Arnold Schwarzenegger Announces $500,000 First Prize for the 2025 Arnold Classic

In a seismic shift that is poised to reshape the landscape of professional bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legendary figure synonymous with the sport, recently made an announcement that sent shockwaves through the bodybuilding community.

arnold classic 2024
via hadi choopan instagram

Following Hadi Choopan’s triumphant win at the 2024 Arnold Classic, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed plans to elevate the stakes even higher, declaring a historic increase in the 2025 Arnold Classic first prize to an astounding $500,000.

This announcement not only underscores the event’s growing prestige but also sets the stage for a potential showdown with Mr. Olympia, the pinnacle of bodybuilding competitions.

The Arnold Classic: A Historical Overview

hadi choopan arnold
via hadi choopan instagram

Established in 1989, the Arnold Classic has emerged as the second most prestigious professional bodybuilding competition, trailing only the iconic Mr. Olympia

The event has been a crucible for champions and a platform for bodybuilders to etch their names in the annals of the sport’s rich history. 

With its reputation for fierce competition and a legacy of hosting monumental moments, the Arnold Classic has become an integral part of the bodybuilding calendar.

Hadi Choopan’s Resurgence

hadi choopan arnold classic 2024
via hadi choopan instagram

The backdrop to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s groundbreaking announcement was Hadi Choopan’s remarkable comeback at the 2024 Arnold Classic.

Following his setback at the 2023 Olympia, Hadi Choopan clinched the Arnold Classic title, pocketing the $300,000 first prize. 

This victory not only solidified Hadi Choopan’s status as a top contender but also set the stage for what would become a pivotal moment in the competition’s trajectory.

The Unveiling of a Half-Million Dollar Triumph

hadi choopan arnold schwarzenegger
via hadi choopan instagram

As the audience reveled in Hadi Choopan’s win, Arnold Schwarzenegger took to the microphone, not merely to congratulate the victor but to make history himself. 

Acknowledging Mr. Olympia’s decision to increase its first prize, Arnold Schwarzenegger declared, “I don’t feel obliged anymore for the rules, so we are going to go up to $500,000 for next year for the Arnold Classic.” 

This pronouncement marked an unprecedented milestone, making the 2025 Arnold Classic a game-changer in the realm of bodybuilding competitions.

The 2024 Arnold Classic Highlights

wesley vissers arnold classic 2024
via wesley vissers instagram

Before delving into the implications of the prize hike, it’s essential to recognize the memorable moments that transpired at the 2024 Arnold Classic.

The Classic Physique division witnessed a stunning upset as Dutch bodybuilder Wesley Vissers dethroned the previous year’s winner, Ramon Rocha Queiroz.

Lauralie Chapados, Ariel Khadr, and Francielle Mattos secured victories in the Bikini, Fitness, and Wellness divisions, respectively.

Additionally, the Wheelchair division saw a rising star, Rajesh John, solidify his standing as a serious contender.

2024 Arnold Classic Pro Wheelchair
via rajesh john instagram

The Implications of a Half-Million-Dollar Prize

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s announcement has sparked widespread speculation about its repercussions, not only for the Arnold Classic but also for the Mr. Olympia.

The allure of a $500,000 first prize could potentially lure a higher number of elite bodybuilders to participate in the Arnold Classic, presenting a formidable challenge to the Olympia’s undisputed status.

The bodybuilding community is now abuzz with anticipation, wondering if Olympia will respond by surpassing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prize money in 2025.

samson dauda arnold classic 2024
via samson dauda instagram

The Positive Development for Bodybuilders

Regardless of the competitive dynamics between the Arnold Classic and the Olympia, the resounding winner in this scenario is the bodybuilders themselves.

A half-million-dollar prize signifies a paradigm shift in the recognition and reward for the athletes’ dedication, sacrifice, and artistry.

The increased financial incentive promises to elevate the level of competition and draw even more attention to the sport.


As the bodybuilding world grapples with the implications of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s historic announcement, the 2025 Arnold Classic has already etched its name in the annals of the sport.

With a half-million-dollar first prize, the event is poised to redefine standards and set a new benchmark for excellence in professional bodybuilding.

As the countdown to the 2025 Arnold Classic begins, the anticipation and excitement within the bodybuilding community reach unprecedented heights, marking a new era in the evolution of this storied competition.

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