During the summer of 1973, Schwarzenegger was deep into his training for the upcoming Mr. Olympia contest. He was shooting for his fourth consecutive title, which would break the record of three, one he held at the time with perennial rival Sergio Oliva.
Schwarzenegger was the favorite going into the September show, but Arnold, being Arnold, never took anything for granted. His best pal, Franco Columbu, despite giving up nine inches in height to The Oak, posed a formidable threat, with his bat-wing lats and split pecs. France's Serge Nubret was steadily improving each year and was one of the few pro bodybuilders whose physique outfinessed even Schwarzenegger's.
Then there was Oliva. It wasn't clear whether he could or would enter the 1973 Mr. Olympia, but if he did, looking anywhere close to the awesome form he showed the prior year, Schwarzenegger would have a tooth-and-nail battle on his hands. So the reigning Mr. O took to the weights with immeasurable ferocity that summer.
Schwarzenegger's training ground of choice was Gold's Gym, a 3,500-square-foot concrete box erected eight years earlier by Joe Gold. It sat a few feet back from Pacific Avenue and a few hundred yards off the Pacific Ocean.
In a handful of years bookending 1973, Schwarzenegger, along with a few dozen other pioneers who would brave the unfriendly wilds of a misunderstood sport, made Gold's his home, his temple, his refuge. It was in this place at this time that Schwarzenegger's legendary status within bodybuilding would be cemented.