Arnold Sports Festival

Photo by Jay LaPrete Courtesy Arnold Sports Festival

Today's post is written by Brent LaLonde, one of our friends over at the Arnold Sports Festival . It's the nation's largest multi-sport event and its coming soon to Columbus, so Brent's here to provide some info to help you make the most of the weekend.


A guide to the 2011 Arnold Sports Festival by Brent LaLonde, Arnold Sports Festival

The 2008 Summer Olympics attracted about 11,000 athletes to Beijing, China. In 2010, about 2,600 athletes competed in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

But did you know there is an event in Columbus that attracts more athletes than the Olympic Games?

The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation’s largest multi-sport event, will bring 18,000 athletes from 80 nations and more than 175,0000 health, fitness and sports enthusiasts to Columbus from March 3-6 to compete in more than 45 sports and events, including 12 Olympic sports. The festival has grown steadily since starting out as the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic men’s professional bodybuilding contest in 1989.

And, yes, Arnold still attends every year and makes a special appearance at each of the weekend’s sports and events.

Whether you're attending for the first time or you're a veteran of The Arnold, here's an overview and a couple of tips that will help you make the most of your weekend:

  • Buy your parking in advance through Standard Parking’s Click and Park. Finding a parking spot is not easy, especially on Friday afternoon, but Click and Park allows you to guarantee a spot is waiting for you when you arrive.
  • Once you park, don’t plan on moving your car. The Arnold Sports Festival is held throughout downtown Columbus (and even at Ohio State University on Saturday), but a shuttle service will get you where you need to go.
  • No matter what day you attend, you want to head to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where a majority of the weekend’s sports and events are held. The main attraction at the convention center is the Arnold Fitness EXPO , the nation’s largest with more than 700 booths and a stage with non-stop entertainment and competitions. The expo hosts a variety of sports, including gymnastics, cheerleading, fencing, martial arts, DanceSport, table tennis and whole lot more.
The Arnold Fitness EXPO and most sports at the convention center end around 6 p.m. each day, but the fun continues deep into the night:
  • Veterans Memorial is the hub of the bodybuilding competitions, with the Arnold Amateur on Thursday night featuring about 500 competitors from 60 countries. The IFBB Pro League takes center stage on Friday and Saturday night, with the Ms. International, Fitness International and Figure International finals on Friday and the Arnold Classic and Bikini International finals on Saturday. The IFBB Pro League events feature the world’s best conditioned athletes competing for more than $500,000 in cash prizes.
  • The LC Pavilion also is a hotspot for the Arnold Sports Festival, with the Amateur MMA Festival on Friday night and the Arnold Party With the Pros on Saturday night.
  • New in 2011 is the Arnold Sports Film Festival at the Arena Grand Movie Theatre, where Heisman Trophy winner and NFL superstar Eddie George will serve as host. The film festival features short films about sports, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will host the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
With so many sporting events going on over just four days, it is impossible to see it all, so just take your time and enjoy the The Arnold experience. Let us know what you think, too.

Check out all the details at .