1) Anthony Alayon: How is the Arnold different from the Olympia?

Ben Tatar: The Arnold has more of everything. It has more athletic events, top athletes, supplement booths, celebrities and fans. There is nothing else like it. The Arnold has more competitors than the Olympics. You can’t get an experience like the Arnold anywhere else.

2) Anthony Alayon: How many people attend the Arnold?

Ben Tatar: Over 175,000 people attend the Arnold Sports Festival as 40,000 attend the Olympia weekend.

3) Anthony Alayon: How was this year’s Arnold different from other Arnold’s?

Ben Tatar: There were more events. The Arnold added swimming and tennis. There are people from over 80 different countries who compete in the Arnold. For me, this year was different because I got to compete in the Arnold table tennis competition against the best in the world.

4) Anthony Alayon: How was the 2014 Arnold bigger than the Olympics?

Ben Tatar: The Arnold Sports Festival has over 50 events where as the 2014 Olympic games only had 15 events. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London had 40 events, where as the Arnold has over fifty events.

5) Anthony Alayon: That’s interesting: What celebrities did you see at the Arnold?

Ben Tatar: I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham (famous action movie stars.) Larry Fitzgerald (one of the best NFL receivers,) and Marcus Lattimore from the 49ers. Many other NFL stars were there, such as MVP running back Jamal Lewis and the great Lynn Swan from the 70s Steelers.

UFC champions, Jon Bones Jones, Chris Weidman and Cain Velesquez were all there. All the Mr. Olympia and Arnold champions, including Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, Ronnie Coleman, Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf and the rest of the pros were there.

Some of my old heroes like Mark, “The Hammer” Coleman and Don Frye were in attendance. The bench press champions, Tiny Meeker and other world record holders in powerlifting, along with the World’s strongest man competitors were competing or working.

I also saw Buster Douglas who beat Mike Tyson. Other UFC fighters included Ryan Bader, Frankie Edgar “The Dragon,” Lyoto Machida, Bobby Lashley and many WWE wrestlers were there. I got to see all of them.

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6) Anthony Alayon: How was the Arnold night life?

Ben Tatar: The Arnold night life was really good. My good friend, Alexis Young won the Rockstar Bikini Contest on Thursday Night. On Friday Night, I went to the “Make It Fit” event which was a great fundraiser for Autism. Phil Heath and Jay Cutler were there.

The 1000+ pound squatter, Ed Russ, his pro strongman brother Mathew and many great spirited people made it a fun event. Saturday Night, I went to the Mega Party event. Every single celebrity was at the Mega Party and there weren’t a lot of fans there since it was for workers/celebrities. It was great getting to party with everyone.

7) Anthony Alayon: Who gets the freak award?

Ben Tatar: For size, it’s Ed Russ. Anytime anyone sees him, he is instantly remembered forever.(laughs).

8) Anthony Alayon: What was the biggest surprise at this year’s Arnold?

Ben Tatar: The biggest surprise was running into Oxygen Magazine Cover Model, Natalie Hunt at the MegaParty. I haven’t seen her in over five years and I presumed she was done with the fitness industry.

Then for entertainment, she put me in the sharpshooter (a WWE wrestling submission move by Bret Hart,) like she did at the 2008 Arnold which can be read here: http://www.criticalbench.com/2008-Arnold-Expo-Report.htm Wow- times goes by fast!

9) Anthony Alayon: Tell us about the record you set at the Arnold!

Ben Tatar: There was a contest to see who could do the most pull-ups with a 50lbs perky jerky vest. Of the hundreds and thousands of people who tried, I set the record as I did 40. I set the pullup record at the Olympia in Vegas before, but this one was better since I did 40 pullups with a 50lbs perky jerky vest.

10) Anthony Alayon: Who inspired you the most at the Arnold? What was the best advice you got?

Ben Tatar: I’m not sure because I’m not looking for advice like I use to. It’s mostly about insightful conversations, love and entertainment. However, I want to thank the GLC2000 booth for being really good to me. I also am inspired by Mark Coleman because he is such a great human being.

He’s not just loved by people who don’t know him, he is also really valued by people who have known him forever.

11) Anthony Alayon: What are some of the exciting attractions in the expo and around the convention?

Ben Tatar: When you leave the expo, you walk around halls and in each hall is a huge room with a different exciting competitions. Then when you go in the Expo, the booths feature different celebrities or activities that attendees can try. The MHP booth is always fun and so is the animal cage since the best lifters in the world are always doing feats of strength.

Then you have the main stage where the “World’s Strongest Man competition,” or another big competition is going on. There is really so much going on everywhere and it’s amazing how many people you run into who you haven’t seen in years. For example, I ran into Steve “KONO” Konopka unexpectedly.

I’m running into fans who I don’t know and people I have interviewed who I haven’t met. There are lots of exciting stuff going on all the time.

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12) Anthony Alayon: Sounds like a total blast. In closing is there anything else you would like to say?

Ben Tatar: Special thanks to Critical Bench for the press pass. Special thanks to the GLC2000 booth for their VIP treatment. Anthony, thanks for the interview. I had a great time at the Arnold and it was a spectacular event. I really went hard, sacrificing meals and sleep! It was a true rush from start to finish!


By Anthony Alayon