A year later: Arnold fans look back on event after being canceled for COVID

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In his statewide address Thursday night, Gov. Mike DeWine pointed out it has been just over a year since the decision was made to close the Arnold Classic over coronavirus concerns. At the time, many who had traveled to Columbus for the big event, were frustrated.

“I remember us being so mad about it and now when I look back, we shouldn’t have been mad about it,” said Alex Rufo.

He’s from Boston. His friends Kayleigh Fraser and Jennifer Allen are from Scotland. The three met at a competition and event in Bradenton. Last year’s Arnold Classic was supposed to be a reunion for them. As they got into Columbus, they found out the classic was being closed. It was the first large event in Ohio affected by the pandemic.

“That was the most frustrating thing I remember was the timing,” said Rufo.

Looking back at the year it’s been, they now say it’s easy to see why the decision was made.

“I completely understand now from that perspective because obviously we did not see how bad this was going to be or we didn’t expect it to mutate or spread as quickly as it did,” said Fraser.

Even though the classic was closed, the three friends took a picture in front of the Arnold statue. They’re now looking forward to the next time they’re able to do that again.

“We’re just looking forward to when this is behind us so we can move on and attend all these events that we love again,” said Rufo.

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