How Is Arnold Classic Related to Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Published 02/28/2023, 9:45 AM EST

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Arnold Classic 2023 has taken fans by storm. From the participants to surprise guests and meet and greets, the excitement is only growing every day. This year seems promising since the terrific lineup consists of stars like Nick Walker, Big Ramy, Shaun Clarida, and so on. Arnold Sports Festival is the next big sporting event for bodybuilding and other fitness-based sports. But when did the event commence?

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In the 70s, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was a rising star in the bodybuilding community, he met sports promoter, Jim Lorimer. A fruitful meeting, an invite to a show, and a lifetime worth of friendship later, the Arnold Sports Festival continues to grow popular. While Lorimer recently passed away, the festival and Arnold Classic specifically, mark the legacy of his friendship with Schwarzenegger.

So, how did the Arnold Sports Festival and Arnold Classic originate?

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In 1970, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Olympia, he got an invite to participate in the Mr. World championship in Ohio, by Jim Lorimer. Not only did the Austrian Oak agree to participate but he went on to win the contest and developed an admiration for Lorimer. He vowed to return to Ohio, just so he could partner up with the sports promoter, and create something new. This marked the beginning of a sports festival that would promote fitness-based sports and activities.

After a series of wins at the Mr. Olympia championship during the 70s, Schwarzenegger also began promoting the contest along with Lorimer. Finally, in 1989, the duo decided it was time for something different. A new bodybuilding contest was introduced in Columbus, Ohio, that was as grand as Mr. Olympia. This was the Arnold Classic; destined to grow into something bigger and better.

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In 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. This was when he expanded the scope of the Arnold Classic to include other fitness-based sports as well. Eventually, after adding a bunch of new sports to the roster, the duo renamed Arnold Classic as the Arnold Sports Festival in 2006. What began as a simple invite to Schwarzenegger, turned into a huge phenomenon that promoted a wide variety of sports. This year, however, the Arnold Sports Festival will witness a massive void due to Jim Lorimer’s demise in 2022.

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Arnold’s tribute to his partner Jim

In November 2022, Arnold’s best friend and the co-founder of the Arnold Sports Festival, Jim Lorimer, passed away. While the bodybuilding world was saddened by the loss, Arnie had a tough time dealing with his grief. People saw Lorimer as a sports promoter, but Schwarzenegger knew he was more than that. Lorimer’s passion for sports and zeal for organizing events made the former bodybuilder respect and admire him.

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In a tribute to Lorimer on social media, Schwarzenegger pointed out the simplest of activities that he wouldn’t be able to do anymore. He wouldn’t be able to sit, laugh, and critique bodybuilders with Lorimer. And to add to that, Schwarzenegger will be by himself at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival. Yet, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And Schwarzenegger will definitely keep Lorimer’s legacy alive.

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Written by:

Radha Iyer

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Radha Iyer is working as a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Master's degree in Media and Communications from Pandit Deendayal Energy University. Radha has worked as a content writer for over a year.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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