I read with great interest your take
on the FitnessLink online health-source survey that revealed its viewers consider Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the most influential fitness personality of the millennium Outliers (Dec. 6, p. 60). Although you cite some fitness pioneers who came to prominence while Schwarzenegger was still in diapers, our survey invited opinions on the most "influential" personality, or the person who inspired the most people to pursue healthier lifestyles and fomented the greatest change in our perceptions about health and fitness, not on who was the first to advocate daily exercise. (Benjamin Franklin advocated daily exercise in the 1700s.)
You make a fine call with Kenneth Cooper, M.D., who pioneered aerobics in the 1960s. However, it wasn't until Jane Fonda came along that the masses embraced his teachings. That she was among the top three in the survey is a testament to Cooper.
Although we certainly don't recommend cigar smoking, and I have no reason to defend Schwarzenegger, your comment that he has a "history of steroid abuse" overstates his use. When Schwarzenegger and his contemporaries were competing in the Venice Beach, Calif., days, doctors routinely prescribed steroids, which were thought to be safe.
Are there other people who present a more wholesome, smoke-free image? Of course. But how many of them have Schwarzenegger's ability to make people get off the couch?
Publisher and editor
FitnessLink-All the News That's Fit