COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Arnold Classic will celebrate its 25th Anniversary during the 2013 Arnold Sports Festival by honoring all former past winners of the men’s professional bodybuilding championships named in honor of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the sport’s greatest champion.
Four-time winner Flex Wheeler, three-time champion Jay Cutler and 2001 champ Ronnie Coleman will headline the former Arnold Classic champions who will return to the Veterans Memorial stage on Saturday, March 2. Also returning will be two-time winners Kevin Levrone, Kai Greene and Branch Warren, inaugural champion Rich Gaspari, and Mike Ashley, Shawn Ray, Vince Taylor, Michael Francois, Nasser El Sonbaty and Victor Martinez.
Rich Gaspari, who won the inaugural Arnold Classic in 1989, will be honored with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Dexter Jackson, who won the Arnold Classic, in 2005, 2006 and 2008, will try to tie Wheeler’s record of four wins at the 2013 Arnold Classic. He is the only former champion in the 2013 field and will be making his 14th appearance in the Arnold Classic.
“We look forward to welcoming all of our great Arnold Classic champions back to Columbus for our 25th Anniversary,” said Jim Lorimer, who co-founded the Arnold Classic with Schwarzenegger in 1989. “The Arnold Classic has grown over the years into one of our sport’s most prestigious events, and was the catalyst for the Arnold Sports Festival – the nation’s largest multi-sport festival.”
Fourteen men have combined to win the previous 24 Arnold Classic titles. Wheeler (four), Cutler (three), Jackson (three), Levrone, Greene and Warren (two each) have accounted for 16 of the 24 titles.
In addition to appearing at the Arnold Classic on Saturday night, all previous Arnold champs will also attend the Arnold Champions & Legends Sunday Morning Showcase on Sunday, March 3 at the Hilton Columbus Downtown. Gov. Schwarzenegger and Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International, Figure International and Bikini International champions crowned on the weekend will also attend. Bob Cicherello will moderate the program.
The Arnold Classic has grown over the years to include five IFBB Professional League Divisions. In addition the Arnold Classic (professional men’s bodybuilding) and the Ms. International (women’s professional bodybuilding), which also debuted in 1989, the Arnold Classic Weekend also features the Fitness International (founded in 1994), Figure International (2003) and the Bikini International (2011).
The 2013 Arnold Classic and Bikini International Prejudging and Finals will be held Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Veterans Memorial. Ms. International, Fitness International and Bikini International Prejudging and Finals will be held on Friday, March 1, 2013.
The Arnold Classic is the premier event of the Arnold Sports Festival, held annually the first weekend in March in Columbus, Ohio. The Arnold Sports Festival features 18,000 athletes from 80 nations compete in 45 sports and events. Gov. Schwarzenegger attends each year and appears at each event.
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
Rich Gaspari, who won the inaugural Arnold Classic in 1989, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at Arnold Classic on Saturday, March 2 at Veterans Memorial.
In addition to winning the first Arnold Classic, Gaspari’s past titles also include Mr. America (now known as the NPC Nationals), Mr. Universe, Professional Mr. World and three-time runner-up at the Mr. Olympia.
Over the past 15 years, Gaspari has developed a brand of supplements under the Gaspari Nutrition brand into one of the most formidable and popular lines in the world. Gaspari’s determination and love for the sport of bodybuilding has helped his successfully transition from a competitive bodybuilder into an active CEO who tours the globe teaching fitness to others and supporting the sports of professional and amateur bodybuilding.
The Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2000 to honor the industry’s legends for their contributions to the world of health and fitness. Previous winners include: Joe Weider (2000), Reg Park (2001), Jim Lorimer (2002), Frank Zane (2003), Bill Pearl (2004), Jack LaLanne (2005), Lee Haney (2006), Cory Everson (2007), Ben Weider (2008), Franco Columbu (2009), Sylvester Stallone (2010), Lou Ferrigno (2011) and Robert Kennedy (2012)
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com/arnold or 800-745-3000.