Arnold Classic: History, List of winners,Competition Venue and Updates

Arnold Classic
Arnold Classic

The Arnold Classic is an event that attracts thousands of bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and martial artists yearly. 

In Columbus, Ohio, they gather at a weekend festival named after bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting this tradition, the Arnold Classic has resumed.

Arnold Schwarzenegger established the Arnold Classic to highlight bodybuilding. 

The contest was established in 1989 and is now regarded as one of the best bodybuilding events around the world.

 Since its inception, the event has been held at the Columbus Convention Center. 

Arnold Classic history

Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer were two world-renowned bodybuilders who started one of the earliest bodybuilding competitions in the spring of 1989.

Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer
Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer

Over the years, they promoted some of the most famous championships in the world, such as: 

  • Mr Olympia 
  • Mr Universe (World Bodybuilding Championships) 
  • Pro Mr World events 

After some time, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim decided to hold their contest under the name of the most recognizable name in the entire history of bodybuilding. 

Despite the plan being created earlier, it was actually realized after retirement. 

Why is the Arnold Classic in Columbus Ohio? 

He promised to support the sport after he retired on this site, which is why the tournament is held in Columbus, Ohio. 

Each year, the two have added new events to the competition. 

Among the other events in the Arnold strongman classic are: 

  • Ms International, a woman’s bodybuilding event 
  • The Fitness Training Seminar 
  • The Fitness International Competition 
  • The Cheerleading and Dance Team Championships 
  • The Strongest Man Competition 
  • The World Powerlifting Organization World Championship 
  • The Fitness Fashion Show 
  • The Classic Armwrestling Challenge 
  • The World Record Bench Press Challenge 
  • The World Gracie Submission Championships 
  • The Traditional Karate World Cup Championship 

How much does the winner of the Arnold Classic get?

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The winner of the competition walks away with $130,000, while second and third place both earn $75,000 and $50,000. 

In addition, a Hummer vehicle and an Audemars Piguet watch were some of the most notable prizes ever won.

Arnold Classic list of winners

There have been many award winners at the Arnold sports festival over the years.

Check out full list below

    • 1989 – Rich Gaspari 
    • 1990 – Mike Ashley 
    • 1991 – Shawn Ray 
    • 1992 – Vince Taylor 
    • 1993 – Flex Wheeler 
    • 1994 – Kevin Levrone 
    • 1995 – Mike Francois 
    • 1996 – Kevin Levrone 
    • 1997 – Flex Wheeler 
    • 1998 – Flex Wheeler 
    • 1999 – Nasser El Sonbaty 
    • 2000 – Flex Wheeler 
    • 2001 – Ronnie Coleman 
    • 2002 – Jay Cutler 
    • 2003 – Jay Cutler 
    • 2004 – Jay Cutler 
    • 2005 – Dexter Jackson 
    • 2006 – Dexter Jackson 
    • 2007 – Victor Martinez 
    • 2008 – Dexter Jackson 
    • 2009 – Kai Greene 
    • 2010 – Kai Greene 
    • 2011 – Branch Warren 
    • 2012 – Branch Warren 
    • 2013 – Dexter Jackson 
    • 2014 – Dennis Wolf 
    • 2015 – Dexter Jackson 
    • 2016 – Kai Greene 
    • 2017 – Cedric McMillan 
    • 2018 – William Bonac 
    • 2019 – Brandon Curry 
    • 2020 – William Bonac
    • 2021- Nick Walker

There are numerous international Arnold Classics that have been held over the years in and outside of the United States. 

They include: 

    • Arnold Classic Europe in Spain held since 2011 
    • Arnold Classic South America in Brazil held since 2013 
    • Arnold Classic Australia in Australia held since 2015 
    • Arnold Classic Africa in South Africa held since 2016 
    • Arnold Classic Asia in Hong Kong was held only in 2016

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