Greater Columbus Convention Center
400 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
This is my first year attending the Arnold Sports Festival. I arrived a little after 10:00 am on Friday with my highlighted daily schedule. I was overwhelmed by the number of people in the “free” area (that doesn’t require a ticket).
I sat towards the back of an area (C-Pod) where Xtreme Powerlift Coalition (at least that is what the sign said) was holding a competition where men were doing what appeared to me to be squats. People were everywhere. It seemed like every time I lined up to take a picture someone jumped up in the way. Then everyone stood up. I asked the guy next to me what was going on. He said, “Arnold is over there”. I just started snapping pictures in the direction where everyone seemed to be looking.
I walked around the corner to a stage area (Concourse Stage) where women were competing in Armlifting. (I only knew the name after I interviewed the participants).
Tell me why you love Armlifting. How do you train?
I train by doing this stuff. I love it because it is the best of all.
Where are you from? The accent is not from Columbus, Ohio.
I’m from Finland.
How long have you been doing this?
A year and a half.
What is your personal best and how much did you lift today?
My personal best is 62 kg(kilograms). Today, I lifted 57.5kg. It depends on the day and the situation.
Do you have to follow a special diet?
No. I eat normally. Nothing special.
What were you just doing?
They call it armlifting. It is a grip competition. It is how strong is your hand.
How long have you been doing it?
About a year.
What is your personal best and what did you do today?
My personal best in this event is what I did today 55 Kg. I hold the world record in the country crush, and I am hoping to break a world record tomorrow in the axle deadlift.
Do you do any specific training for this event?
No. I broke my arm a couple of months ago, so I haven’t done anything. I found grip on accident. I am a MAS wrestler. It is a Russian sport. It translates roughly into stick wrestling.
Sidebar: Lifting one hundred something pounds with grip strength is amazing. On Saturday I caught the end of the men’s MAS wrestling competition. It was so crowded that I could only see the competitors before and after the winner was holding the stick. It was very interesting. I made a mental note to see MAS wrestling next year.
Anything that I didn’t ask you but should have asked you?
Grip strength is exactly what it sounds like. They make us pick up odd objects with our hands. They make us measure in kilograms to try to confuse me. I think 130 pounds sounds a lot better than some of the things they say I lift.
I took a break from the crowd and walked toward the food court.
In the Eisenman & Trott Rooms, people were preparing for a Foosball Competition.
Around the corner was a fencing competition.
I returned to the Concourse stage to observe poll dancing.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been poll dancing for ten years.
Are you local?
I’m from a studio in Cincinnati called Dimension Fitness. We are an aerial arts studio. We have pole fitness, aerial silks and aerial hoop. The workout involves a lot of musicality, upper body strength, and flexibility. It is a whole-body workout.
Tell me about pole dancing.
Pole dancing incorporates so many kinds of fitness. We must be acrobatic, like gymnast. We must be like dancers and ice skaters. We need yoga. We need all these different aspects. On top of that, you must be brave. It is very dangerous. We are up in the air holding on by just our skin and muscles.
Sidebar: Her pole dance presentation lasted for what felt like five minutes. I think it was the extended radio version of a song. I was tired just watching. a person must be in great shape to pole dance for as long as she did. I didn’t think about the danger until Danielle mentioned it.
Across the hall there were amateur weight lifting competitions:
There were a lot of exercise classes offered. The most unique class I observed was one involving Kangoo boots.
Ritsa Mazur, kangooclubohio.com
Tell me about the unique thing you have going on?
They are kangoo jump boots. They started in Europe in the 1990s. They are originally designed to help with rehabilitation of knees, ankle, and foot injuries. They absorb 80% of the impact of your joints. It then became a fitness craze of people doing aerobic exercises. We have four different types of classes: Kangoo power, Kangoo boot camp, Kangoo dance, and Kangoo punch. They also have Kango discovery for children that require the same type of boot. They are only made for kids, so their lighter weight can compress them.
Most facilities have boots for rental for people to try them out. The boots are a little expensive. They range from $250 to $300 depending on the setup you want. Each setup varies on the person’s foot size, weight and the power they put behind their jump. Some one who weighs 150 may have the same boot setup as someone who weighs 230 pounds because of the power they put behind it. Over time, the T-spring needs to be replaced (its what gives you the bounce). If the T-spring stretches out too much, you will end up breaking a shell. You usually replace the T-sprint once or twice a year depending on how often you use the boots.
Sidebar: I tried the boots. It was hard to balance when I was not in motion. When I was walking, it felt like trying to walk and not glide in a pair of inline skates. I didn’t have the courage to try to jump or run because I felt like I was one second from a fall.
I listened to a gospel rap performance by @iamprophocey. To see the interview of iamprophocey, click the following link: https://www.614whats2love.com/home/arnold-sports-festival-usa-2019-a-splash-of-color
To see the interview of Solana Lewis, click the following link: https://www.614whats2love.com/home/arnold-sports-festival-usa-2019-a-splash-of-color
I encountered a few people in the hall:
To see the interview of Dyon Holmes, click the following link: https://www.614whats2love.com/home/arnold-sports-festival-usa-2019-a-splash-of-color
What is the art form called?
I am a professional living statue entertainer.
How long have you been performing? What is your background? i.e. How did you prepare to do what you are doing?
With over 85 different characters, I have been performing for 43 years. I started with classical mime Marcel Marceau style. I trained under him for a short time. I have been performing living statue for the last 23 years. I started at age 13 after seeing Marcel Marceau on tv. After seeing him perform, I kept trying it in front of a mirror. My mom encouraged me to enter talent/variety shows. During high school it turned into a side job. While in college, I started using my talent in ministry, and continue to do so. I have been an educating artist with Ohio Arts in Education as an artist-in-schools.
What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you do?
Obey your parents and sit still!
To see the interview of Sammica Cash, click the following link: https://www.614whats2love.com/home/arnold-sports-festival-usa-2019-a-splash-of-color
The art competition was also in the free area. To see the pictures and interviews with a few of the artists click on the following link: https://www.614whats2love.com/home/arnold-sports-festival-usa-2019-art-competitions
My take: There is a lot to do at the Arnold Sports Festival that is free (on the cheap). I didn’t scratch the surface of what was offered. I felt like there was so much to do with so little time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all that is offered. It is good to have a game plan of what you want to see prior to arriving, but my advice is to also be open to just hanging out in the hall. Take a chance and introduce yourself to some of the participants. Everyone I talked to was friendly and willing to explain what they love. I enjoyed seeing the results of their passion and dedication.