Arnold Schwarzenegger's height has become an enigma. Debated on a daily basis on both bodybuilding and celebrity sites, one would think by simply measuring Arnold's height on a scale then the whole topic would cease to exist. If only someone had measured Arnold in the past you might think. Well, what if someone did?
Introducing Vince Basile
Vince Basile is a Canadian bodybuilder who competed during the 1960s and 1970s.
Shortly after becoming Mr.Canada 1970, Vince emigrated to Austrailia where he bought his first gym and later a factory which he uses to design and build gym equipment. Today Vince still lives in Austrailia, where he now owns a much larger gym, is still designing gym equipment and actively lifts weights into his 60s.
Typically, although many bodybuilding contests used to (and still do) have height categories for competitions, there was no 'strict' measuring process by which a bodybuilder's height catagory was decided. Instead the bodybuilders were trusted to enter the correct height catagory that their genuine heights fell into. It should be noted that in general, the 'tall' category has usually been for heights over 5'9", which was the category Arnold was always entered.
Measuring in HawaiiKnowing that Vince Basile was the only individual to ever go on record as having measured Arnold Schwarzenegger, we at Arnoldheight.com felt obliged to look into his story. Vince's story first came to light in an internet bodybuilding forum, when, after learning that so many people were claiming Arnold to be significantly under six feet, he decided to step in to tell everyone what he knew.
In Febuary of 1969, several bodybuilders including Arnold and Vince decided to measure themselves against the scale in Mit's gym of Honolulu, Hawaii.
"Several of the guys there claimed certain heights and everyone was at least 1/2 inch shorter on Mit's scale. Arnold claimed 6' 2" but measured 6' 1 1/2" that evening. I did say that he might be 6-2 in the morning."
Vince is of course correct concerning how everyone shrinks over the course of the day. As the day progresses, water in the disks of the spine gets compressed due to gravity causing up to an inch of temporary height loss. As Arnold was measured 6'1 1/2", it is highly probable that he would be 6'2" and potentially slightly over at first thing in the morning.
"There were several other people there when I measured Arnold and several other guys. Paul Graham from Australia and Bob Bruce from New Zealand who promoted contests were two others I remember getting measured. Both of those guys were under 5-8 and I have a good idea how tall I am. I measured 5-9 1/2 that day and that is about right so the gauge was accurate."
Accuracy of the evidenceConcerning the height measuring scale, Vince makes his opinions very clear:
"The only thing left to check is if that scale in Mit's was accurate. I have no idea but the other fellows who we measured for height all lost half an inch. My opinion is that the height gauge was accurate... We never checked to see if the height gauge on Mits' scale was correct but no one, including Arnold, complained about the results."
One may argue that Vince Basile is biased towards his fellow bodybuilder and could be making the whole story up. From our perspective at Arnoldheight.com, Vince Basile is a straightforward, honest man who has nothing to gain from telling the world this story. Although Vince does not 'hate' Arnold, he has been critical of his status as the greatest bodybuilder of all time and does by no means idolize Arnold, as many bodybuilders past and present do. Incidently, Schwarzenegger placed Vince last at the 1975 Mr. Austrailia contest. If Vince was an untruthful man then he could easily claim that Arnold measured 5'10" as a way of getting 'revenge'. Instead, he has chosen to tell it as he saw it.
When presented with a few images of Arnold appearing close in height to shorter people, Vince reasons:
"Photos can mislead. It all depends on angles and so on. If you look at the lineup at the 1980 Olympia you can see that Arnold towers over most of the competitors."
ConclusionIt is impossible to ignore this strong evidence when considering Arnold's true height. As Vince has said, the only variable is in the accuracy of the height scale used. It seems almost a certainty from his testimony, that Arnold was at least 6'1 1/2" tall in 1969. Even if the scale was considerably incorrect then this story at least proves that Arnold has a good reason to believe that he is noticeably over 6 feet. It should be noted that Arnold gave his height as 6'1 1/2" in an interview in 1980. This may well be Arnold's recollection of the 1969 measurement and would again suggest that as far as Arnold is concerned, he is being completely honest about his height. Whatever his exact height, this is a serious blow to the many sceptics that believe Arnold to be 5'10" and cannot be easily dismissed.
For those interested in bodybuilding, More of Vince's bodybuilding tales from years gone by can found at the Ironage.us forums by clicking here.
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