Since it began in 1989, the Arnold Classic has evolved from seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger’s modest bodybuilding tourney of 39 male and female competitors into a fitness mega-weekend—the Arnold Sports Festival. Having been retooled to attract more than just hardcore bodybuilding fans, the Arnold Sports Festival now also features seminars, meet and greets, athletic and sports competitions, and for a fitness expo that’s expected to draw more than 185,000 visitors to Columbus, OH, March 3-6. To close out the weekend on Sunday, Arnold will host a roundup of guest speakers, Arnold Classic participants, and other top industry names. That being said, the highlight of the weekend still is—and always will be—the Arnold Classic, in which the top names from IFBB Pro League bodybuilding, physique, fitness, figure and bikini take to the stage for a chance to set the tone for the rest of the competitive season. The winners and head-turners often build enough momentum to ride into September’s Mr. Olympia competition—the IFBB’s Super Bowl.
This year things are a bit different at the Arnold: None of the top five from last year’s O are competing, including defending Arnold Classic champion Dexter Jackson. Here is the 12-man field at the 2016 Arnold Classic.