Thousands flex to earn respect at Arnold Sports Festival

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Athletes from across the globe are in Central Ohio for the Arnold Sports Festival. Each year, the strongest and fittest show off their skills at the Columbus Convention Center.

American Brian Shaw competes in the Strongman competition (WCMH photo/Audrey Hasson)
American Brian Shaw competes in the Strongman competition (WCMH photo/Audrey Hasson)

One of the most popular every year is the Arnold Strongman Competition, which began Friday and lasts through the weekend. It’s an incredible display of strength and muscle. Many of the strongest people in the world train for months to compete.

Dominique Butts from San Diego is competing for the first time at The Arnold. He said one of his favorite parts is getting to meet athletes from around the world.

“I think it’s really cool and interesting to learn about what they do in their countries. how they’re doing their contest prep and even how they’re dealing with their lives while trying to train because it’s difficult to do both.”

Ahmed Elzaiat of Egypt spoke to NBC4 after qualifying for the finals in the light heavy-weight category.

“It’s an amazing feeling of course because it’s one of the biggest competitions all over the world,” he said.

Elzaiat is in Columbus with his team and 2015 world champion Eslam Mohamed.

“He’s my idol and he supports me like he’s my brother,” Elzaiat said.

Most of the big competitions take place Saturday. NBC4’s Tyler Carter tried the indoor version of a hammer throw with the Great Lakes Scottish Athletes Association.


For a full list of the weekend’s events, click here to visit the Arnold Sports Festival website.

The festival brings 18,000 athletes from 80 countries to compete in 70 different events. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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