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Interview with Danny Padilla.

25 November 2009 2 Comments

danny padillaQ: Hi Danny. Good to talk to you again. Lets discuss your 1981 Olympia preparation. How long did it take you to prepare for the ’81 Olympia.

A: I prepared for the 1981 Olympia for a full year.

Q: How did you qualify to compete at this Olympia and what inspired you to get into such great shape?

A: I came in second in my weight class at a previous Olympia to qualify for the 1981 Olympia. While in California, someone told me that I had never won the show because I was never cut enough . . . this motivated me to compete.

Q: How old were you when you competed at the 1981 Olympia?

A: I was 30 years old.

Q: What did you weigh and what was your body-fat percentage?

A: One week prior to this contest I weighed 157 pounds. On the night of the show I weighed 176. There was no fat to be found anywhere on my body at the ’81 Olympia.

Q: In the off-season, prior to this Olympia, what was your body weight, and body-fat percentage, if you can recall this?

A: My body-fat percentage was 16% in the off-season at 178 pounds. I never really get grossly out of shape.

Q: Did you bring any muscle groups up for this contest? Which ones, and by how much?

A: I improved my back muscles and abdominals while bringing my waistline down to 28 inches.

Q: Overall, what improvements did you make for the ’81 Olympia?

A: Basically, the overall improvement was a to bring in a complete package. Every muscle and all of the muscle groups could be seen.

Q: What training methods did you use at the time? Also, describe your pre-contest diet at this time.

A: Each body part was trained twice a week. The push-pull system was used the last 10 weeks before the show, three times a week. I went against the rule of low carbs and stayed on 80 grams of protein and consumed all the carbs that I needed (mostly fruits, veggies, brown rice and yogurt). At that point I did not worry about calories. I also jogged three days a week, 5 miles per run. In the last two weeks prior to the show I counted calories: On the first week I took in 1500 calories and on the last week, 1000. Mind you, during the last ten days prior to the show I was too weak to lift weights or do aerobics. I basically worked in the store with my dad and rested as much as I could. The Monday before the contest I weighed exactly 157. On Wednesday I began to double my calories and double my carbs until Saturday.

Q: How did you feel mentally during the weeks leading up to this competition? Were you excited, confident of doing well?

A: I visualized what I wanted to look like before the show and then came up with a plan to achieve that condition. I was excited and confident because Arnold had retired and I figured I had a real chance.

Q: Physically, how did you feel? Did you feel strong and energetic, or depleted and weak?

A: I felt very strong in the beginning of my program but in the last two weeks I was depleted.

Q: Do you think you achieved the best shape of your life for this contest? What did you do differently to achieve this effect.

A: I was in the best shape of my life for the 1981 Olympia, even though the IFBB said I looked too depleted because they had to save face for choosing the wrong winner. If Tom Platz, or Roy Calender, won, I could have accepted it. Although I would have liked it better if I had won. The other show I looked great for was the 1990 Night of the Champions. I was beat by Dorian Yates and Momo Benaziza. I thought that I had the most complete physique at a body weight of 225 pounds, and cut to shreds.

Q: As an athlete, what did you gain from doing well in this Olympia?

A: Well, the only thing I gained was I became world famous. Also, I made the Padilla name famous and it’s in the history books of bodybuilding. There were some financial benefits but, unfortunately, when you’re five foot two and your eyes ain’t blue you don’t make the same amount of money as a man over six feet . . . because with the Olympia it’s the tallest and biggest man that makes the show.

Q: Who did you train with (if anyone) during the pre-contest phase building up to the 81′ Olympia? What other support did you have?

A: I trained with my best friend Larry Baker, an attorney who loved to lift weights. The only other support I had was me, myself and I. Of course, my parents supported me. I received no support from Weider or the magazine (Muscle Builder).

Q: Where did you train (which town and what gym)?

A: I trained at the Rockelle Fitness Centre in Rochester, NY.

Q: Going into the show, did you know who your main competition would be?

A: I had an idea Roy Calender would be tough. Also, I knew that Tom Platz would be tough. At the time I knew that Arnold had two “friends” that were in the contest. That was Franco Columbu, (who had won the Olympia one time already) and another guy from Germany. His name was Jusup Wilcosz.

Q: Who did you see as your biggest threat to winning the Olympia?

A: The biggest threat was Franco, Arnold’s training partner.

Q: During the contest, what were some of the moments you remember as being interesting? What was the atmosphere like backstage?

A: I remember Arnold talking to Franco, basically stating that it was going to be tough for him to win the show because of Tom Platz, and myself. I personally think Arnold wanted Franco to drop out, but he stayed anyway and somehow he won the show, the atmosphere was incredible. I remember distinctly, Arnold, Franco and Bill drake pumping up . . . getting Franco ready for the show. I was very confident. I knew I looked incredible, and my friend Larry Baker thought for sure that I won the show. We heard people calling on a pay phone in the back saying that they “didn’t think Danny could lose this show”.

Q: After the ’81 Olympia, were you back in the gym training, or did you take some time off?

A: After the 1981 Olympia, because working out was my first love, even though I was humiliated, I still trained. But I lost my drive for competition.

Q: What were your thoughts on the outcome of the ’81 Olympia? Do you think you deserved better, and why?

A: I definitely thought that if I didn’t win, I could have at least been second. The crowd was with me. When I was called fifth, half the audience booed and left the auditorium. The fans followed me all the way to my hotel! But the worst part of this show was the network that was filming stopped because of the audience reaction. The other mysterious thing about this show is that there are hardly any photos and absolutely no film of it. Who has ever heard of a Mr. Olympia not being filmed? If anyone does have film or photos, please contact me. The only photos I know of are owned by Joe Weider and Flex magazine and John Balik, the owner of Ironman.

Q: Well, you are obviously very committed to bodybuilding as evidenced by your return to the Masters stage. What are your thoughts on the cancellation of the Masters Olympia this year?

A: I was disappointed that it was cancelled. I was in training and in great shape.

Q: Thank you very much for your time Danny. One last question. Are you determined to compete at the Masters Olympia if it is held again?

A: Hopefully, if my health holds out and they don’t cancel the show again. It’s obvious that I’d have to compete for “ego” only because the prize money is so bad I can make more by selling newspapers. It is very sad that when a bodybuilder hits his forties or fifties, it’s not like the golf masters, they just want you to go away and die somewhere.

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