COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Arnold Classic returns to Columbus on Saturday for the first time in more than a year.
Usually held in March, the event was postponed earlier this year due to COVID-19. It was also the first major event in Columbus to be impacted by the pandemic, when organizers made the difficult decision to cancel the festival and close the competition to spectators.
Ordinarily, hundreds of thousands of fans and athletes from around the world attend the Arnold each year. It’s an event that generates tens of millions of dollars for Columbus.
So, what can fans expect this year with its return?
While the festival itself will not take place, organizers hope to crown champions in bodybuilding.
“It will be the focal point,” said Brian Ross with Experience Columbus. “Where in the past you had many other things going on with the Arnold Sports Festival, but this will be the focal point.”
Masks will be required for all spectators ages 6 and older while at the Convention Center, where the event is hosted.
Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance on Friday for the event’s showcase.
"The Corona situation - it's been very challenging for bodybuilding. We had to postpone it from March to now September and finally, we were cleared to be allowed to have 2,000 people in the audience,” said Schwarzenegger.
The Classic officially begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, with finals scheduled to take place at 7 p.m.
Organizers previously announced plans for the Arnold Sports Festival to return in 2022.
You can learn more here.