Arnold Classic, combat sports, bodybuilders & Schwarzenegger among highlights of festival

The Arnold Sports Festival is famous worldwide for its bodybuilding and strength contests, but the 4 days even draws more than just onlookers to see ripped and shredded bodies.

Various will join to the Greater Columbus Convention Center for festival centerpiece, the Arnold Classic as well as weightlifting and Strongman events you need not be a fan of those exhibitions to attend.

How did the Arnold Sports Festival start?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilder in early 20s whom he met jim lorimer then mayor of Worthington at the 1970 Mr World bodybuilding championship.

The couple enjoyed a decades long friendship that include founding the Arnold Classic which became the Arnold Sports Festival in 1989.

In Instagram post after Lormer death in November 2022 Schwarzenegger referred to handshake agreement to promote bodybuilding together and the Arnold growth from small bodybuilding show to sports festival with 200,000 visitors and more athletes than Olympics.

What’s new at this year’s festival

The Stack3d Select Pavilion is a dedicated area at front of Arnold Expo that will house more than 25 exhibitors offering health and wellness products like energy drinks, foods and more.

Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear Friday through Sunday

No Arnold is complete without its namesake and co founder Arnold Schwarzenegger who attends sports fest each year. Spectators will spot him Friday through Sunday as well as at 5K Pump and Run which starts at 10:30 am. Sunday at convention center.

The Arnold Showcase brings about 2000 people to Battelle Grand. At the showcase does a Q&A and touches all aspects of his career from bodybuilding to politics and movies.

If you desire to see schwarzenegger up close and personal you will desire to attend Arnold Showcase which starts at 9:30 am. Sunday in convention center Battelle Grand ballroom at 9:30 am. Sunday.

Several events require individual tickets

Admission to the Arnold Expo and events at the Greater Columbus Convention Center is included in Daily Expo Ticket. Daily tickets, Fast Passes that include early admission and 3 Day Tickets are available at www.

Guest must purchase tickets separate from the Arnold Expo to attend the following events:

Attendees can view female bodybuilders in these competitions:

  • Fitness International Prejudging at 12 30 pm Friday Arnold Expo Stage finals at 7 pm Friday Battelle Grand at convention center
  • Wellness International Prejudging at 12:30 pm Friday Arnold Expo Stage finals at 7 pm Friday Battelle Grand
  • Bikini International Prejudging at 11 am Saturday Arnold Expo Stage finals at 7 pm Saturday Battelle Grand.d
  • Arnold Amateur 8 am Thursday Friday Battelle Grand $25
  • International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Pro League Meet & Greet 7 pm Thursday Hilton Columbus Downtown 402 N High St $35.
  • Friday nigh finals for Arnold Classic Physique Fitness International Wellness International and Arnold Classic prejudging
  • 7 pm Friday Arnold Expo stage $60-$85
  • Saturday night finals for Arnold Classic Arnold Men Physique and Bikini International 7 pm Saturday Battelle Grand $70-$120
  • Arnold strongman classic 1-6pm. Friday Strongman Arena $50-$89
  • Arnold Strongwoman Classic noon to 5pm Saturday Strongman Arena $50-$89
  • Arnold Sunday showcase featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger 9 30 am to 1 pm Sunday Battelle Grande $35.
  • Parking at the Ohio Expo Center will cost $12. Free shuttles will run from Ohio Expo Center to Greater Columbus Convention Center Thursday through Sunday.
  • Parking available at convention center and nearby lots.

The Arnold Sports Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center 400 N High st. Some events take place at Ohio Expo Center Columbus Athenaeum, Hilton Columbus and Hyatt Regency.

Combat sports among famous Arnold Sports Festival events

In addition to lifting and physique events LaLonde said combat sports round out the three pillars of the Arnold biggest crowd pleasers.Combat sports include Muay Thai boxing, grappling, MMA fighting and martial arts festival take place Friday through Sunday at the Ohio Expo Center.

Gun & Hoses returns to festival boxing ring

Guns & Hoses charity boxing event which pits local police officers and firefighters against each other.

This is 9th year for Guns & Hoses and it is a tiebreaker year since there is a 4 4 split between police and fire.

Donovan Byas who represent the Columbus Division of Fire when he defends the heavyweight title.

Arnold Classic, Strongman/Strongwoman anchor festival

Touting the Arnold Classic as the marquee event of weekend.

Of the 90 or so total bodybuilders who will participate in this year sports fest 11 will be oiled up and posed for Classic. Representing the UK defending champion Samson Dauda famous as the Nigerian Lion will return to compete for 2nd title.

Arnold Classic and other bodybuilding competitions focus on appearance other events are judged on physical strength Lalonde noted.

Challenges in strength competition include elephant bar deadlift of up to 1100 pounds and Dinnie Stone carry over 700 pounds.

Gymnasts to spring into action at the Arnold Sports Festival

Integrity Athletics of Plain City will jump back into Arnold this year for the gymnastics competition which bring contenders from gym across the country to participate in trampoline and tumbling as well as women artistic gymnastics.

Must see events at the Arnold Sports Festival

The fitness exposition will return to convention center with over 800 booth showing 300 companies and 3 stages of nonstop competitions and entertainment. Arnold Expo hours are 10 am to 7 pm Friday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm Sunday.

Going to the Arnold Classic Sam Hunt concert or gallery hop? Be aware of traffic closures

Street closures during the Arnold Sports Festival

Motorist should be aware that will be severa street closures at multiple times during the Arnold.

Starting Friday at 8 am there will be closure on west side of North High Street daily through Sunday. Streets will be shut at North High Street are West Swan Street Spruce Street and Vine Street.Driver will be able to access parking in garage at 45 Vine St.

Closures will be removed each day after sports festival is over at 10 pm according to information from the Columbus Division Police Special Events Bureau.

At 8 30 am on Sunday High street will close in front of the Greater Columbus Convention Center 400 N High St for setup of the Arnold Classic 5K Pump and Run which will start at 10 30 am at North High and Goodale Streets.

Closures at North High Street and Goodale Street will start at 8 am Sunday will be rolling closures along the race route which includes much of Downtown.

The race is expected to end noon and roads are to reopen by 1 pm with exception of aforementioned streets at North High Street West Swan Street Spruce Street and Vine Street which will shut until events at convention center are over again parking in the Vine Street garage will be accessible.

The course map for Arnold Classic 5K Pump and Run can viewed at

Where can you park in the Short North Arena District Convention Center?

  • To assist guide you here are links to some of areas garages
  • For gallery hop parking visit
  • For parking reservations near Nationwide Arena
  • For parking near Greater Columbus Convention Center visit availability.

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