COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – More than 18 months after becoming one of the first events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arnold Classic will return to Columbus this weekend.
On Saturday, the winners will be crowned in the men’s open bodybuilding competitions Arnold Classic, Arnold Classic Physique, Fitness International and Bikini International.
A total of 42 athletes will participate in the one-day event and organizers tell NBC4 that all 42 have been tested for COVID-19.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to host live events in any form once again,” said Brian Powers, Executive Director of the Arnold Sports Festival.
In 2020, the festival EXPO was canceled and a very limited number of fans were allowed to attend the events.
Although the full festival will not be held this year, Powers said up to 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend the Arnold Classic. Spectators will be required to wear masks, in accordance with the city’s mask ordinance.
“It’s definitely a lot better than you and the judges and like total silence, or just the clicking of cameras, you know,” said Terrence Ruffin, a classic physique athlete. “It’s a little awkward sometimes, but for sure there is a crowd there – it turns you on. It motivates you more. This is very fun.”
Organizers said the Arnold Sports Festival will return to Columbus in 2022 and be held March 3-6 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.