Major Changes Announced for 2020 Arnold Sports Festival


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--With fears of the spread of coronavirus at a large-scale event, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced major changes to this year's Arnold Sports Festival, which is set to begin Thursday.

DeWine said in speaking to health officials from across the country, including Vice-President Mike Pence and "The Arnold" himself, the decision was made to cancel the expo and trade show associated with the festival, and athletic competitions will continue without spectators.

DeWine says the normal circumstances for the festival are ideal for the spread of coronavirus--a large number of people in a small confined area. He says the risk is too great to continue the event as scheduled.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said the festival is not about making money, but rather about health and fitness. He added the festival will be held later this year, but did not give specifics.

Dr. Mysheika Roberts, with Columbus Public Health, says athletes from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran are banned from competing this year. Those countries are where the coronavirus is widespread.

Athletic events in the Arnold Kids and Teens Expo will continue, but only with a parent or guardian in attendance.

As of early Wednesday morning, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio, and one person is being monitored for possible symptoms.

"The Arnold" typically draws over 20-thousand athletes and over 200-thousand visitors to Columbus.