Jim Lorimer, Ex-FBI Agent And Arnold Classic Co-Founder, Dies

Jim Lorimer, via city of Columbus

By Steve Neavling

Jim Lorimer, a former FBI agent who co-founded the Arnold Class, died Thursday, The Columbus Dispatch reports

He was 96. 

“I am devastated that I won’t sit with him again and hear his wisdom, or critique bodybuilders together, or just laugh and laugh,” said longtime friend and partner Arnold Schwarzenegger in an Instagram post. “Jim lives on in every member of his family, and he lives on in me. He’s one reason I would never call myself self-made.”

Lorimer served several years in the FBI in the mid 1950s before working with the Nationwide insurance company, where he eventually became vice president of government relations. 

Lorimer later founded the Ohio Track Club Girls Team after he was unimpressed with the U.S. women’s gymnastic team at an international gymnastics competition in 1959. 

“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 recalled in a 2020 interview.

In 1967, Lorimer chaired the World Weightlifting Championship in Columbus, a role that led to him becoming a lifelong partner with Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

He and Schwarzenegger co-founded the Arnold Classic, which became the Arnold Sports festival in 1989. 

“When I met him 52 years ago at the Mr. World bodybuilding championship he organized so fantastically in Columbus, Ohio, I immediately knew Jim would be a big part of my life,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “I told him when I retired from competing, we would be partners and promote bodybuilding together. And starting in 1976, we did just that with a handshake agreement for more than 50 years, expanding from a small bodybuilding show to a sports festival with 200,000 visitors and more athletes than the Olympics.”

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