Gymnastics, and Cheerleading, and…Art? Oh My!

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?

25 thoughts on “Gymnastics, and Cheerleading, and…Art? Oh My!

  1. How cool! I was a gymnast when I was very young, but then I switched over to cheerleading. I was a cheerleader from 3rd grade all throughout high school! Love watching cheer competitions.

  2. I had no idea what this Arnold stuff was till I read your post. Oh wow, so jealous. I did gymnastics all through growing up and loved it. It defined me, as well, as the sport I loved with all of my heart. I was never super talented but I worked harder in gymnastics that I’ve ever worked in my life. Wish I could have been there to see these competitions.

  3. Who knew there would be art at the Arnold?! That’s pretty cool. I wish I could have gone to the event–I imagine it was really inspiring. Thanks for the recap!

  4. I agree! I also loved the lesser seen side of Arnold. So great.

    I participated in dance and rode horses as a kid. I never ran until 2007 and wish I would’ve pushed myself to start earlier. As for art…photography would be it. Give me a paint brush and I’ve got nothing!

    Glad we finally got to meet up. Look forward to more FitFluential fun in the future.

  5. I used to do kung fu (which was super fun), golf and tennis. I stuck with tennis through high school.
    I think I did gymnastics for a tiny bit when I was in preschool in Korea, but nothing serious (no competitions or anything).
    Fun post!

  6. I took a few gymnastics classes as an older child, like 6th grade. I was starting to become overweight and I was hitting puberty BIG time. It crushed me not to be tiny and graceful like everyone else. I love it though, but I stopped classes. I LOVED the vault though, it was so thrilling to be thrown into the air and somehow stick the landing anyway! I am also a big fan of cheerleading, I didn’t know either of those were at the Arnold. Thanks for the recap

  7. This is SO cool! I’ve read lots of recaps and seen lots of photos from the weekend’s events, but you’re the first I’ve seen to feature the artists! As a child-artist myself, this is fascinating to me. Who’d have thought art and fitness could come together like that? I’m totally inspired to get back into my own drawing and painting — I can design the muscles i’m working to build! 🙂

  8. So cool! My cheerleading squad in high school actually placed first in the arnold my sophomore year! It was awesome :). Growing up I mainly did competitive dance but I also played some rec soccer and cheered all throughout middle and high school!

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