World of Sport

Man’s supersized genetic disorder helps him become arm-wrestling champion

World of Sport


Matthias Schlitte by Gentside

"Everyone has a challenge in life. I'm not a religious guy or anything but this was a gift from a higher power and this was my calling in life."

Those were the words of Matthias Schlitte, who has capitalised on a very rare genetic bone disorder to become a professional arm-wrestling champion as a result.

The 27-year-old, whose right arm is significantly bigger than his left due to the bone disorder, has managed to turn a situation targeted by bullies to his great advantage.

Schlitte, who is from Haldensleben in Germany, told Australia's Yahoo7 Sport: "I first discovered I could use my gift when I was three years of age.

"We had a family oven at home in Germany and I picked up a rather large bucket of coal for the oven and carried it around for my mother, which was probably very uncommon for a three-year-old."

Nicknamed "Hellboy", Schlitte now has a right forearm that measures 46cm (18in) around.

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(Yahoo7 Sport)

He began competing in arm-wrestling competitions in 2004 after his mother spotted a flyer at a gas station, and her son swiftly responded to the advert for future male stars.

"I was 16 and I went into this small bar in Haldensleben and I only weighed 65kg (143 lbs)," he said.

"All these bigger men were laughing at me, but when I beat them all the men changed from laughing to respect and the rest is history."

"Hellboy" has picked up eight German national championships, 14 international championships and even a high-profile win over a specially designed arm-wrestling robot.

Oh, and he has also become the youngest ever champion of an international tournament inspired by the arm-wrestling movie 'Over the Top', created, of course, by Sylvester Stallone.

Schlitte is extremely positive about his life and says, "I have spent 10 years travelling around the world doing what I love."

If anyone is the perfect example of getting the best out of the cards with which we are dealt it is Matthias. He is living his own dream.

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(Yahoo7 Sport)

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