11072019 body builder

One of the bodybuilder contestants strikes a pose at the 2018 Legion Sports Fest.

More than 7,600 people came out last year to see Mr. and Ms. Olympias, weightlifting and crossfit competitions and more at the first Legion Sports Fest.

The fitness festival will be back this weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center with even more competitions and celebrity appearances. Three "combat" sports have been added to the agenda, according to Ted Johanson, director of Strategic Partnerships for Center Podium Productions and a partner in Legion Sports Fest.

"We are returning to Long Beach because it's the permanent home for Legion Sports Fest as it continues to grow," Johanson said. "We love the city, the convention center, and the growing fitness community here!"

Long Beach's Legion Sports Fest is one of eight events put on each year by Center Podium Productions. They revolve around the IFBB Professional League Bodybuilding Competition, FALLOUT2 by Battleground Events and the Olympia bodybuilding titles. Both the IFBB and Olympia were founded by fitness legend Joe Weider.

There are contests, seminars and vendors for every level of fitness fan, Johanson said. Sanctioned contests include FALLOUT2 (crossfit), seven divisions of pro bodybuilding, kickboxing, arm wrestling, America's strongest man and woman, powerlifting, pole fitness, weightlifting in multiple categories, feats of strength, and mixed martial arts for adults and children.

There are red carpet events both Saturday and Sunday that require separate tickets, starting at $55. The pro league bodybuilding finals take place Sunday evening.

"This isn't just another Fitness Expo," Johanson said. "It's a new and exciting fitness experience. We worked tirelessly to create a unique mix of sports, seminars, exhibitors, celebrities and new ways for everyone involved to have a blast."

The Long Beach event has a super hero theme, designed to help everyone "ignite their fitness super powers." Much of the convention center floor is given over to vendors offering a wide range of fitness products.

“A real-life superhero is someone who is in full pursuit of their own maximum potential," Chris Minnes, founder/owner of Legion Sports Fest and Center Podium productions, said. "They also help lift others by sharing knowledge, providing motivation, and showing people how to ignite their own superpowers.  This is what Legion Sports Fest is all about.”

Minnes said pro athletes from 20 countries have signed up to compete. Johanson added that about 12,000 competitors are expected this weekend.

Expo doors open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10, and continue to 5 p.m., with the red carpet events following. Tichets range from$25 to $150. For more information and to buy tickets, go to www.LegionSortsFest.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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