commentators and media at the event would sometimes cross to Arnie and Franco competing.
The months spent at Venice CrossFit helped out tremendously for Arnie and Franco throughout the course, despite being absolutely exhausted by the end of the race. They finish the monkey bars and jumping squats, having pushed that extra bit towards the finish. Of the 100 competitors taking part, Arnie and Franco came in at 48th and 49th respectively and were more than happy with their achievements.
The operators of the 1975 6th CrossFit Games (Inter-state) awarded Arnie and Franco with their Certificates of Achievements and gold medallions for finishing and participating in the event. Each competitor received this award.
The announcing host got Arnie to say a few words, ‘We worked hard to be here today and Franco and I absolutely love this sport. The atmosphere is electric at CrossFit and it is like training for the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia, which you are all invited to later this year. It is definitely something we will be doing in the future and we will be back next year. What exercises, what intensity, what a sport? In the meantime, Franco and I have worked up an appetite, so we are going back to our places and having one of our delicious and filling deluxe continental dinners because these Games really make you hungry.’
Until Part 4 of Pumping Iron: Tales of Arnie and Franco
- · CrossFit Games, ‘About the Games’ and ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)’
- · ‘Pumping Iron’ documentary (1977)
- · Wikipedia, ‘Pumping Iron’
- · Wikipedia, ‘Venice, Los Angeles’