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Local competitors prepare for first Arnold Sports Festival since 2020

Lenny Wicks and Rico Ross are in the gym, this week, preparing for the 2022 Arnold competition.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An escape. That’s what they call it.

It’s an escape, for them, that did all the heavy lifting and helped them get through COVID.

“It messed up a lot because it stopped a lot of the competition that was going on,” Lenny Wicks said.

Wicks received his professional card for competing in men’s classic physique in 2019. The year 2020, for him, was originally going to be a year to further his name in the sport.

“And COVID shut all that down,” he said. “So, I didn’t compete at all. All I did was train all of 2020.”

Rico Ross is an amateur in the event. He’s been training for this competition for the last 13 weeks. With one event under his belt this weekend he, too, is setting his sights on the Arnold.

“First time ever,” he said. “Second show ever.”

This week, Ross and Wicks are in the gym. Their trainer, Mike Davies, says the return of the Arnold, which is a Columbus staple event that is recognized on the world stage, is always exciting. 

This year, though, he says there’s an extra add-on being the first time in two years the event is back to normal.

“We’re excited,” he said. “I think the whole city is excited.”

This will be Wicks’ first time competing in the Arnold as a pro. Knowing spectators will once again be allowed in he says that’s another reason to give them his best performance.

“The energy in there is just amazing,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s another show that’s going to be as exciting as that show.”

Ross is hoping to cash in on that excitement, too.

“I’m feeling it already,” he said. “I feel like I’m on stage right now. I feel like it’s already here.”

They call it an escape from being in the gym through the chaos of COVID. 

This weekend, though, they’re hoping for a return to reality and rep the hometown on an international stage.

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