The 2020 Arnold Sports Festival Has Been Postponed Amid Coronavirus Fears

Arnold Schwarzenegger has just announced that the Arnold Sports Festival, scheduled to take place in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, has been canceled in accordance with CDC guidelines regarding large gatherings of people during the current coronavirus situation.

With more than 250,000 guests expected to attend, Schwarzenegger made the decision to postpone the convention until later this year as a precautionary measure, after discussing options with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. However, the athletes who have been training to participate in the strongman and bodybuilding events this weekend will still be allowed to compete, albeit without the usual crowd of spectators until the Bodybuilding Championship finals, according to the Columbus local NBC affiliate.

It’s a sad day for me and everyone at the @ArnoldSports team. But we will always put our fans’ health first. After discussions with @GovMikeDeWine, @MayorGinther, and the CDC, we will be postponing the expo because we can’t risk bringing 250,000 people together with #COVID19.

“It’s a very sad day for me today, because we just had to cancel the Arnold Classic Sports and Fitness Festival, meaning the huge convention, with 25,000 people coming together,” Schwarzenegger said in a video statement on Twitter, adding: “We still will have the Arnold Classic World Bodybuilding Championship, and the Strongman competition, but the rest of it is all canceled, or should I say postponed, because we will have it later on this year.”

“I think it was a wise decision, because under the circumstances, listening to the governor’s concern, the mayor’s concern, the CDC’s concern, and all the expert scientists and the health community and the doctors, I think it was the right thing to do because we want to keep people safe,” he continued. “We want to keep people healthy. We are promoting the health and fitness convention. So to us, we are the biggest and the best in the world, but making money is less important than being healthy and promoting health and fitness. We want people to stay healthy and fit, that’s what it’s all about. So we will postpone it, we will keep you up to date.”

Former World’s Strongest Man winner Hafthor Bjornsson, a.k.a. The Mountain, described the decision to postpone the expo as “sad but understandable news,” and urged fans to watch the strongman competition remotely via the Rogue Fitness YouTube channel.

Up to 20,000 athletes were due to arrive at the convention center to take part in 80-plus sports and fitness events. According to Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts, a number of athletes who were traveling to the event from coronavirus-affected countries (including China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and Italy) have been excluded from competition.

WHIO reports that the 4,000 spectators who had already purchased tickets to the Arnold Classic Finals on Saturday night will still be allowed to attend, as this number of people does not contradict CDC guidelines.

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