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Organizers say Arnold Sports Festival will return to Columbus in 2022

The Arnold Classic and other bodybuilding events for 2021 will be held in September.
Credit: WBNS-10TV / Scott Doelling
File photo - Arnold Schwarzenegger Statue / Columbus, Ohio

Organizers for the Arnold Sports Festival say the annual event will be returning to Columbus next year.

The 2022 festival is scheduled for March 3-6 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Officials say more information will be released soon.

The festival, which draws more than 20,000 athletes and 200,000 fans to Columbus, has been canceled for the last two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers also confirmed the Arnold Classic and other bodybuilding contests will be held in Columbus on Sept. 25 to crown winners this year.

“It is important to offer full prize money at the Arnold Classic this year,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “The athletes deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication during this difficult year. We promise to make this year’s Arnold Classic one to remember.”

The Arnold Classic, the marquee event of the festival, has been held annually since 1989.

“The Arnold Classic has been held for 32 consecutive years and it would be unthinkable to go a year without providing the athletes the opportunity to compete,” Schwarzenegger said. “My support of the sport of bodybuilding is enormous and, with the help of our sponsors, we are committed to making this year’s Arnold Classic a tremendous success.”

In March, organizers said they planned to allow roughly 20% attendance based on the state's guidelines at the time.

Tickets for the 2021 Arnold Classic will go on sale June 15.

In 2020, some of the festival’s competitions did go on as scheduled in Columbus, but without any fans in attendance.