Welcome, Arnoldites!

Or perhaps it’s Arnoldians.  Or Arnoldavians.

IMG_0630Whatever!  This is the weekend when the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival — known to Columbus residents simply as The Arnold — comes to town, attracting tens of thousands of visitors.  It’s also the weekend when every male who works in downtown Columbus feels like the sickliest, flabbiest, most out of shape girly man imaginable.  That’s because this is the weekend we’re regularly rubbing elbows with impossibly buff, cut-up, bulging people who appear to be bursting with vitality, or something, out of every pore, hyperflexed muscle, and engorged blood vessel.

I have no statistics to prove this, but I’m guessing that, next to New Year’s Day, the Monday after The Arnold sees more Columbus people sign up for gym memberships than happens on any other day of the year.

Even though the weekend of The Arnold makes most of us feel undisciplined and physically inadequate, we welcome it just the same.  It’s always one of Columbus’ top tourism weekends of the year.

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When The Arnold Comes To Town

It’s the weekend of the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Those of us who live in Columbus love the Arnold. It brings huge numbers of huge people to our town, where they spend money, have a fine time, and block out the sun whenever they walk past you.

The realization that this year’s Arnold is upon us moved me to verse:

The Arnold’s here! The Arnold’s here!
The event for which we’re down
We’re always happy in C-bus
When the Arnold comes to town.

In hotels, restaurants and gyms
You’ll see nary a frown
Our businesses love the weekend
When the Arnold comes to town.

The beefy guys and cut-up gals
Use so much oil they could drown
They’re orange and lubed and bulging
When the Arnold comes to town.

Then there’s the stud for whom it’s named
A man of great renown
He’s like our city’s mayor
When the Arnold comes to town.

And when it ends, in every sport,
A winner wears a crown
But we’re the real winner
When the Arnold comes to town.

Good luck to all of the Arnold contestants and their families. We’re glad you’re here, we know you’ll have a wonderful time, and we hope you’ll come back next year.

The Arnold At The Arnold

Columbus has a new statue, and it’s a whopper.

Yesterday — with the Arnold Sports Festival in full swing — the City dedicated this colossal rendering of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It’s located outside the Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, where many of the Arnold events are held, just across the river from downtown Columbus.

The statue is a depiction of Arnold in his full Mr. Olympia glory — huge fists clenched, muscles bulging, rope-like veins popping everywhere, face set in impassive concentration, in the pose that Arnold made famous.  It is somewhat larger than life, although still smaller than the statue of Christopher Columbus in front of City Hall.  I suppose that’s only appropriate, although if you took a vote of the people who are in Columbus right now, Arnold would easily outpoll Chris for the top spot in the Most Titanic Figure contest.

The statue has a pretty good likeness of Arnold’s face, which is why it inevitably brings to mind — uncomfortably, in my book — the Terminator movies.  I look at the statue and expect the metallic Arnold to turn his head slowly, focus with a red mechanical eye, then step off the pedestal and begin slaughtering the masses in his search for Sarah Connor.

Bulging Biceps And Bulging Bags

The Arnold Sports Festival is back in town this weekend.  Every year, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite event gets bigger, and better, and packs even more people into various Columbus venues.

Today the Bus-Riding Conservative and I walked down at lunch to check out the Arnold.  There were lots of people on the streets — many of them huge and musclebound — and the crowds got thicker as we got closer to the Convention Center.  Inside the Center, throngs of people were streaming into various rooms, each of which had its own focus.  We stopped by the Fencing room, the Cross-Fit room, and the Box, Martial Arts, and Grappling room.  (How could you pass up a room featuring “grappling”?)  The latter was packed with vendor booths, and they all seemed to be doing a brisk business.  Many people inside were carrying huge bags of product.

The Arnold is great for the Columbus economy; it brings in visitors from the four corners of the globe and fills our hotels, restaurants, and stores.  But it also seems like a pretty good place to rent space if you are selling exercise clothing, nutritional supplements, bodybuilding products, and other health and exercise goods.  The people who come to the Arnold are serious about their interests, and they are willing to put their money where their biceps are.