The feeling of camaraderie that we had back in the 70s was fantastic. There was a group of us—all bodybuilding champions—who were really just like a family. All brothers. We were from different countries and had different ethnic backgrounds and religions, but it didn’t matter. We were there, training at Gold’s Gym in Venice, to be champions, and that’s what connected us.

We trained together, we went out to eat together, we went to the beach together, we went to parties together, and we’d even go to the movies together. Bodybuilding wasn’t that popular back then. It was still considered a weird subculture that not too many people knew about. We were the odd men out, so we banded together.

That camaraderie gave us strength. We fed off one another’s energy. Back in the day there was so much energy coming out of Gold’s Gym that you could have lit up all of L.A. Can you imagine a gym scene that included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Ken Waller, Kent Kuehn, Roger Callender, Ed Corney, Frank Zane, and Dave Dupree as the regulars? Man, how could you not have gotten excited to train with those guys around?

What a time that was! I feel like I was part of something good—something great— and I will never forget that.