Schwarzenegger kicked in South Africa

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Arnold Classic Africa, where he was attacked.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Arnold Classic Africa, where he was attacked.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JOHANNESBURG • Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared completely unaffected after a man kicked him in the back during a public appearance in South Africa last Saturday.

The unidentified assailant surprised a gym full of people after he ran towards the actor and landed a flying, two-footed drop kick to his back at the sports event in Johannesburg.

Schwarzenegger, 71, was then recording a Snapchat video with fans as part of his annual Arnold Classic Africa event, which brings together 24,000 athletes for three days of competition.

A video of the incident shows the former California governor jolting forward but staying on his feet as the man hit him and fell to the ground, where he was quickly subdued by a security guard.

"I only realised I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you," Schwarzenegger, a former bodybuilder, tweeted shortly after the attack.

"I'm just glad the idiot didn't interrupt my Snapchat."

In another tweet after the attack, the star of The Terminator movies (1984 to 2015) urged his followers to ignore his assailant and instead "put this spotlight" on the athletes "inspiring all of us to get off the couch".

In a statement, event organiser Wayne Price said he "believes this incident was carefully planned by the offender, as he is known to the police for orchestrating similar events in the past".

Despite this history, Mr Price says: "None of us could have foreseen that something like this could have taken place."

The statement goes on to say that Schwarzenegger has no intention of pressing charges against the drop-kicker.

"He views this as an unfortunate event by a mischievous fan," he says.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2019, with the headline 'Schwarzenegger kicked in South Africa'. Print Edition | Subscribe