The Arnold competition was one of my very favorite when I was both a gymnast and a cheerleader. Being at the Columbus Convention Center holds a lot of great memories for me and brings me back to my childhood and high school years. I wanted to make sure I had a chance to check out both events while I was at the Arnold and be reminded of how much fun I had while participating in these sports.
When I was a gymnast, my favorite event was actually the one that most gymnasts hate! I always looked forward to the balance beam, and some of my favorite moves to perform were Arial cartwheels and a back-handspring back-handsprings. I liked the bars a lot too, but my least favorite event was probably the vault or floor. I wasn’t the most graceful kid ever, so dancing for me did not come naturally! The vault on the other hand was not my best since I was also not the most powerful.
Gymnastics definitely helped make me who I am today. It takes a lot of dedication and responsibility, and it tests your fears and teaches you how to handle them. According to the website, this was the 12th year for the Arnold Gymnastics Challenge (which means I must have competed in the very first years!). Over 4,000 competitors from across the country competed in both the compulsory and optional competition. There were women and men competitions ranging from levels 3-10. Also, new for this year, power tumbling and trampoline were added.
On Sunday, the top 8 gymnasts from each level got the chance to compete in the Individual Event Finals. Another special opportunity was geared to the top gymnasts in the highest level at the competition. The Columbus Rotary partnered with the Arnold to present a $2,000 College Scholarship to the top male and female level 10 gymnast. (Source)
After checking out the gymnastics, we headed over to the cheerleading competition, which I competed in during high school. I was a flier and loved every minute of learning new skills, progressing in my mounting and tumbling, and getting to compete at awesome competitions.
Check out these lights on the ceiling! This was a feature that I didn’t remember having, but it was a really awesome addition to the venue.
Just like in the gymnastics competition, over 4,000 competitors competed in the Arnold Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. The Columbus Rotary and the Arnold Sports Festival gave away another $2,000 scholarship at the cheer competition, this time to the best individual senior cheerleader. Competing were Levels 1-6 all star teams, school & rec divisions, special needs teams, and open and college divisions.
Another area of the Arnold I thought was awesome: Art! That’s right, lined up in an open concourse at the Convention Center were artists painting pictures of athletes in photographs.
This was the third annual Art at the Arnold, which is a three-day drawing and painting competition. The artists use athletes as models and the Arnold as their ‘backdrop.’ On Saturday while I was there, it was an all day Open Studio Work Session. According to the flier, the artists were working on photos and sketches taken from the previous day. On the Friday before, the artists used their digital cameras and sketchbooks to gather references from the many activities going on throughout the festival for that Saturday’s painting session. On Sunday, the finished and framed pictures were submitted for judging.
I thought this was a really unique and different aspect of the Arnold! There is definitely something for everyone at the Arnold, and I loved getting to view all of the different events. It was great to see how such a variety of activities, interests and people can come together in one venue.
What sport did you participate in as a kid?
Is there an activity you wish you would have gotten involved with that you didn’t?
Are you into art, or are you good at creating your own art?
What do you think about one event made up of such a variety of sports, activities, interests, etc? Would attending something like the Arnold be of interest to you?