Extra Points: Arnold Sports Festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

1. Strongman

When to go: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 6

Location: Fitness Expo Stage, Convention Center

Most athletes at the Arnold are strong. They're just not strong enough to, say, carry a Buick around by the chassis. If that's your standard, head to this showcase of tough torsos and burly biceps.

This year's Arnold Strongman Classic will include the Timber Carry, Apollon's Wheel, Tire Deadlift, Circus Bell and Manhood Stones. That's right ... you prove your manhood by lifting stones.

The Saturday afternoon segment is one of three during the two-day competition, so contestants will be hitting their stride en route to an $80,000 prize package, the largest awarded in the sport.

2. Skateboarding

When to go: 3 p.m. Saturday, March 6

Location: Veterans Memorial

During a two-day event billed as the Cow Town Showdown, skateboarding comes to the Arnold for the first time. No box, rail or kicker will be safe when more than 20 Midwest shops and 200 riders overtake Vets on Saturday and Sunday.

Numerous competitions will be held for skaters of all skill levels, and sponsored riders will compete Sunday. The highlight will be Saturday afternoon during a demo that will feature pro riders and team members from locally based Resident Skateboards.

3. Table Tennis

When to go: 12 p.m. Sunday, March 7

Location: Fitness Expo Stage, Convention Center

Table tennis is one of the Arnold's most popular events, a quieter and more graceful counterpoint to the in-your-face athletics elsewhere at the fest. You can catch back-and-forth balls all weekend long, with contests among paddlers of all ages.

Sunday's when the champions take the table, so prepare for some epic rallies. Finals in the open division hit the Expo stage at noon. If you think you can do better, the winner will battle challengers from the crowd after the match.

4. Fencing

When to go: 11 a.m. Sunday, March 7

Location: Hyatt Regency

The three-day Arnold Fencing Classic brings together Olympic athletes, collegiate champions and young buccaneers who showcase the world's finest foil work. Events include the Cadet Open, for ranked fencers 16 and under, and the Mixed Open, for fencers 13 and up who use all three Olympic weapons. (That's the foil, epee and saber, by the way.)

Even if you've never picked up a sword, you can get a taste of the action Sunday during Try Fencing at the Arnold. Equipment and instruction will be provided.

5. Art at the Arnold

When to go: Saturday, March 6

Location: Connector between Convention Center and Hyatt Regency

Each year, the Arnold Sports Festival adds new elements to its strong, well-toned core - the Pump & Run, an Active Living Festival and, this year, fine art.

Fine art? At the Arnold? You betcha. The three-day Art at the Arnold event will tap local artists to create original works using festival athletes as models.

Artists will work Friday and Saturday to submit one finished, framed piece to be juried by Julie Taggart, dean of fine arts at Columbus College of Art & Design. Participants include Daryl Urig, Michelle Walker and Rhonda Tucker.

Arnold Sports Festival

When: Thursday-Sunday, March 4-7

Where: Downtown Columbus

Web: arnoldsportsfestival.com