The estimate for this year’s attendance at the Arnold Sports Festival (ASF) was 175,000. Well, it seems that there is no end in sight for the popularity of this weekend event. Even the most conservative estimate I’ve heard was that over 200,000 people had shown up to enjoy the festivities.
It’s easy to understand how the ASF has grown year after year. Once you attend the event, you just have to go the following year while encouraging others to make the trek to Columbus, Ohio.
The ASF, with more than 18,000 athletes competing in more than 45 sports and events, is the largest multi-sport event in the USA. It all began when Arnold Schwarzenegger was invited by Jim Lorimer to compete in Columbus in the 1970 Mr. World Contest. Arnold of course won, and their friendship began. Arnold vowed that once he retired from competition he would promote bodybuilding in Ohio with Jim Lorimer.
Arnold kept his word, and together their passion for fitness has spanned four decades. In 1989, the Arnold Classic and the Miss International brought professional bodybuilding to Columbus, Ohio. The event’s growth and popularity spawned the birth of the Arnold Fitness EXPO (AFE) in 1993.
The AFE is the largest health and fitness expo in the USA, and is a must see. At $10.00 in advance, and $15.00 at the door, it’s the best value in sports entertainment. This year featured 700 booths of the latest in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition. The AFE attracts the top companies in the industry who put together elaborate displays.
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The Expo stage hosts the Arnold Strongman Classic, the prejudging for the Ms. International, the Fitness International and the Figure International Competitions. Other highlights include Arnold Armwrestling, the Arnold Amateur Strongman and the Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding finals.
A fitting tribute to an MMA Legend, Randy Couture
Me with world champion bodybuilder and owner of Labrada Nutrition, Lee Labrada
With more than 3,000 men and women competing in 23 martial arts disciplines, the Arnold Martial Arts Festival is the largest in the Midwest.
The US Olympic Team Trials and the 2012 National Championships for weightlifting were nothing short of impressive. More than 200 athletes competed in 15 bodyweight categories.
1st Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia #2
2nd Debi Laszewski #14
3rd Alina Popa #13
4th Cathy LeFrancois #1
5th Kim Buck #3
Cathy LeFrancois, Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia, Kim Buck
1st Adela Garcia #5
2nd Camala Rodriquez #8
3rd Oksana Grishina #10
4th Bethany Cisternino #3
5th Tanji Johnson #2
1st Nicole Wilkins #9
2nd Erin Stern #1
3rd Candice Keene #10
4th Ava Cowan #7
5th Heather Dees #12
Ava Cowan, Erin Stern, Nicole Wilkins, Candice Keene
1st Mike Jenkins
2nd Derek Poundstone
3rd Zydrunas Savickas
4th Brian Shaw
5th Michael Burke
Mike Jenkins, 2012 Champion
As you can tell, The 2012 ASF was again an incredibly successful event. In order for me to report on all the highlights, this article would have to be 10 times as long. If you get the chance, go ahead and make your travel arrangements for next year’s ASF. I know I’ll be there.