Arnold Classic: history, list of winners, 2021 competition venue and updates

Arnold Classic: history, list of winners, 2021 competition venue and updates

Every year, thousands and thousands of bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and martial artists from all over the world have something to anticipate. They converge at Columbus, Ohio, for a weekend exposition bearing bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger's name. Even though this tradition was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arnold Classic competition is back now.

Arnold Classic
Arnold Classic logo. Photo: @ArnoldSports
Source: UGC

The bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger created the Arnold Classic to showcase bodybuilding. It began in 1989 and has continually evolved into one of the premier bodybuilding events across the globe. It is still held at the Columbus Convention Center since day one.

Arnold Classic history

At the beginning of spring 1989, two skilled bodybuilders, Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer started promoting one of the premier bodybuilding events in the whole world. They had spent many years promoting some of the most globally famous championships, namely:

  • Mr Olympia
  • Mr Universe (World Bodybuilding Championships)
  • Pro Mr World events

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Eventually, Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding champion and Jim decided to start their contest and named it after the most famous name in the entire bodybuilding history. Even though the plan was made earlier, they actualized it after retirement.

Why is the Arnold Classic in Columbus Ohio? It is held in Columbus, Ohio since it is on that ground that he promised to support the sport after his retirement. Over the years, the duo has added more events to the competition. Other events in the Arnold strongman classic include:

  • Ms International, a woman's bodybuilding event
  • The Fitness Training Seminar
  • The Fitness International Competition
  • The Cheerleading and Dance Team Championships
  • The Strongest Man Competition
  • The World Powerlifting Organization World Championship
  • The Fitness Fashion Show
  • The Classic Armwrestling Challenge
  • The World Record Bench Press Challenge
  • The World Gracie Submission Championships
  • The Traditional Karate World Cup Championship

How much does the winner of the Arnold Classic get?

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The competition winner takes home a whopping $130,000 while the second and third positions bag $75,000 and $50, 000 respectively. Some of the other most notable prizes ever won are a Hummer vehicle and an Audemars Piguet watch.

Arnold Classic list of winners

Arnold Classic
Arnold Classic winners. Photo: @ArnoldSports
Source: Twitter

Over the year, the Arnold sports festival has crowned many winners for their excellence. Here is the full list:


  • 1989 - Rich Gaspari
  • 1990 - Mike Ashley
  • 1991 - Shawn Ray
  • 1992 - Vince Taylor
  • 1993 - Flex Wheeler
  • 1994 - Kevin Levrone
  • 1995 - Mike Francois
  • 1996 - Kevin Levrone
  • 1997 - Flex Wheeler
  • 1998 - Flex Wheeler
  • 1999 - Nasser El Sonbaty
  • 2000 - Flex Wheeler
  • 2001 - Ronnie Coleman
  • 2002 - Jay Cutler
  • 2003 - Jay Cutler
  • 2004 - Jay Cutler
  • 2005 - Dexter Jackson
  • 2006 - Dexter Jackson
  • 2007 - Victor Martinez
  • 2008 - Dexter Jackson
  • 2009 - Kai Greene
  • 2010 - Kai Greene
  • 2011 - Branch Warren
  • 2012 - Branch Warren
  • 2013 - Dexter Jackson
  • 2014 - Dennis Wolf
  • 2015 - Dexter Jackson
  • 2016 - Kai Greene
  • 2017 - Cedric McMillan
  • 2018 - William Bonac
  • 2019 - Brandon Curry
  • 2020 - William Bonac

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Best poser

Arnold Classic
A group of Arnold Classic participants. Photo: @ArnoldSports
Source: Twitter
  • 2009 - Kai Greene
  • 2010 - Kai Greene
  • 2011 - Dennis Wolf
  • 2018 - Fred Smalls
  • 2019 - Joshua Lenartowicz
  • 2020 - Sergio Olivia Junior

Most muscular

  • 2009 - Branch Warren
  • 2010 - Branch Warren
  • 2011 - Branch Warren
  • 2012 - Branch Warren
  • 2018 - Roelly Winklaar
  • 2019 - Joshua Lenartowicz
  • 2020 - Mamdouh Elssbiay

Fan's Choice Award

  • 2011 - Branch Warren

Most Entertaining Routine

  • 2012 - Branch Warren

Arnold Classic international

Over the years, different countries have begun and continue to hold their Arnold Classic at the international levels. They include:

  • Arnold Classic Europe in Spain held since 2011
  • Arnold Classic South America in Brazil held since 2013
  • Arnold Classic Australia in Australia held since 2015
  • Arnold Classic Africa in South Africa held since 2016
  • Arnold Classic Asia in Hong Kong was held only in 2016

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Arnold Classic 2021 competition venue

Arnold Classic
Arnold Classic ticket sale poster. Photo: @ArnoldSports
Source: Twitter

Arnold Classic 2020 was cancelled due to the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, after over a year of uncertainty, fans and fitness enthusiast can look forward to the set retune of the Arnold Classic competition in 2021.

Is Arnold Classic 2021 cancelled? No. However, even though the competition is usually held in March every year, it is set to take place on 25th September 2021. The finals events and competition location were confirmed on 25th May 2021 by the Arnold Sports Festival through their Instagram account and official website.

The show will feature only four bodybuilding categories, namely:

  • Men's open competitors
  • Classic physique
  • Fitness
  • Bikini

However, the entire Arnold Sports Festival USA competition will come back in 2022. Like the Arnold Classic 2019 live stream, the show will offer live streaming for the 2021 competitions. In addition, fans will be allowed to attend the event even though the maximum number of attendees has not yet been revealed.

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Who won Arnold Classic 2021? The winners are not known since the competition is yet to take place. However, the winner of the Arnold Classic will qualify for 2022 My Olympia. The cutoff for these qualifications will be on Sunday, 12th September 2021. They will be competing for a whopping $421,000 collectively.

Arnold Classic latest updates

In the latest updates, Schwarzenegger lost a sponsor after criticizing people who won’t wear a mask with the following words:

There is a virus here. It kills people, and the only way we prevent it is to get vaccinated, to wear masks, to do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about, ‘Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.’ No. Screw your freedom! Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, one of the major sponsor’s REDCON1 supplement brands did not take these words kindly. The brand’s founder said they would no longer offer sponsorship to the event through an Instagram post.

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We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars being a top sponsor of the event, and this year the exclusive sponsor of the webcast, but we can’t in good conscience continue to support and be involved with someone who has such diametrically opposed beliefs. Anyone who says ‘screw your freedoms’ is un-American, and REDCON1 is a patriotic pro-freedom brand. We support freedom of choice.

Arnold Classic is considered the second-most-prestigious event in professional men's bodybuilding, physique, figure, and bikini. With its comeback in 2021, fitness enthusiasts can look forward to all the activities set to take place. shared an article on Maxim Hot 100 and the list of winners throughout the years since 2000. Maxim is an international men’s magazine famous for its photography of actresses, singers, and female models whose careers are at their peak. Maxim Hot 100 is a release that the magazine does every year.

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