Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria in 1947. His father worked for the police and later served in World War II; reportedly as a member of the Nazi party. They were Catholics. Right from childhood, Arnold played a lot of sports and was average in classwork. At 15, he decided to pursue bodybuilding. When he was 17, he started competing in the sport. He would visit a gym in Graz to train, and his motivation came from bodybuilders, such as Steve Reeves and Reg Park. He was so obsessed with training that he would break into the gym over the weekend, when it was closed, because he did not want to miss a single day of training. Schwarzenegger did not have a good relationship with his father and he did not attend his funeral in 1972.
Serving in the army
Schwarzenegger was in the Austrian army when he was 18, as part of service to the country. He won the Mr. Europe junior category, but was put in military prison for missing basic training while preparing for the contest. A few months later, he entered another bodybuilding competition and was voted ‘the best built man in Europe’.
One of the judges, Charles Bennett, offered to stay and coach him in London. He later won the Mr. Universe title, when he was 20. He went back to Munich and started working in a health club while attending business school.
Moving to America
At 21, he moved to the USA. He started training in Los Angeles at Gold’s Gym, in Venice. Joe Weider was his supervisor. He won the Mr. Olympia title in New York when he was 23, and won it seven times after.
In 1977, at the height of his bodybuilding career, he wrote the autobiography: Education of a Bodybuilder, and it became an instant hit. He started taking English lessons at Santa Monica College and in 1983, he became an American citizen.