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Arnold Sports Festival Co-Founder Jim Lorimer Has Passed Away

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On November 24th, Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the family of Jim Lorimer has announced that the longtime promoter and co-founder of the Arnold Classic had died at the age of 96.

Lorimer’s longtime friend and business partner Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed the news himself in an article on Medium.

“Jim Lorimer will live forever through the millions of people he inspired to join our fitness crusade and tune into this little niche sport called bodybuilding.”

The story of how Lorimer and Schwarzenegger joined forces had become a legend in itself. Lorimer, a longtime bodybuilding and sports promoter in Ohio, hosted the 1970 Mr. World competition, which Schwarzenegger won. That victory would generate momentum for him to win the Mr. Olympia title for the first time that same year. The two men formed a handshake agreement that when Schwarzenegger retired from competition, they would work together to promote contests.

They did just that starting in 1976, and they even hosted the 1981 Mr. Olympia competition in Ohio. Fast forward eight years, and they launched the first ever Arnold Classic contest, which would remain in Columbus for the next 35 years. Rich Gaspari won that contest. In the 1990’s, Lorimer and Schwarzenegger worked together on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition, with Schwarzenegger being the chair of that group. They then added more sports and events to the Arnold Classic weekend, expanding it into the Arnold Sports Festival we know today.

Various forms of the ASF expanded into Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, and they all had the same mission – promote sports, fitness, and bodybuilding to the masses in those parts of the world.

His work and success didn’t stop in the world of fitness. Lorimer served on the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a special agent in the 1950’s. He also was a trailblazer in Ohio by organizing the first track team to feature women in competitive roles. That evolved into Lorimer serving as Secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Women’s Athletics.

Known throughout the Columbus area as “The Mayor,” he received the city’s Greater Columbus Hospitality Award in 1998, and he was an inductee into the inaugural class of the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Everyone at Muscle Insider extends their condolences to Lorimer’s three children and all the friends and fans that are feeling the loss of a bodybuilding and fitness giant.

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