Pro strongwomen are coming to Ohio.

Amateur strongwoman events were first introduced at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2015; in 2017, the Festival will host a Pro Strongwoman category for the first time. The event will be produced by Strongman Corporation.

In a press release on their website, Strongman Corporation addressed the rapid growth of strongman/strongwoman as a prominent strength sport. Quotes from the release are excerpted below:

“The sports of Strongman continues to grow by leaps and bounds, but some of the fastest growth recently has been in Strongwoman contests,” said Dione Wessels, CEO and President of Strongman Corporation. “The time is right to elevate the best Strongwomen in the world to professional status and give them a platform to compete.”

The inaugural Arnold Pro Strongwoman event will be held at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival set for March 2-5, 2017 in Columbus. The world’s top Strongwomen will be invited to compete for cash prizes and the Katie Sandwina Trophy.

The Arnold Pro Strongwoman will follow a similar format to the Arnold Pro Strongman, an event that ranks among the sport’s most popular for spectators and top athletes alike. Now, men and women will both compete in pro categories, the highest level of strongman competition.

The Arnold Pro Strongwoman trophy will be a bronze statue of Katie Sandwina. Born Katie Brumbach, Sandwina was a famed Austrian strongwoman who performed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She took her stage name — Sandwina — as a feminine version of “Sandow” from world-renowned performer Eugene Sandow; reports suggested Sandwina once bested Sandow in a weightlifting competition.

Sandwina is often cited as the first woman to lift 300 pounds overhead.

Other prizes, events categories, and participants for the inaugural pro strongwoman competition have yet to be announced.

Featured image of strongwoman competitor Danni Schwalbe. Photos courtesy Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation.

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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.