“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger promised us in 1984’s “Terminator,” and the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician has kept his word for 36 years.
Schwarzenegger, namesake of the Arnold Sports Festival, has returned to Columbus to attend the multi-sport fitness competition each year since 1989, watching it grow to an event featuring 12,000-plus athletes from more than 80 nations competing in over 50 sports and events.
The former governor of California will be present again at this year’s festival, which will take place Feb. 29 to March 3, primarily at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St. Some events will take place at the Ohio Expo Center and the Columbus Athenaeum.
Ticket prices vary according to event and can be purchased at arnoldsports.com/tickets.
“(Schwarzenegger) will speak at the Friday and Saturday night (March 1-2) pro bodybuilding shows, he will attend the Expo, visit sponsor booths, and attend many of the sports,” said Brent LaLonde, events director for the Arnold Sports Festival.
Muscle memories: Photos from the Arnold Sports Festival 2023
“He’ll also host a seminar, the Arnold Showcase (on March 3). It’s about three hours in an interview-type atmosphere and there will be time for the public to ask him questions.”
In addition to Schwarzenegger’s presence at the fitness fest, the Arnold Expo also will return with three stages of continuous competitions and entertainment, as well as hundreds of booths offering the latest in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition. Expo hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 1-2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 3.
At the Arnold Classic, fitness fans will see some of the most ripped and shredded physiques that bodybuilding has to offer. Pre-judging and finals will take place March 1-2.
Attendees also can witness feats of incredible strength such as the Arnold Strongman and Strongwoman classics. Other displays of physical prowess will include the USA powerlifting and weightlifting championships and the XPC powerlifting contest.
“The strength events draw a large field, not only of competitors but attendees,” LaLonde said.
Combat sports such as medieval fighting, which LaLonde describe as “a really intense competition,” also prove popular. Other events in this category include Guns & Hoses boxing and MMA, grappling and Muay Thai, sometimes called Thai Boxing.
Want to throw your hat into the ring at the Arnold? Nonprofessional bodybuilders can sign up now for the 2024 National Physique Committee Worldwide Arnold Amateur bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini, physique and wellness championships. Registration is $250 per class at arnoldamateur.com/info/registration.
Registration also is open for the World’s Strongest Firefighter Contest, which has weight classes for both men and women. The entry fee is $120 at eventbrite.com.
For event schedules and other information about the Arnold Sports Festival, visit arnoldsports.com.