(Columbus, February 27, 2018) — The 30th Arnold Classic, the professional bodybuilding competition that is the foundation of the Arnold Sports Festival, will be among the events hosted by the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) during the return of the world’s largest multi-sport festival.
“This will be the biggest and best Arnold Sports Festival we’ve ever had,” said Jim Lorimer, chief executive officer of Classic Productions, Inc. and co-founder of the festival. “Arnold Schwarzenegger has been coming to Columbus for more than 40 years and we began the Arnold Classic 30 years ago this year. We have a long and wonderful history together. When the convention center opened, that’s when people started coming from around the world.”
“It is exciting to see how far we have come with the festival. Our goal was to promote the competitive side of bodybuilding to gain respect, but one thing led to another and here we are,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger, the festival co-founder. “You always need a reason to celebrate and this festival will be the best ever. We want to make the world a healthier place and everyone is welcome.”
The festival is expected to attract more than 200,000 attendees from dozens of nations, nearly 22,000 participating athletes, 1,100 Arnold Fitness EXPO booths, 16 Olympic sports and 78 total sports and events scheduled at 13 venues. There will be 100 local hotels booked by attendees during their stay. The festival also utilizes the services of a 600-person volunteer medical team staffing 30 stations, and hundreds of additional general volunteers.
The 12 new events this year are Alliance Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), axe throwing, body painting, Classic Physique for amateurs and professionals, two education forums, kid’s splash and dash, pickleball, racquetball, Terminator Fight Series and UMG Gaming.
Art at the Arnold will have a new location in the North Atrium, near the GCCC’s popular “As We Are” interactive sculpture.
The new Arnold Classic Championship Axe Throwing event will include a chance for any attendee over age 18 to try throwing for free on March 2. Tournament-qualifying throws will be held on March 3 and the championship round for the top 16 throwers on March 4.
The festival events at the GCCC are:
Within the GCCC, there will be four stages providing entertainment – Arnold Fitness EXPO Stage, Rogue Strength Stage, Concourse Stage and Midway Labs USA Stage.
A focal point of the festival is the popular 1,100-booth Arnold Fitness EXPO in Exhibit Halls A-D with a huge array of sports equipment, apparel, nutritional products, competitions and entertainment.
Arnold Fitness EXPO general admission hours are:
Arnold Fitness EXPO tickets are $15 per adult per day in advance at www.ticketmaster.com/arnold and $20 at the door per day. Kids age 14 and younger are admitted free with an adult paying admission. Baby strollers are not permitted within the EXPO.
Free shuttles will operate between the GCCC and Ohio Expo Center from March 2-4.
“We’re proud to offer an expanded and enhanced convention center to the festival. The Arnold Sports Festival will be utilizing new spaces this year to the fullest extent as a result of our 22-month expansion and renovation that was underway during the past two festivals,” said GCCC General Manager John R. Page. “We are honored to contribute to the growth of this event that is now presented on six continents.”