2021 Arnold Classic to Take Place Sept. 25 in Columbus, Ohio

The Arnold Sports Festival USA is planned to return to Columbus, OH in 2022.

The 2021 Arnold Classic (AC) will occur on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. The show will feature the Men’s Open competitors as well as Classic Physique, Fitness, and Bikini. The Arnold Sports Festival confirmed the final events and location on May 25, 2021, on their website and Instagram account. Strength sports fans may remember that the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival was one of the first major festivals altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 ASF was initially delayed due to COVID-related restrictions. 

Prior to this announcement, a source close to Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed that Santa Monica, CA was being considered and that the Arnold Strongman Classic was also in the works. However, the show will return to its regular host city and feature just four bodybuilding divisions. The full Arnold Sports Festival USA will return in 2022. 


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Fans will be allowed to attend the event, though no word yet on how many will be let into the venue — the Battelle Grand in the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The winner of the AC will qualify for the 2022 Mr. Olympia. The cutoff date to qualify for the 2021 contest is Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. Competitors will also be battling it out for a combined purse of $412,000. (It’s not yet clear how the money will be divided.) 

“It is important to offer full prize money at the Arnold Classic this year,” co-founder and promoter Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the release. “The athletes deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication during this difficult year. We promise to make this year’s Arnold Classic one to remember.”

The Arnold Strongman Classic and famed expo — which features supplement companies, clothing and equipment manufacturers, and dozens of sports competitions — will not take place. The Arnold Sports Festival made it clear that the complete Arnold Sports Festival USA will return to Columbus, OH on March 3-6, 2022.


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“The Arnold Classic has been held for 32 consecutive years and it would be unthinkable to go a year without providing the athletes the opportunity to compete,” Schwarzenegger said. “My support of the sport of bodybuilding is enormous and, with the help of our sponsors, we are committed to making this year’s Arnold Classic a tremendous success.”

This new date places the modified Arnold Sports Festival USA between two other Arnold events. The Arnold Europe will take place Sept. 17-19, 2021, in Seville, Spain. And the Arnold Sports Festival UK event, co-promoted by Eddie Hall, occurs on Oct. 1-3, 2021, in Birmingham, England. Both festivals will have multiple events.

Tickets for the 2021 Arnold Classic will be available on June 15, 2021, on arnoldsportsfestival.com.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on May 25, 2021, with the final location and event lineup of the 2021 Arnold Classic. 

Featured Image: @arnoldsports on Instagram