Founded in 1989 in Columbus, Ohio as a 1-day bodybuilding competition named The Arnold Classic, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Arnold Sports Festival (ASF) has grown to become the largest 4-day multi-sport event in the world.  Held not only in the United States, the ASF is also currently held in Australia, Europe, Brazil, and Africa.

According to PCMA, the Professional Convention Management Association,  “In 1989, after winning the Mr. Olympia contest in Columbus every year between 1970-1975, bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with sports promoter Jim Lorimer, launched the very first Arnold Sports Festival. What began as a small, one-day professional bodybuilding competition in Columbus, with just 24 competitors, is now an international four-day festival that features more than 80 sports and events and draws more athletes than the Olympics!.”

Featuring over 22,000 athletes from around the world, it now encompasses not only bodybuilding (the Arnold Classic), but strongman (the Arnold Strongman Classic), fitness, figure and bikini competitions (professional and amateur), and so much more.   

These athletes will compete in more than 80 different events including a record 16 Olympic events. The ASF website lists the 16 Olympic events as: “archery, boxing, fencing, futsal, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, a 5K run, soccer, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting.”  In addition to the 22,000 athletes, it is expected that more than 200,000 sports and fitness fans will descend upon the Columbus Ohio area to cheer on their favorite athletes. Events will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Ohio Expo Center and various other central Ohio venues.

Major events include the 32nd annual Arnold Classic, the Arnold Strongman Classic, the Arnold Amateur Strongman and World Championships, and the Arnold Amateur NPC Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Physique Championships.   The Arnold Fitness EXPO, featuring more than 1,000 booths and exhibitors, is the nation’s largest health and fitness exposition. Showcasing leading industry businesses and featuring the latest in sports equipment, apparel, and nutrition; there will be four stages hosting unique, non-stop competitions and entertainment.

In addition to the traditional events, the Arnold Sports Festival (ASF) will debut a new amateur “wellness division” and Arnold Education in 2020.  According to the NPC News online website, the wellness division is “for females with athletic physiques that showcase more body mass in the hips, glutes and thigh areas. The upper body is developed but not to the same degree as the lower body.”  Other new events in 2020 will include WPO Powerlifting, Medieval Fighting, Teen Strongman, Cup Stacking, ROGUE World Weightlifting Challenge and more.  

If you are interested in learning the methods and science behind the athletics, Arnold Education may be for you.  ASF has teamed up with the training company Dominate Your Game!.  The ASF website explains:  “With top speakers from strength & conditioning, sports nutrition, rehabilitation, fitness & health, and the sport sciences, you will have the opportunity to be exposed to the best research in the industry, and also learn how to apply it in the real world, for yourself and your clients.”

From an expanded kids and teens EXPO, to the new wellness division and Arnold Education, to the Arnold Classic and Strongman competitions – there is something for everyone.  No matter your age, whether you are a professional, amateur or fan you won’t be disappointed. The festival will be held in Columbus, Ohio March 5th – 8th 2020.

To see all 80+ sports, events and schedules and to get your tickets, check out the official Arnold Sports Festival website.

Who knows, maybe you will be lucky enough to see the man himself!