With some teams telling players to report for workouts on May 15, the future of the current NHL season is still anything but certain. For now, it seems hockey commissioner Gary Bettman is eyeing a a plan to finish out regular season play by centralizing games at four locations. According to a report from the New York Post, Columbus and the facilities at Nationwide Arena are among the frontrunners being considered to host one of these proposed “quadrants,” should the NHL resume play this summer.
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Hockey blog thehockeywriters.com offers a deep-dive into the many factors that have put Columbus on the short list of candidates for this modified NHL season, including the abundance of hotels in the area of Nationwide Arena, the more-than-adequate facilities of the arena itself, and the encouragingly low number of Covid cases in Franklin County.
While it’s still way, way too early to say whether or not this plan will move forward, it’s encouraging nonetheless to see Columbus recognized as a frontrunner for the return of national televised sports. Just don’t count on sitting in the stands with 80k of your fellow fans anytime soon.
It may be a little early to break out the polo shirt and comfy walking shoes, but the good news is that one the city's most visible sporting events will be held this year after all. The big question remains: will Gov. DeWine allow fans to attend?
Thursday, the PGA Tour announced The Memorial Tournament will play the week of July 13-19 at Muirfield Village Golf Club and feature an increased field from 120 to 144 players. The invitational’s one-time expanded field size allowance will provide additional playing opportunities for touring professionals in light of the TOUR’s reduced schedule.
“This is an unprecedented time in our world, as well as the world of sports,” said Founder and Host Jack Nicklaus. “I can’t emphasize enough the message related to doing your part by social distancing and helping our nation and world by slowing this pandemic. But while we all need to come together and be strong, we also need to be understanding and flexible."
Recognizing Governor DeWine’s Ohio Stay at Home order and public gatherings ban guidelines currently in place, the Memorial will proceed with an understanding that its operation may require alterations. The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide will continue to offer patron badges, enhanced with a special offer that includes honoring original presale badge rates – starting at $185 for a weekly patron badge – and a complimentary $20 merchandise card (limit one per order, per household) redeemable at all on-site golf shops during Tournament week.
The Tournament plans to monitor the State of Ohio COVID-19 regulations and will employ changes relative to patron access if needed. If it is determined that the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide will be staged without patrons, a full refund policy will be implemented.
“This has been a couple months we would soon like to forget, but hopefully we can make this a summer to remember," added Nicklaus.
With the announcement of the new downtown stadium in the post-"Save the Crew" era, the future of Columbus Crew SC seemed secure.
Now, a report from The Dispatch is once against casting doubt on the club's continued existence—at least in its current form. According to "sources close to the Crew’s front office," management is giving serious thought to changing the team name, colors, and logo by the time the new stadium opens in the summer of 2021.
For commentary on the situation, including a statement from a team spokesperson, read the full rundown at The Dispatch.
Each January, we feature the movers and shakers of the city in in-depth, in-person interviews that dig into their backgrounds, their plans, and what ties them to the capital city. While our interview issue subjects are all Columbus-based, their stories are universal. So settle in, cozy up, and give yourself some you-time. You’ll want to read every word.
As a trailblazer in sports promotion, Jim Lorimer has opened doors for countless athletes.
The unassuming exterior of the Arnold Classic Worldwide headquarters does nothing to betray the treasure trove of riches within. Inside the nondescript beige building in a Worthington office park are countless trophies and awards, depictions of Arnold Schwarzenegger from his bodybuilding heydey rendered in both oil and bronze, and more than one sword from the 1980s big- screen adventure Conan the Barbarian.
More impressive than any of these material
things is the history this place represents, the
far-reaching impact of which could never be
contained by four walls. It is where the keeper
of that history can sometimes be found—
the one who lived and shaped it, along with
countless lives around the world and over
At 93 years of age, Arnold Sports Festival Co-Founder Jim Lorimer still works seven days a week. To say that he’s accomplished a lot in his time is a massive understatement.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of
opportunities,” the effussive and humble
Lorimer says of his many achievements. He’s
the kind of person who you can speak with for
an hour and still only scratch the surface of
his story. Details that could serve as the focus
for an entire profile—his having served as the
mayor and vice mayor of Worthington for 52
years, for example—come and go almost as
Among his varied accomplishments, a few
stand out. A successful career in high school
athletics as a champion of track and field and
captain of the football team. A stint in the US
Navy, then on to law school, followed by a role
with the FBI. More than any of these things,
one feat stands above the rest in Lorimer’s
“I’ve had an opportunity to do a number of
things, and have enjoyed them all. But the most
rewarding of all is what happened with the
Arnold Sports Festival,” he said.
Featuring 22,000 athletes from 80 nations
representing more than 80 sports, the Arnold
Sports Classic is Columbus’ signature event—
in athletics or otherwise—as well as the largest
multi-sport event in the world. (For a sense
of scale, around 14,000 athletes took part in
the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2018 Winter
While competitions at “The Arnold”
showcase the best of sportsmanship and
healthy competition, the event as we know
it would never have happened if not for a
war—the Cold War, to be exact. That, and an
exceptional group of teenage girls.
“During my years in the FBI in the 1950s,
I was involved in the intelligence field. In that
period, the big challenge was the Soviet Union,
and I was interviewing communists all the
time,” Lorimer recalls. “The communists were
reasonably intelligent people, but they would
insist with me that the communist system was
superior, and that we were going to be living
under that system in the future. Of course, I did
not agree with them on that.”
Throughout this era with its highly-
contentious geopolitical climate, sporting
contests were just one of the many venues in
which the USSR would attempt to showcase
the supposed superiority of its way of life. In
the 1950s, the communists began to recruit a
strong body of athletic talent who were trained
at a professional level in their various sports
for the sole purpose of dominating the West in
In 1959, American athletes faced off against the elite talent of the Soviet Union at an event in Philadelphia. By then, Lorimer was out of the FBI and had moved on to an executive position at the Nationwide Insurance Company in Columbus. A lifelong sports fan and a curious observer of communist tactics, Lorimer travelled to Philly to watch the proceedings in person.
“The U.S. men, because of their great interscholastic program, managed to beat the Soviet track and field
athletes, even though they had been training essentially as professionals
for almost a decade,” Lorimer remembers of the event.
The women’s competition was another story.
“In the high jump, for instance, the woman representing the United
States was doing what we call the ‘scissors’ high jump. That’s where you
just sort of step over the bar, like in grade school,” Lorimer explains.
“The Soviet girl was doing what was in the Western rule, and she jumped
almost a full foot higher than the U.S. girl.”
At the conclusion of the weekend’s events, scores of the women’s
and men’s teams were combined. The Soviet’s totals narrowly edged out
those of the US team. The next day, Philadelphia inquirer published a
headline that went out across the globe: “Soviet Team Beats U.S.”
Lorimer knew that the U.S.S.R. would use this win to trumpet the
superiority of communism, when in reality, it was only a result of female
athletes in the US lacking the training needed to compete.
“I said, ‘I could find a girl right here in Worthington and show her
immediately how to jump higher than that girl on the U.S. team,’” Lorimer
recalls. And he did just that.
Lorimer contacted a friend who happened to be the Worthington
track coach, and asked him to identify the best 14 or 15-year-old female
track athlete. The coach pointed him to a student named Melissa Long, a
girl who raced against (and beat) male track competitors in her age group.
When Lorimer contacted Long about training for track and field
events at the national level, the young woman jumped at the opportunity.
From there, he mined the top female talent from a Junior Olympic
competition put on by the Columbus recreation department at The Ohio
State University, and the Ohio Track Club was born.
“As I contacted them and their families, the reaction was the same as
it had been when I contacted Melissa,” recalls Lorimer. “Here was a girl
who didn’t have a chance to express herself athletically at all, and they
were in heaven that somebody wanted them to come and compete.”
And compete they did, winning numerous meets on the 1960s indoor
track circuit across the east coast. “In New York, the main indoor meet
is the Millrose Games. These girls were winning—they won the Millrose
Games, they won everywhere they went,” Lorimer said.
Lorimer’s success with the fledgling squad eventually led to his
appointment as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Women’s
Athletics, which he would go on to chair. For his proven sports promotion
acumen, he was later tapped to organize the National Weightlifting
Competition at Veterans Memorial in 1967, and then the “Mr. World”
Competition in 1970, which added the draw of a bodybuilding competition
to a traditional weightlifting meet.
That first Mr. World event brought a young Austrian phenom to
Columbus, and the rest is history. Impressed with Lorimer’s skills as
an event runner and promoter, Schwarzenegger vowed to return to
Columbus upon his retirement from competition and partner with him
for an event that would raise the profile of bodybuilding to a global
audience. The two came together over a handshake deal that would
create the foundation for the Arnold Sports Festival as we know it today.
Through his decades of achievement in a landmark event that has helped shape the lives of countless athletes from across the globe, Lorimer has never forgotten where it all started. Every five years, he reunites with the group of special women who made up the first Ohio Track Club team, whose achievements paved the way for generations of female athletes to follow and who served as the forebears of Title IX legislation that guarantees equal treatment for female athletes to this day.
“They were 15 and now they’re all age 75. Every one of those girls
graduated from college, and they have six master’s degrees, three
PhDs and one Harvard Law School graduate,” Lorimer says with pride.
“They all tell me that the most significant opportunity they had was the
opportunity to express themselves competitively. That sports experience
affected their lives, and that’s what still drives us, that we’re affecting so
many lives. If you have 22,000 athletes coming in, that means a lot to our
community and it’s a lot of kids learning the important lessons you get
from something like sports.”
Lorimer sums up one of those important lessons: “The primary lesson
of sports that is also true in life: you get back pretty much in proportion
to what you put in.” Coming from someone who has achieved what Jim
Lorimer has in his lifetime, it’s advice worth taking.
To learn more about the history of the Arnold Sports Festival and for
details on its upcoming events in 2020, visit arnoldsportsfestival.com.