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.