Pro Stars and Buzz at Arnold Festival

I have just been at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH running over the weekend of March 3-6.

We had more than 200,000 attendees from over 70 nations converging for this growing sports and fitness celebration.

I have long been a supporter of Arnold s initiative in establishing the festival, and this year I will be hosting the induction ceremony for the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

From its 1989 beginning as The Arnold Classic – a one-day professional mens bodybuilding competition, the Arnold Sports Festival has expanded into the world’s largest multi-sport fitness weekend.

This year, in attendance were many of the world’s top professionals in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, strongman and other sports; 18,000 athletes competing in 40 sports and events at 10 premier venues; and former Olympians appearing or competing in 12 Olympic Sports; along with sporting enthusiasts from around the world.

It was my pleasure to host the Inductions to this year’s National Hall of Fame.

I presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary Jim Lorimer, whose tireless work is a bedrock of the Festival’s success.

Among our 2011 inductees were eight-time Mr Olympia, Lee Haney; eight-time winner of Ms Olympia, Lenda Murray and Guinness Book world record strongest man, Bill Kazimer.

A new festival event this year which I was pleased to support was the Arnold Sports Film Festival.

It premiered the best short films by students and professionals that focus on the efforts and aspirations of athletes. Films are in a variety of categories including narrative, documentary, animated, and broadcast films.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, was among the celebrity jurors who pick the top festival winners. Former NFL star running back and Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State Eddie George was the awards host.

It’s vital we encourage inspirational films about young and upcoming athletes and this debut event was a highlight of our best yet Arnold Sports Festival. I look forward to seeing you next year!

On a personal note, we were all mindful this year of Jack LaLanne, the late exercise pioneer who passed away recently. His absence felt, but his memory celebrated. Arnold spoke at a “Celebration of Life” for Jack on Feb 1st at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills memorial park.

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