2016 Arnold Classic Brasil: bonanza of fun (2/2)

by Albert Silver
4/7/2016 – The Arnold Classic is nothing if not democratic. All sports are welcome, and participation is encouraged to all. Efforts were visibly made to promote Arnold Schwarzenegger's vision of inclusion of everyone into a sports and fitness lifestyle, starting from the very young. With sports events galore, fitness models and companies, here is a massive pictorial.

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2016 Arnold Classic Brasil: bonanza of fun (2/2)

Report and photos by Albert Silver


The festival

The Arnold Classic is a sprawling event and festival. It is huge in every way imaginable, and anyone remotely interested in sports or fitness will have things to do and see all day and more.

Behind a large felt wall, so as to provide some slight visual insulation, is a large stage where
competitions are held for bodybuilding, fitness and more. There is a very large spectator area
and all you need to do is walk in and take a seat.

I was caught by surprise this year when I saw a number of very beautiful women coming onto stage in long dresses. I could not understand what this was for, since none of the usual events would require this. Miss Fitness? Nope. Miss Bikini? Hardly. As it turned out, this was an innovation this year and was a traditional beauty pageant. Ladies need not grumble on sexism since...

... there was a male pageant as well.

In one area there was a powerlifting competition, and the competitors and weights were nothing short of staggering.

This is the bench press event, with no fewer than three spotters to step in the second they are needed. There were three judges also, two on each side, plus one where the competitor could see, telling him if he had met the requirements for a successful lift. Comments such as "lift the right side more!" were not uncommon.

There were multiple combat sports competitions being held for aficionados of all kinds. Above was from the Muay Thai meet.

These were not demonstrations of said martial arts, but genuine tournaments....

... with a winner, a loser, and medals and trophies. This is the Wushu Sanda meet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had made his wish for inclusion of everyone into sports and fitness and he meant it. In this case, it was not a competition so much as efforts to bring in children who might feel that sports and fitness are outside of their world. You may notice some older volunteers who are clearly not handicapped in wheelchairs too. They are in training, while they help and join in the fun.

Their enthusiasm and energy helped bring smiles to the children. This young boy could not quite throw a ball into the basket, but somehow his ball always seemed to get in with gentle help.

It wasn't all about young children struggling to deal with and overcome handicaps. There were fitness and strength competitions for more mature participants as well.

This young man is clearly no stranger to weight lifting

Nevertheless, adversity is overcome easiest with support and care, and the energy here is high

In the second pavillion there are hundreds of stalls and stores representing companies small and large

The larger brand names are not seeking to sell items piece meal, and instead promote their products with fun displays of athletes to take photos with, and samples of products to try. There were large lines with people handing their mobile phones to a company rep, who took their picture for them.

Each year I have seen the supplement company Dymatize represented with a showing by pro bodybuilder Andy Haman. This might seem commonplace enough, and it is true there is no shortage of large buff athletes touting the products of one company or another. However, I have yet to see anyone remotely like Haman. No one is as creative, funny, or engaging with the audience. The lines to take a picture with him are longer than any other, and it is easy to see why. While I abhor lines, anyone in one will be thoroughly entertained by his antics as they wait. This year they included female model Ariana Jaime, an absolute knockout, who provided a great photographic contrast to Andy.

Just hint at a photo and get ready for any number of combinations of faces, poses, and imaginative uses of his props. This guy should be on the lecture tour for other wishfuls. I kid you not.


Here is a video of Andy Haman and Ariana Jaime at the Arnold Classic. The video was made by Alexandre Albuquerque.

The beautiful blonde above is Juliane Andrade, an IFBB Pro who won the Miss Olympia of South American in the bikini competition. She is sponsored by Integral Medica, one of the largest supplements firms in the continent.

There was no shortage of peole and athletes who raise the bar of fitness and beauty...

... but it is sometimes easy to forget they are professionals like any model or athlete, with families to feed and struggling in an ultra-competitive field to make a place of their own.

With so many things going on left and right, this year I missed the pole dancing event much to my chagrin as I had been suitably impressed by it the previous year ('wow' would be a more appropriate description). While waiting for the chess competitions to start, I noticed some of the girls on the stage and went to see what was up. It was a free 'demo' class for girls interested.

These medals were given out to all participants in the simul as well as the competitions

The doubles event is easily the one with the largest draw, particularly as it is the least usual. Teams of two play on the same side of a board alternating who plays, with no talk or hints allowed about moves. There are many father-and-son teams such as FM Wagner Guimarães with his son Lucas above, as well as friends relishing the pleasure of playing together.

Going over the game, Marcelo Santos analyzes the position with some feedback by Lucas

Elcio Mourão is the current president of the Rio de Janeiro Federation as well as a highly respected International Arbiter, who presides over events throughout Brazil such as the recent Brazilian Championship.

He was assisted by FIDE arbiter (soon to be International) Marcelo Einhorn

The winner of the blitz competition was GM Darcy Lima, who came to see Arnold and grant his touch of prestige to the events. Although it was held in the open area, where dozens of other sports were also competing, with noise to rival a nightclub, this was a non-issue really. The chess competitions are real, with genuine prizes, but the real purpose at a festival such as the Arnold
Classic is to expose chess to a wider audience, and a wider audience to chess...

... and in this perspective it was a huge success, attracting people from widely different specializations to come and enjoy.

Regardless, it was a great deal of fun, and when players were not playing, they were strolling
around and enjoying the other events.

Your author and photographer. The last press releases stated that Arnold "will be back"
in 2017, and all I can say is "so will I". If you are in range of any Arnold Classic in your area
I highly recommend taking the time to visit it.

High resolution versions of the photos can be found at my Flickr page.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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