Weightlifting in Columbus

Columbus boasts a vibrant legacy in strength sports, from hosting the 1970 World Weightlifting Championships to being the birthplace of renowned institutions like the Ohio State University Weightlifting Club and the Arnold Sports Festival. The city is a hub for athletes and enthusiasts in weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding, continuing its tradition with significant events and growing collegiate programs.

Major Events |  Fast Facts | Local Teams | Notable People

Major Events Hosted

Fast Facts

  • Columbus is home of the Arnold Sports festival, one the largest and most notable strength events in the world
  • The 1970 World Weightlifting Championships were held in Columbus
  • Pete George was a 1952 Olympic Weightlifting Champion and 1948/1956 silver medalist. His brother James (Jim) George was an Olympic medalist 1956/1960, both were OSU alumni
  • Columbus is home of Westside Barbell, one of the world’s most reputable powerlifting gyms/programs with over 140 world records
  • Columbus holds 2 student-founded collegiate programs: Ohio State Weightlifting and Ohio State Powerlifting, which some of the largest and most powerful college teams in the country for their respective sports


Local Teams

Founded in 2021 by Joe Richmond and Nick Sanchez, OSUWL has grown into one of the largest collegiate weightlifting programs in the country

Pete George

1952 Olympic Weightlifting Champion and 1948/1956 silver medalist

Louie Simmons

Elite lifter in 5 different powerlifting weight classes and a top 10 lifter for 30 years. Founder, developer, and coach of westside…

Mark Cannella

2012 Olympic coach, senior international coach, founder and director of Arnold Weightlifting Championships since it’s start in 2003