Katherine Nye Will No Longer Compete At the Arnold Sports Festival

Nye's withdrawal came the morning after the cancellation of the expo.

Team USA weightlifter Katherine Nye has announced her withdrawal from the American Open Series 1, also known as the Arnold Weightlifting Championships. The event is scheduled to take place at the Arnold Sports Festival over the next four days, starting tomorrow. 

Her decision to pull out came the morning after the announcement that there will be no spectators allowed at the Arnold and no Fitness Expo either, which means no trade show and no vendors. The cancellation was announced hours after the CDC changed its guidance for mass gatherings, and officials declared that putting hundreds of thousands of people from dozens of countries in a congested, indoor space over a period of four days posed too great a risk.

The Arnold was expected to gather approximately 250,000 people to Columbus, Ohio, including 22,000 athletes from over eighty different countries. It was also estimated that it would bring over $50 million to the local economy.

Despite the decision to prohibit spectators, some planned competitions are still expected to take place as scheduled. It’s a little unclear as to which of the dozens of events will and won’t be held — a competition was technically being held by every activity from Ninja Warrior to Baton Twirling — but according to USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews, the American Open Series 1 is indeed still on. 


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Nye said in her Twitter post:

Unfortunately my coach and I decided to pull out of the Arnold. The point of me competing was to have fun and get a feel for a big crowd, which obviously has been eliminated. Paired with me having a minor sickness, I’m concerned about the screening process making it more complicated for me to even compete. I’m bummed that things played out like this and I hope that this decision really does prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Everyone still going-have a great tome competing and do your best despite the circumstances!

The Arnold Weightlifting Championships is a bronze level qualifying event for the Olympics, but it was not a necessary event for the -76kg weightlifter as she is one of the few athletes who is already, practically guaranteed a spot to compete in Tokyo, as she has competed at enough qualifying events and accrued enough Robi points. (The official announcement of the roster for Team USA will be made on April 30th by the International Weightlifting Federation.)


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But some of her teammates do still need to compete in order to qualify for the Olympics. Mattie Rogers is still planning to lift in the -87kg class and took to Twitter expressing concern over the format change and confusion regarding the schedule:

“So the Arnold is cancelled to all spectators & vendors, but athletes are allowed to compete? This is going to be like competing in a Costco after hours. Shout out to the like 11 of us that got put on the expo stage separate from the rest of the lifting comp. I hope they play music in there or something”

Rogers, along with Nye and other crowd favorites like CJ Cummings and Sarah Robles, was originally expected to compete on the Expo stage, but she later tweeted that there will no longer be an Expo stage and she has been moved to where the American Open Series 1 is taking place. The exact schedule is still uncertain.


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Despite her absence, Nye shared some encouragement for athletes still planning to compete:

“Have a great time competing and do your best despite the circumstances. There’s always curveballs in both competition and life and this curveball made it not worth it.”

She added that she may compete at Nationals (May 14-17) instead. 

The schedule of the Arnold Weightlifting Championships is completely up in the air, but it will be streaming on Team USA’s website here.

Feature image from Katherine Nye’s Instagram page: @katherineenye