Of course it is called 'Pole Fitness' at the Arnold (and it can be an incredibly tough discipline). But for many of the serious female bodybuilders who won't be on stage in 2014, the addition of the event seems to further emphasise the message that bodybuilding is for the men – and that the women are there primarily for decoration.
An official release reads: “The Arnold Sports Festival, the largest multi-sport event in the nation, will add several new sports – including the Arnold Classic 212 division for professional men’s bodybuilders and a national championship for pole fitness.
“New in 2014 are the Arnold Classic 212, the Pole Fitness National Championship, Arnold Swimming Championships, Arnold Tennis Championships and the Arnold Wrestling Challenge.”
Many will be unsurprised at the addition.
Joe Pietaro, Online Editor-in-Chief at Fitness RX For Men, said: “Read between the lines there and it’s obvious that the industry is one that is changing as far as the women go.
“Bikini has become a very popular category and now that the women’s physique division is growing, it is only a matter of time that certain bodybuilders downsize to compete there instead.
“What used to be a litany of shows to choose from for female bodybuilders are now a scant few. And considering that two of the three most prestigious shows on the IFBB calendar (Arnold Classic, New York Pro) do not hold the event, it will be even harder for the competitors to continue.”
Officially the replacement for the Ms International female bodybuilding competition is the men's 212 division.
Jim Lorimer, who promotes the event with Arnold Schwarzenegger, said: “The Arnold Sports Festival was proud to support women’s bodybuilding through the Ms. International for the past quarter century.
“But in keeping with the demands of our fans, the time has come to introduce the Arnold Classic 212 beginning in 2014. We are excited to create a professional competitive platform for some of the IFBB Pro League’s most popular competitors.”
The 2014 Arnold Sports Festival, without female bodybuilding, will be held Feb. 27-March 2 in Columbus, Ohio. The event will feature 18,000 athletes competing in 50 sports & events and 175,000 attendees over four days.
(The above pic is a mock-up by the way!)
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