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Arnold Appears At Mr. Olympia

California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, presents the 2003 Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding competition winner Ronnie Coleman with an IFBB Participation metal, during the 39th annual Mr. Olympia event Saturday, Oct. 25, 2003, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
AP
California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger showed he still has a soft spot for body building, popping in unexpectedly at the Mr. Olympia contest to congratulate its winner.

Himself a seven-time Mr. Olympia, Schwarzenegger drew cheers and chants of "Arnold" and "Governator" from the crowd Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Hotel-Casino as he handed out medals.

Ronnie Coleman, of Arlington, Texas, walked away the winner of the 39th annual competition, sponsored by the International Federation of BodyBuilders. It was his sixth consecutive title.

"Finally I feel at home again," Schwarzenegger told the estimated 6,000 spectators. "This is a terrific sport and if it wouldn't have been for bodybuilding I wouldn't have any of this. It's a great foundation."

Mr. Olympia founder Joe Weider said Schwarzenegger proves bodybuilding is about more than just lifting weights.

"Finally, it's beginning to dawn on the world that bodybuilders are smart," Weider said. "They develop determination. They don't give up. They don't lose. If they ever apply that to any profession...they can be a great success."

Rodney St. Cloud, who placed 12th, called Schwarzenegger's appearance special.

Said St. Cloud: "He shows that if you put your heart and soul into anything you can do it."