Winning the first Arnold Classic was one of the most memorable moments in my bodybuilding career. I knew that winning this event would put me in the history books forever. As with anything else, people always remember the first of anything. For example, most people don't remember who the 9th President of the USA was, but everyone knows George Washington was our first. Roger Bannister was the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Nobody seems to recall who the second man was!
So you get the idea. Being the winner of the first Arnold eventually would make me a legend, which many have called me from all of my accomplishments in the sport of bodybuilding. Arnold himself has made the Arnold Classic much more than a bodybuilding event, with so many athletes from different sports participating at the event. It's hard to believe, but there are now more athletes competing every March in Columbus than there are at an Olympic Games.
Even though Arnold has not competed for over 30 years, he still has a passion for the sport that was the starting point of his career, which as well know encompassed tremendous success in both movies and politics.
It has now been 25 years since I won that first Arnold Classic, and now Arnold has added another bodybuilding division to the event: the 212 class. Why do I have a personal interest in this, besides also sharing a passion for the sport? The first athlete that I signed up to represent Gaspari Nutrition was Flex Lewis, who is the current 212 Olympia Showdown Champion. He and the other top 212 IFBB Pros will now have a chance to be the first 212 Division Winner of the Arnold Classic, just as I had the opportunity to make history back in 1989!
I get emotional when I think of Flex's rise to the top. In many ways he reminds me of myself when I was that competitive bodybuilder working hard to become the best I could be and making history in bodybuilding. So with the announcement of the 2014 Arnold Classic 212 class, I am excited for Flex for a chance of being the first like me. I know he will bust his butt to be the best and to be a winner! He really knows nothing else but to give it his all in everything he does, the mark of a true champion. So to my little brother Flex, I wish him the best of luck!