Arnold Sports Festival begins in central Ohio


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Organizers say about 18,000 athletes are expected to be part of the Arnold Sports Festival getting under way at several sites in Columbus.

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday and is billed as the largest multi-sport festival in the nation. It includes more than 45 sports and events, including 12 Olympic sports.

On Friday, officials plan to unveil a sculpture of the festival's namesake, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his bodybuilding prime. The 8-foot bronze statue of the actor and former California governor will stand outside the Veterans Memorial exhibition space that hosts the festival.

The statue showing the young bodybuilder flexing his muscles is based on the same prototype used to create the trophy for the winner of the bodybuilding contest at the festival.