Everything You Missed At The 2017 Arnold Classic

Everything You Missed At The 2017 Arnold Classic

There are new kings and queens ready to defend their thrones.
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On March 3-5, fitness enthusiasts from around the world traveled far and wide to enjoy and experience the biggest fitness expo of the year - the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. One of the most exciting events each year is the Arnold Classic, where the best of the best IFBB professional bodybuilders come together to battle for the title. Here's a recap of our new reigning 2017 champions:


Cedric McMillan - Bodybuilding

Cedric McMillan (USA) put on 20 pounds to help him achieve his first Arnold Classic win. The judges' decision was unanimous and the check for $130,000 left in his hand. McMillan gave a history-making acceptance speech that will be remembered for years and years to come. In an interview with Tony Doherty after his big win, McMillan shared, "For me, this is, you know, where the hard work begins. Now that I know I can do it, I gotta try to duplicate it."

Ahmad Ashkanani - 212 & Under

Ahmad Ashkanani (Kuwait) is about to make a big splash in the IFBB professional bodybuilding league. After one year of competing as a pro, he's already won the Arnold. In 2016, he was the runner-up at the Olympia. There are only more wins and success in his future.

Harold Kelley - Wheelchair

Being restrained to a wheelchair hasn't stopped Harold Kelley (USA) once, and it never will. In a unanimous judge's decision, he won his second consecutive Arnold Classic title against competitors from USA, Sweden, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Kelley said to JM Manion in an interview, "It just hasn't sunken in yet. It feels awesome, man...phenomenal."

Ryan Terry - Men's Physique

Ryan Terry, an athlete from the UK, took his first win at the Arnold Classic this year after a 2nd place finish at the Olympia in 2016. Not only did he take out last year's champion, but also 34 other professional athletes in his division from around the world. He came in 5 pounds heavier since his last stage appearance, but kept the same look and conditioning. "It's the best I feel I've ever looked," Terry confided in Tony Doherty, "but there's still room for improvement."

Daniely Castilho - Women's Physique

Daniely Castilho, from Brazil, has swept up a career-changing win at her second professional show ever. Being brand new to the IFBB league, her accomplishment is monumental. Castilho took the title by one point but managed to rise above 30 other women. In her interview, she tells, "It's a dream come true. I didn't expect this!"

Oksana Grishina - Fitness

Oksana Grishina (Russia) is one of the most decorated Fitness professionals of all time. She's been unbeatable since 2014. Athletes from Canada, Uraguay, Germany, and USA fought to steal her throne, but yet again, Grishina proves she's the queen. In her interview post-win, she broke the news that 2017 is her last season competing. Instead, she's "going to help others live their dreams."

Candice Lewis - Figure

Candice Lewis (USA) rose above last year's champion and 13 other competitors to unanimously earn her first Arnold Classic win. After several 2nd and 3rd place finishes over the years, Lewis has finally taken the title. "It's a great feeling to work so hard and be the champion," she says to Tony Doherty. When asked if she has any advice for her fans, she says, "Just keep going. Don't let anyone stop you. When you fail at something, that's your cue to just get better."

Angelica Teixeira - Bikini

Angelica Teixeira (USA) not only surpassed the 2016 Arnold Champion, but also the 2016 Olympia Champion to secure her first Arnold Classic win. After a 2nd place finish at the 2016 Olympia to Courtney King, she stepped up her game and took the title by one point. She told Tony Doherty in her interview, "Believe in your dreams. I did everything. I followed my dreams, and look, I'm here today. You can do it, too."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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No, PrEP Shouldn't Be Used As A Replacement For Condoms

PrEP has signified a whole new level of options for safer sex. But should guys trust it enough to give up condoms?

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For over thirty years, medical experts have been searching for a cure to the AIDS virus. While a cure still hasn't seen the light of day, a new prescription drug has provided another option for safer sex.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily dosage of Truvada®, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine (two HIV medicines). It can only be prescribed by a health care professional and is intended for those at a higher risk for contracting HIV.

"Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%," according to the CDC website. "Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%."

With such a bold, new development in HIV prevention, it obviously arises debate from all sides. One of the most interesting questions to come up since the arrival of PrEP, is whether or not it can be used instead of a condom. The CDC website clears this up as well, stating that the risk lowers, even more, when PrEP is combined with condoms.

Upon hearing this, one might wonder why an individual would take such a risk by not using a condom. It is often said that sex without a condom feels better. I can understand this point, but I think an important question needs to be asked in response. That question being, is a one-time hookup with someone you care very little for worth the risk? If God forbid you contracted HIV from a casual encounter, would you honestly feel that it was worth it? Would you kick yourself for not going a bit further and making sure all your bases were covered?

The Zakar Twins mentioned another reason some men don't want to use condoms in addition to PrEP. In their podcast, MyTwin Chat, they claim it is such a hassle to put on a condom and often kills the mood. This is a point that I have a hard time taking seriously. In the eighties and nineties, condoms were the only option people had to protect themselves. Yet, they still managed to have plenty of hot sex using them.

A claim like this also reeks of laziness and unawareness. Real life is not like a porn scene. So many things can happen during sex that can kill the mood, even without a condom. Sometimes shit happens, literally and figuratively. One partner might need to switch positions because they're uncomfortable. Maybe one partner has to stop to use the bathroom. Sex can be clumsy sometimes and it's often imperfect. This is a reality we can't avoid.

Young gay men of today are quite disconnected from the struggles gay men went through in the years when AIDS was called "gay cancer." People in their twenties don't know what it feels like to watch all of their friends die one by one. They don't know what it feels like to be told on their deathbed that they deserve this because they chose a devilish lifestyle. They don't know what it feels like to fight for treatment and medical testing. All we know is a world where AIDS is no longer a death sentence and hookups are at our literal fingertips. So it's no surprise to me that many people take that progress for granted. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.

We should have all our bases covered before engaging in a sexual act. We should have the self-worth to turn someone down if they're not on board with that. We should remember how we got to where we are today and not take it for granted. Self-care, self-worth, and self-reflection. Those are three simple tools to enrich your life as well as your sex life.

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