Schwarzenegger promises to keep his sports festival in Columbus

Ohio Gov. John Kasich likes to say that California is full of whackadoodles but Arnold Schwarzenegger is one Californian he embraces as his “pal.”

“He is my buddy and I’m proud to call him that,” Kasich said Monday during a brief ceremony to rededicate an 8-foot tall, 600-pound bronze sculpture of Schwarzenegger.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman heaped love on Schwarzenegger too.

“We are proud of him. I love this guy. He’s a friend of mine and a friend of the city of Columbus,” said Coleman, a Democrat.

The giant Arnold artwork moved to its new spot in front of the Columbus Convention Center, from the Veterans Memorial, which is slated for demolition. Since 1989 Columbus has hosted the annual Arnold Sports Festival, which now draws 18,000 athletes and 175,000 spectators for 50 events. The festival is scheduled for March 6 to March 8 next year.

Schwarzenegger, a body builder, a movie star and former California governor, pledged to ignore overtures to move the Arnold Sports Festival.

“Why do we want to fix something that is not broken?” he said Monday at the ceremony. “We have the greatest competition in the world right here in Columbus, Ohio and this is why I promise you today: it has been here, it is here and it always will be here in Columbus, Ohio.”

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