The Arnold Sports Festival, brainchild of actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrapped up March 3 after three days of competition in 18 different sports, from armwrestling to fencing to bodybuilding and weightlifting.
Winners of the prestige events this year were: Dexter Jackson of Jacksonville, Florida, who won the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition, raking in $130,000; Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania won two events over an international field to capture the 7th Annual Arnold Strongman Classic title for the sixth year in a row; Yaxeni Oriquen of Miami, Florida took the Ms. International bodybuilding competition, and Gina Aliotti of San Diego, California, won the Figure International Championships. Kimberly Klein of Belmar, New Jersey, won the Fitness International competition.
In other news from the Arnolds,
Olympic bronze medalist (2000) and two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) Cheryl Haworth (Savannah, Ga.) won yet another USA Weightlifting National Championship in the women’s 75+kg weight class today in Columbus, Ohio, but she will need much bigger lifts in May at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta, Ga. to make her third consecutive U.S. Olympic Team. Haworth, easily won the women’s 75+kg weight class, but has lifted much heavier weights in the past and will need to again if she wants to return to the Olympic platform. Haworth totaled just 232kg today (102kg snatch and 130kg clean and jerk) easily outdistancing her nearest competitor today of 210kg, but far from the 250kg that she totaled despite being under 100% healthy in September at the 2007 World Weightlifting Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (to read more of this content at the Official Site of the U.S. Olympic Team, click here.
Dean Narcisco of the Columbus Dispatch was on the scene, providing this look at the fortunes of previous winners of events at The Arnolds.
Not slow to recognize the phenomenal appeal of mixed martial arts, this year organizers arranged for the UFC to hold an event at the festival. UFC 68, the Uprising, saw veteran comeback artist Randy "The Natural" Couture upset Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia to take the heavyweight crown.
It wouldn't be The Arnolds without a visit from the founder and inspiration, the Governator himself. And Arnold didn't disappoint.
At least not all of them. There were a few disgruntled folks who hoped to get some facetime with the bodybuilding legend who were left with a bitter taste in their mouth. I'll be back? Probably not these fans. Or middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik.