This weekend The Arnold is back in town. Every year Columbus hosts “The Arnold,” which is the local nickname for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival. Some years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger won a Mr. Olympic or Mr. Universe bodybuilding title — or maybe both — here in Columbus, and ever since the people of Columbus have been popular with him and he has been popular with the people of Columbus. Indeed, Republican presidential candidates often have called on him to deliver stump speeches in Columbus, a key part of “Battleground Ohio,” as campaigns have come down to the wire, and he has always delivered big, enthusiastic crowds.
The Arnold started, I think, as pretty much a bodybuilding and fitness show, but it has grown and grown over the years. Thousands of contestants, participants, and observers, as well as hundreds of exhibitors of training devices, power drinks, and other items, come to our community every year for The Arnold. It now features arm-wrestling, power-lifting, archery, wrestling, “strong man” competitions, and many other events and contests.
The heart of The Arnold, though, remains mens’ and womens’ bodybuilding events. It is amazing when you see the competitors in those events walking around downtown Columbus or at the airport. Although their bodies look freakish (to me, at least) you can’t help but be impressed by the commitment that these people have shown. How much lifting, and toning, and oiling, and tanning have these people done to get to their current body morphs? And, where does someone with thighs that are bigger than their waistlines buy clothes, anyway?