2006 Arnold Sports Festival: Bigger and better than ever
An estimated 125,000 people made their
way to this year’s weekend extravaganza. And for good reason. With
more than 15,000 athletes, and an unprecedented number of sports
ranging from archery to powerlifting to speed skating, the Arnold
Sports Festival is bigger than the Olympics. This year, three venues
in Columbus, Ohio hosted the events: the Greater Columbus Convention
Center, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, and Nationwide Arena.
The Fitness Expo
The Greater Columbus Convention Center, as it does every year, housed the Arnold Fitness Expo. The Expo featured 650 exhibitor booths and 30 different events to entertain fans. To accommodate the large attendance this year, the aisles were widened and some events took place at Nationwide Arena. Fortunately, those events were included with your expo ticket, and frequent shuttles were provided to move attendees between venues.
Among the highlights at the Expo: The Fitness international, The Figure International, Strongman contest, The WPO powerlifting championships, and personal appearances by the Governator himself.
|Lou Ferrigno||Roland Kickenger|
As I made my way through the Expo, I saw all the major players in the industry, like EAS, Europa Sports, MHP Maximum Human Performance, Met-Rx, and MuscleTech. However, as I approached aisle 1000, I noticed a banner, “STS Supplement Training Systems,” a name I had never seen before. Once I got to the booth I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face, Dean Caputo. I’ve known Dean for almost 15 years and have nothing but respect for the man. He quickly introduced me to the rest of team STS, pictured below.
|Team STS: (left to right) Dean Caputo, Chris Neuberger, Camilla Kragius, Tim Hinrichs|
Team STS decided to use the Arnold Sports Festival to launch their new line of 22 products. Besides having an eye-catching booth, all the members of the STS team were handing out free samples of their protein and meal replacements. Innovation being a priority, they package all their powders in convenient, single serving packets, not bulky jugs. These powders mix instantly and make it easy for the person who’s very busy to get quality nutrients throughout the day. These single serving packets will easily fit into a brief case, suitcase or desk drawer. No more excuses about not getting multiple meals throughout the day.
For more information about STS products, call (800)627-8329 or visit http://www.sts-sports.com.
WPO World Powerlifting Organization Championships
Like previous years, the 2006 WPO Championships were filled with the best of the best powerlifters in the world. Many of the competitors are world champions and/or world record holders, like: Michael Cartinian, OH; Chuck Vogelpohl, OH; Angelo Berardinelli, OH; Matt Kroczalski, MI; Marc Bartley, SC; and Jill Mills and Becca Swanson, NE.
Powerlifting involves successfully performing three lifts; squat, bench and deadlift. The total of the three lifts is computed and you are ranked accordingly. Because of the level of competition and the defending of titles and world records, extraordinary lifts are commonplace.
|198lber Becca Swanson squatting 803lbs||Fourteen year old Amanda Harris squatting 209lbs|
|165lb Angelo Berardinelli squatting 770lbs||198lb
Mike Cartinian breaking his own
world record by squatting 914lbs
|220lb Dondell Blue squatting 935lbs||946lb squat|
|165lb Oleksandr Kutcher benching 550lbs. He also squatted 825lbs and deadlifted 792lbs!||Strongest Woman in the World, Jill Mills, benching 352lbs. She also squatted 638lbs and deadlifted 555.5lbs @ 181lbs|
|Becca Swanson benching 478.5lbs. She just missed her third attempt at 501lbs||Mike Cartinian benching 621.5lbs. Mike, a genetic freak, is an up-and-coming star in the world of powerlifting. We’ll be seeing a lot more of him.|
Other outstanding lifts included:
The most outstanding performance of the day went to Chuck Vogelpohl, who weighed in at 268lbs, squatted 1116.5lbs, benched 632.5lbs and deadlifted 808.5lbs, all for an official total of 2562.874lbs. This man is not human!
Eleven out of the 15 heavy and super heavyweight lifters who finished squatted more than 1000lbs.
Jeff Lewis squatted 1210lbs, but, though that number’s impressive, you must take into consideration he weighs a ridiculous 550lbs.
Jeff Lewis and Donnie Thompson (who didn’t finish) both benched 814lbs.
Andrew Bolton deadlifted 968lbs (what the F*ck?).
Arvai Istvan and Tibor Meszaros deadlifted 880lbs, although Tibor didn’t compete in the squat or bench.
This meet, no surprise to me, was again produced and run very well. Just like previous years, there was a huge screen behind the stage giving everyone in attendance a great view of the lifts being attempted. After every attempt, you could watch the lifts in slow motion. The expeditors and the judges did an excellent job keeping the athletes organized and on track. I would also like to send a word of praise out to the spotters and loaders. These guys did a hell of a job. Spotting athletes that are regularly squatting more than 800 and benching more than 600 is no easy task. If you have any interest in powerlifting at all, this is the event to go to.
Friday Night Fights/Gracie Fighting Championships
The Martial Arts Festival was moved to Nationwide Arena to accommodate its growing size and popularity. This year, nearly 4,000 martial artists competed in 16 different disciplines. Among some of the events were the World Gracie Submission Championships, in which more than 1,000 competitors battled for more than $10,000.00 in prize money in Gi and non-Gi competition. Other highlights included many workshops and seminars, which gave people a chance to talk to and meet world champions and legends in the world of martial arts.
Even though the Martial Arts Festival was filled with so many fantastic competitions and demonstrations, I was most excited about covering the Friday Night Fights. I have been a huge fan of mixed martial arts since Royce Gracie won the first three UFC Ultimate Fighting Championships more than 10 years ago.
entertainment and music before each match
kept the crowd going.
|It was a packed house.|
Here’s how the matches went:
Ben Rothwell defeated Dan Bobish by KO with a knee strike 4m20s into the first round. Dan Bobish was very aggressive and was leading by points up until the knee strike. For most of the first round, Rothwell was on his back showing good defense but Bobish on occasion was getting through with punches and elbows. It was obvious about three minutes into the fight that Bobish was running out of gas. The endurance he showed in past events was lacking. Rothwell capitalized on this and connected with a few strikes. Bobish, completely gassed, dropped his hands and took a knee to the head. Out went the lights. Dan has all the tools. He’s a huge man who’s extremely fast with a lot of skill; however, he really needs to rethink his conditioning efforts.
comes to his feet after
being on his back for most of the round
pays for running out of gas
with a knee to the chin.
|Rothwell’s victory speech|
Vitor Shoalin defeated Chris Brennan
Dustin Hazlett defeated Rahlan Gracie in the only fight to go to a decision. This fight was a treat to watch. Excellent striking and ground skills throughout.
Fredson Paixao defeated Mike French by submission in 42s of the 1st round.
Michael O’Donnell defeated Jon Koppenhaver by submission in 4m02s of the 2nd round.
Forrest Petz defeated Daniel Moraes by TKO in 2m33s of the 3rd round. One of the worst fights I’ve ever seen. Moraes seemed like he was stalling and afraid to make contact. The crowd was very displeased.
Matt Lindland defeated Fabio Leopoldo by choke in 3m25s of the 3rd round.
|Team Gracie|| Lots
of excellent ground game
throughout the event
“the Natural” Couture enjoying
one of his fighter’s victories
|Mike Pyle posing for the mags after a victory|
|The great George Foreman receiving the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award.|
Daniel Gracie defeated Wes Sims by TKO with illegal knee strikes at the end of round two. This fight was the featured match and what started out as a good heavyweight fight quickly turned into a black eye for mixed martial arts.
Sims, a 6’10” UFC veteran, got off to a great start by landing some heavy knees and defending against Gracies’ take down attempts. Eventually, showing the crowd what Gracie jiu-jitsu is all about, Daniel Gracie landed side control. He then secured an armbar on Sims’ right arm, which appeared to be the end for Sims. In true mixed martial arts fashion, Sims escaped as the bell sounded.
As the second round started, Gracie capitalizing on a low kick by Sims, scoring a single-leg takedown. Gracie then took Sims’ back and appeared to secure a rear naked choke. Sims again escaped.
|Gracie showing his ground skills|
Here’s where it gets ugly. Showing good stand-up, Sims was doing some damage and then landed a, what looked like, intentional head butt. Mario Yamasaki rightly deducted 1 point from Sims for an illegal move.
After a restart, Sims dropped Gracie with a knee and appeared to render him unconscious. Instead of finishing Gracie off, he danced around in celebration long enough for Gracie to recover. The fighters landed on the ground and Gracie again secured an armbar with Sims escaping. After the escape, Sims tried to secure a guillotine. Gracie quickly escaped and landed a devastating elbow to Sims’ chin.
recovers after the knee
and scores a takedown
landing the first of three
devastating, illegal knees
Seemingly out of it from the elbow, Sims lay with his back to the ropes. Gracie then landed a vicious right knee directly on Sims chin and followed with two more. Knee strikes while an opponent is down is an illegal move throughout most of the U.S. Unfortunately, Mario Yamasaki, a very experienced and revered referee, did not see the illegal moves.
|The fight doctor, medics and ring officials tending to Sims.|
Sims laid motionless on the canvas for what seemed like an eternity. His family and girlfriend were seated very close to us and were obviously devastated by the event and tried to make their way into the ring. Before being taken out on a stretcher, Sims was complaining of severe neck pain.
|Sims’ girlfriend in the lower right trying to get to him.|
Team Hammer House and Team Gracie ended up in a tie 3-to-3 in team matches. As of this writing, I have not heard if the match between Sims and Gracie has been overturned.
All in all, the Arnold Sports Festival was a resounding success. Between all the events, partying and eye candy I went home exhausted on Sunday. Make sure to keep the first weekend in March open on your calendars. You won't be disappointed.
Questions or comments? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.