(Johannesburg) – Hollywood star and legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger jetted to South Africa recently to officially open the Arnold Classic Africa – a sports event named in his honour.
Enjoying a South African homecoming late last month (May 2016) to the country where he won the Mr Olympia title 41 years ago, the actor‚ politician and businessman brought the inaugural Arnold Classic Africa to Johannesburg.
It was held at the Sandton Convention Centre and showcased 48 sports and events‚ featuring 11‚000 athletes.
Schwarzenegger said he wanted to promote healthy lifestyles around the world.
The Arnold Classic will take place across six continents this year and will be an annual event in SA‚ where Schwarzenegger spent part of his youth.
“I first came to SA in 1967. My idol lived here‚ the man that inspired me to get into lifting‚ bodybuilding and fitness‚ Reg Park and I would train under him.”
He won the Mr Olympia title in Pretoria in 1975. Schwarzenegger later opened the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront in 1998‚ in which he was an investor. The restaurant chain was founded by Keith Barish and Robert Earl.
He said he was now on a crusade to promote bodybuilding‚ exercise and healthier living in the world.
“I intend to come back to SA every year for the next 40 years. There are too many couch potatoes in SA and I want to change that‚” he said.
When asked about the growth of outdoor based sports and exercise styles such as cross-fit and if bodybuilding was in need of a global resurgence‚ he said bodybuilders were able to train more in the outdoors in current times.
“When I was training‚ I didn’t have the same access to facilities that we have now. There were no gyms in hotels for example. There are now gyms everywhere‚ even in hospitals. We also have gyms located outdoors. I believe that bodybuilding is growing strongly as a sport‚” he said.
Statistics showed that 47% of young people were inactive in SA‚ he said.
Ivor Hoff‚ chief director of Gauteng department of sport said it was a privilege for the province to host the event.
“We call Gauteng the home of champions and the preferred home of competitive sport‚ this is where all champions are born and made‚” Hoff said.
“We are in the midst of many champions among one of which is Arnold Schwarzenegger‚ who is a renowned bodybuilding champion.”
This article was sourced from Times Live