Arnold Festival set to return, but with a different look due to COVID-19


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Arnold Sports Festival is typically held on the first weekend of March, but this year’s event is delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials tell NBC4 they are hopeful the health guidelines will allow them to hold a smaller version of the festival, in the fall.

“For Arnold [Schwarzenegger] and for us, safety becomes the most important part,” said Bob Lorimer, President of the festival.

Last year’s Arnold was one of the first major events in which organizers were forced to manage COVID-19 restrictions. The festival was expected to draw more than 22,000 athletes and more than 200,000 spectators, prior to those restrictions being implemented.

Lorimer said if a festival is held in 2021, it would be smaller than those in the past, as he and his team hope to hold the professional bodybuilding and professional strongman competitions.

“I think that we will try and just run a smaller event — go back into the convention center with one or two sports, like I said,” he explained. “As the summer peaks out, if more and more people are allowed to come, we’ll start adding more sports in and more events in.”

Lorimer is hoping to host the smaller festival on September 25, with next year’s festival returning to normal.

“Right now, we’re looking to shoot back for March of next year, for ’22, with a full blown Arnold Sports Festival and hopefully everything will be back to normal by then, any who,” he said.

This year’s event would be the 33rd Arnold Sports Festival.

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