Unlike previous years, I was not working at any supplement booth this year when I attended the Arnold Classic so I was able to just walk around and enjoy the sights. Having attended the very first Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic back in 1989, I am amazed every year at how much this event has grown.
Back in 1989, there was no Arnold Expo. A handful of professional bodybuilders and a few supplement companies had tables set up downstairs at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium but that was about it. Compared to the extravaganza that now takes place every year in Columbus, it was peanuts.
2007 Arnold Classic Expo
In 2007, there were over 650 booths set up in the Greater Columbus Convention Center as close to 120,000 people swarmed in over the three-day weekend.
I arrived in Columbus on Friday afternoon and got to the Expo only a few short hours before they closed. One of my first stops was the Optimum Nutrition booth. Optimum had a huge booth set up and they were giving away free samples of their delicious protein bars and were sampling their new Whey Force protein drinks, which are delicious.
My next stop was the IronAge Legends of Bodybuilding booth. IronAge is a website dedicated to Bodybuilding's Golden Age and it is one of my favorite places to visit on the web. Several legends of the sport were on hand to meet the fans and sign photos.
Sergio Oliva, 3 Time Mr. Olympia and one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, was there along with the incredible 60 year old Bill Grant, 1974 Mr. World. Bill has the same thick biceps development he had 30 years ago and he is a testament to the age defying benefits of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
I came back to the Expo on Saturday and was meet with an absolute mob scene! While Friday evening could be considered a good crowd, Saturday afternoon was packed with bodybuilding and fitness fans from all over the world. Some aisles were literally packed with wall to wall people with no where to move.
There were events going on all day long at the Expo Stage. From the finals of the Amateur Arnold contest to the Arnold StrongMan Competition to the Bench Press contest and even a Sumo Wrestling contest, the action never stopped.
We saw some, ummm, really big dudes at the Expo! LOL - check 'em out, if you dare...
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Bird's-Eye Strongman Footage
We went up in a scissor lift behind the main stage at the 2007 Arnold Expo and got this great bird’s-eye footage of one of the strongman competitions! Watch and see what the stage looked like from the ceiling!
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Some of the most gorgeous women in the world are in attendance at the Arnold Classic Expo each year. The numerous supplement companies realized a long time ago that if you want to attract a crowd to your booth, you need beautiful fitness models to get the attention of the men.
So who had the best looking models this year at the Arnold Classic? The VPX booth was full of sexy women (there had to be over 30 girls working the booth) who were handing out samples of Redline and Shotgun. The Gaspari Nutrition booth also featured several hot looking girls who were doing their best to attract a crowd.
The Bodybuilding.com booth had several gorgeous women on hand the whole weekend.
The always lovely Timea Majorova was there taking pictures with her male fans along with rising new star Jamie Eason and current Ironman Magazine Hot Body Nancy DiNino.
One of the treats for me at the Arnold Classic is to see some of the bodybuilders who I grew up reading about in the magazines. I attended my first Schwarzenegger-Lorimar promoted event way back in 1977 when I traveled to Columbus to see the Mr. Olympia contest that year. Some of the bodybuilders who competed that year were on hand in 2007 at the Arnold Classic Expo.
The Giant Killer, Danny Padilla, was sitting next to the Master Poser, Ed Corney at the Europa booth. Danny was full of wise cracks as always and Ed was full of life. Padilla, just like Bill Grant, has nearly the same awe-inspiring arm development he had when he competed in the '70's and '80's. Not bad for a guy in his 50's!
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View More Pics Of The 2007 Arnold Expo Here.
Lou Ferrigno was working the Weider booth and another 3 time Mr. Olympia, Frank Zane, was selling his photos and books at his own booth. Robert Kennedy who has been the publisher of Muscle Mag International Magazine since 1974 (talk about longevity!) was in attendance at the Muscle Mag booth along with his beautiful wife Tosca Reno.
I was also fortunate to meet the legendary Reg Park, 3 Time Mr. Universe, Hercules on the silver screen and idol of the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In addition to seeing the professional bodybuilders I admired as a kid, I was able to meet some of the top pros of the current era. The size of today's bodybuilders is absolutely amazing! I was happy to see Victor Martinez win his first Arnold Classic competition.
Victor has potential plus and he is one of the nicest and most down to earth pros in the game. I also met one of the most promising new pros, Phil "The Gift" Heath. Phil has incredible arms and when I took a picture with him, he made my 18 1/2" guns look like tiny water pistols.
I also saw the always friendly Gunter Schlierkamp, 2004 USA Champion Mark Dugdale, 2006 Nationals champ Desmond Miller and massive 6'4", 360 pound Quincy Taylor. Like I said, they keep getting bigger and bigger. But one of the freakiest physiques I saw walking around was 2006 Team Universe winner Michael Lockett. The incredible thickness in his traps, delts and arms made Michael look like he was ready to take on Dexter, Victor and Phil that weekend.
If you've never had a chance to attend the Arnold Classic Expo, make plans to go there next year. Each year is bigger and better than the last year and if you are a true bodybuilding fan, you owe it to yourself to go there at least once and experience it along with the other 120,000 other raving fans.
About The Author
John Hansen is one of the best natural bodybuilders having won the Natural Mr. Olympia and the Natural Mr. Universe (twice). He writes a monthly column for Ironman Magazine and is the author of "Natural Bodybuilding" (Human Kinetics, 2005). His training DVD, "Real Muscle" is available at Bodybuilding.com and on his website, www.naturalolympia.com.