The Arnold returns to Columbus this weekend

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Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses the crowd at his Arnold Sports Festival in 2020. Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Get pumped — the nation’s biggest and best sports festival is back this weekend.

  • Never been but considering a visit to the Convention Center? Here’s a guide to hide that you’re an amateur.

Why it matters: The Arnold Sports Festival — we just call it the Arnold — is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors who will spend $15.6 million in the Columbus area, organizers say.

State of play: The four-day extravaganza with 12,000 participating athletes is equal parts sports and spectacle. Go for the powerlifting or the people-watching — we won’t judge.

What’s new: World Chase Tag, a parkour spin on the classic playground game, hosts a championship event that will air on ESPN in April.

Catch up quick: Impress your friends with Arnold history facts:

  • This is the festival’s 35th year, predating even the acclaimed “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”
  • The event started in 1989 as a bodybuilding contest with just 30 competitors.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger’s connection to Columbus dates back to 1970, when he won a Mr. World competition here and befriended late festival co-founder Jim Lorimer.

Be smart: These days, a main draw is the massive expo, a sprawling sensory overload of more than 1,000 vendor booths selling everything from athleisure wear to protein-packed gelato and deodorant for your … butt.

  • Two words: Free. Samples.
  • Bring a swag bag and prepare for long lines.

💪 Pro tip: No, you won’t look like a dork by flexing with the Arnold statue out front. Everybody does it.

  • But for a guaranteed opportunity to see the 75-year-old Austrian Oak in the flesh, buy a $30 ticket to Sunday’s Arnold Showcase.

If you go: Expo is 10am-7pm Friday and Saturday, 10am-4pm Sunday.

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