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EXCLUSIVE: National Fitness Hall of Fame Considers Expelling Arnold Schwarzenegger

  • arnold with bodybuilder 640

    (AP)

  • Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrate gubernatorial victory AP

    In this file photo taken Oct. 7, 2003, shows Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver ,as they celebrate his victory in the California gubernatorial recall election in Los Angeles. (AP)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a rough couple of weeks, to say the least.

The former governor of California confirmed that he fathered a child with his family’s housekeeper more than a decade ago, and his estranged wife Maria Shriver has reportedly hired a private investigator to look into whether there are more secret “love children.”

Consequently, Schwarzenegger’s return to Hollywood has suddenly stalled, with some experts questioning whether his reputation will ever be revived, and several members of the California political establishment also expressing their disgust.

But wait - there's more!

Now FOX411.com has learned one of the bodybuilding community's ruling bodies was considering punishing the staggered star.

The National Fitness Hall of Fame surveyed members this week to find out whether Schwarzenegger, who was inducted in 2005 for his lifelong contribution to the bodybuilding arena, and just two months ago received the distinguished "Fitness Spokesperson of the Century" Award, should be stripped of those titles.

“We here at The National Fitness Hall of Fame have received an overwhelming amount of feedback, from the public, expressing many emotions from disapproval and disgust to abhorrence and hatred. Cries to remove Arnold from The National Fitness Hall of Fame are many and far reaching,” the Hall of Fame (HOF) wrote in an email to all members on Monday, before asking them to email their thoughts on possible expulsion to HOF’s founder and executive director, John Figarelli.

Figarelli then ruled on Tuesday, calling the matter was resolved after a majority of respondents felt that “Mr. Schwarzenegger's personal life should be just that, PERSONAL.” 

“He’s going to stay in, he is deserving,” Figarelli told Pop Tarts. 

Figarelli also said that while they currently do not have anything in the by-laws calling for the removal of a Hall of Fame inductee based on personal conduct, the induction criteria will be reviewed during 2011 Annual Board Meeting in June. 

HOF hiccup aside, many fitness fans are more than willing to stand by the disgraced “Terminator” star.

“The fitness/bodybuilding world absolutely still has his back. What happened to Arnold and Maria is their business and no one should pass judgment. Arnold was and will always be a hero to the entire bodybuilding and fitness community for his accomplishments in Hollywood and politics,” Joe Pietaro, founding editor of MuscleSport Magazine told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “This is a personal family matter and should not impact his business ventures in any way. If anything, the bodybuilding community will embrace Arnold more if others shun him.”

Robert Kennedy, who publishes such titles as Muscle Mag, Oxygen, and Maximum Fitness, and counts himself a close friend of Schwarzenegger for over 44 years, concurred.

"Arnold was known and admired for his bodybuilding over a considerable time span, so basically this scandal will only impact very, very minimally,” Kennedy said. “We run every issue of Muscle Magazine International with an Arnold column. We’ve been doing that two-page piece in every issue and we will keep that going. He’s still very popular in the bodybuilding world.”

The Arnold Fitness Weekend, formerly named the Arnold Classic, is held annually in Columbus, Ohio and is considered the most lucrative bodybuilding competition and the largest multi-sport event in the nation. Kennedy doesn't expect sponsorships or attendance will be impacted by Schwarzenegger’s personal problems.

“People go for the various sports activities, it’s not just body building. It’s not just Arnold,” Kennedy said. “He has over 900 booths there and he has more sports than the summer Olympics and more athletes there than the Summer Olympics. It’s more than just Arnold that people go for – they actually go for the event itself.”

Others are anticipating that this latest onslaught of media attention may even draw more interest and eyeballs to the meet.

“I think all of this will bring more excitement and drama to the event. People love drama,” said bodybuilding expert and Natural Muscle Magazine contributor, Skip LaCour. “I look forward to seeing how he handles the challenge.  I’m sure he’ll handle it in typical Arnold-fashion: calm, cool and collected – with that huge smile on his face…People forgive and forget over time. And everyone loves a great comeback story too. Arnold won’t be gone for long.” 

A rep for the Arnold Fitness Weekend did not respond to our request for comment.

But love him or loathe him, Pietaro said there is no denying Schwarzenegger is, and always will be, a legend.

“Before Arnold came to the U.S. and became a bodybuilding champion, the sport had a small cult following. He brought it to the mainstream,” Pietaro said. “With him at the helm, the sport took off in the mid-to-late 1970’s and that resulted in the fitness craze the following decade, none of that would have been possible without Arnold.” 

With Capitol Hill and Hollywood giving him the cold shoulder, perhaps Schwarzenegger should look back to where it all began and build his comeback upon his bodybuilding-related business endeavors.

 

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