Hello, my name is Matthias Schlitte and I am a dedicated professional armwrestler. On April 2nd, 1987, I was born in Haldensleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1990 my family and I moved to the small nearby village Bebertal, where I live until today.
In 2004, a little bar in Haldensleben was looking for the strongest armwrestler in the region – my first tournament and the beginning of my career. Without any knowledge or practise I competed in the amateur-class up to 90kg – being only 16 years old with a weight of 65kg. At first, older and more experienced fighters smiled at me for being so light-weighted, but after winning the contest the opinions changed immediately.
The first title
Through my victory in the contest I gained the interest of Bill Frank, Vice-World-Champion and assistant coach from the VfL Wolfsburg.
He invited me to come to a training session which I gladly accepted – and soon I found myself to be a member of the VfL Wolfsburg, being trained by national-coach Olaf Köppen and Vice-World-Champion and multiple awarded German Champion Dirk Schenker.
In April 2004 I competed at my first professional tournament – the 17. German Championships in Hanau, Hessen. I was able to win the youth-class up to 70kg without a defeat and so was awarded my first German Champion title and the chance to fight for the national team of Germany.
In summer of the same year I participated at the European Championships in Gnydia, Poland, and was proud to reach the 6th place in my first tournament as a member of the national team. Furthermore I reached place 5 in the highly competitive internationl “Over the top”-tournament in Wolfsburg in the Senior class. In 2004 I was also able to win two more newcomer-tournaments in Edemissen and Müden.
The first year in the Senior-Class
In 2005 I celebrated my 18th Birthday and therefore was eligible to fight in the Senior-Classes. At the German Championshops in Starnberg I only had to admit defeat to the former Vice-World-Champion Udo Weiß from Frankfurt/Oder, Germany. Because of my achievements in armwrestling so far, I became of interest for the media. So in Summer of 2005 I became a one-day co-host together with “Radio SAW”-moderator Volker Haidt at the morning-show “Muckefuck”. This was a great opportunity for me to present my career and my sport to many interested people all over the country.
In September of 2005 I again participated at the “Over the top”-tournament in Wolfsburg and reached the final round where I finally became 4th.
European- and World-Championships
In the year 2006 my focus was on the school – for I was to get my Abitur (diploma that enables me to attend a university) at the “Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Gymnasium” in Haldensleben in February. After that I found some more time for my sport. Unfortunately, I was only able to reach the 4th place at the German Championships in Melle, Germany. After that I intensively practised together with Dirk Schenker to prepare for the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary. There I even managed to qualify for the quarter-finals in the class up to 70kg. Most of all I gained a lot of experience. Then in September I celebrated my first international tournament title – I won the “Over The Top”-tournament and became the youngest fighter ever to win that competition.
Then in October I started my Bachelor-degree study of social sciences at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. Together with the radio SAW I took part in an event for UNICEF in the Florapark (a big Mall in my area), it was a kind of amateur-trainingscamp before the Worlds. We collected more than 600 € for this organisation (pictures in the “Media”-section). At the end of that year I competed in my first World Championships, but unfortunately wasn’t able to win a fight. But besides that I experienced the biggest Armwrestling event of all times at the Trafford-Center in Manchester, UK – with over 1000 athletes from over 40 different countries.
The victory against an old friend
I managed to get back on the podium at the German Championships 2007, where I, again, was defeated by Udo Weiß and therefore won bronze. In July I started at the Grand Prix in Rocheford, Belgium, where I finished 3rd against a hard competiton. In the “Mirror Room” in Wolfsburg I then once again had to face my old rival Udo Weiss in the final round. I already lost against him once so now I had to beat him twice in order to win the fight. At the first fight I had a quick start and was able to push him down quickly, accompanied by the cheers of the fans. I was very happy but then had to admit defeat in the second fight – and therefore got Silver at the “Over the Top 2007”. At the international “Arm-Blast” tournament I unfortunately had to quit because of an injury I got in the final fight against Stefan Hüppin – Second place.
Focusing on the German Championships and National League
In 2008 I already started my special training for the German Championshops in January, so on April 5th it was time to fight. In Hanau, where I already became Junior-German-Champion, I could celebrate my first German Championship Title in the Senior-class. In the final fight of the class up to 70kg I defeated Dimitar Yankov from Munich.
Besides that it was the first year of the fleshly founded Armwrestling National League. Competing for the “Team North”, I got 4 points against Udo Weiß and Georg Kölle from “Team East” on the first day. On the re-match two weeks later I again got the maximum points of 4 against Weiß and Kölle. Together with my team mate Hartmut Jentsch I traveled to the European Championshops to Sarpsbourg, Norway, in June, where I finished on a 12. place. In July I started again at the big Grand Prix de Rochefort in Belgium, where I fought straight to the finals without a defeat and there beat the french master Josef Lovei.
Through this win I was invited to compete in a supermatch against Ali Khan (Pakistan) in the english city Liverpool. Unfortunately I only won 1 of 6 fights against him because of a “tenosynovitis”, which I suffered from at that time. The whole fight was recorded by the european sport channel “Eurosport”. Because of this injury I was forced to take a longer break from training, but had my comeback in December, the last tournament-day of the national armwrestling league, where I again scored 4 points without a single defeat and won the first title with my team.
Second title in a row
In 2009 I competed in the northern English city of Blackburn during the traditional New Year’s Cup. For the TV magazine “International Armwrestling” I fought in three 6-round Super match against the British Chris Ham and Peter Burnel, and the 5th of the EURO 2009 Jose Aravelo from Spain. The fights have been aired on EuroSport.
I decided at the German Championships in May 2009 to compete in the higher class up to 75kg with a body weight of 68kg. I won all my fights in a tough group stage and met Udo Weiß in the finals. In a tough battle I was able to defeat the man from Frankfurt / Oder and win the title in the class up to 75kg.
Then I won Silver at the Grand Prix de Rochefort in the class up to 70kg and had an extremely close match against the legend Stefan Hüppin (Switzerland). Then in September I fought at the World Championships in Italy. After I had to pay at my first World Cup, it went now much better. In a huge field of over 30 athletes I won my first world championship duels and ended up at the end as number 13 of the world.
Inspired by this great placement I could defend the title with my team Nord in the National Leauge. To triumph I steered 5 wins with only one defeat, I beat even Kevin Berberich from Hanau at his ground. But 2009 still held another surprise!
Going to Asia!
In September 2009, I received an email from a British production company and a loose request for a TV show . Of course, I answered all the questions of the producer , but did not pay much attention to the request . What followed I can only look as stunning in retrospect. In the following days and weeks , I sent hundreds of e-mails to London and led daily phone calls to the UK . The information and the conditions were becoming clearer and more concrete.
In early November I sat at the plane to my greatest adventure so far : From Berlin via London I flew in a 18hrs flight to Tokio. In two weeks I explored the Japanese capital mostly on my own and was often “Lost in Translation” . I ate sushi from Giant squids, visited Asian temples , got lost in the redlight destrict (yes, I ‘ve really lost my way ;-) ) and trained with the best armwrestlers of the city. The highlight of this trip , I stepped in front of over 22 million Japanese TV viewers in the gaudy show ” Is it possible … ? ” – a mixture of “Wetten dass … ? ” and “What am I?” with the Japanese stars on.
This show was very successful in other Asian countries too. So successful that I spent again more hours than expected at the plane in March 2010. This time I went to South Korea. So I found myself faster than expected in a brightly colored TV studio in Asia again. In the TV show “Star King” I danced with the Korean boy band U-KISS, bewitched Korean girls in school uniforms, chatted with the stars and starlets of the country and could even make a sporty sensation. In the first duel of a German against a Korean Armwrestler it was a close match. I finally defeated the Korean champion of the 80kg category Hyunsun Kim with 2 to 0. Of course, I was also able to learn about all facets of Seoul. This time I was chauffeured in a limousine through the city and did not wandered by my own through the metropolis.
However, the win against the Korean champ Hyunsun Kim was harder than usual, because in December 2009 a small injury developed to the biggest crisis of my career.
The end ?
During the Christmas Tournament in December 2009 it happened . I competed in the open class of the tournament, which is just a fun race to end of the year , against a super heavyweight from Berlin. I noticed a crack and could not go on fighting and had to stop. At night, the pain was getting worse and the next morning I could not close the hand or even change the gears while driving . Despite physiotherapy and a long pause, the pain did not disappeared. So I went badly hit in the season. I had great pain in the carpal bones and could not close properly my hand. My dreaded TopRoll-style lacked the usual punch. However, I started at the German Championship and in the International Tournament Versus Reus in Barcelona / Spain. Course of theese problems I could not defend for the third time my title, but got at least silver.
I chose to take a longer break from competition, stopped my workout and tried to eliminate the injury with physical therapy and medication. So I canceled the European Championships, the Over the Top Tournament and all other competitions. However, I wanted to start this year at the World Championships in Nevada / USA and started to train again in September. But I kept the pain and problems. At the international tournament in Hamburg I failed. I took only the second place, but what was clearly worse: the pain and problems were unchanged.
In summer, the American producer and director Todd contacted me. He wanted to accompany me during the World Cup in the United States with a camera and make a documentary about me and the sport. My injury was not a problem for the man from Los Angeles and I agreed. So I flew in spite of the mentioned problems and a lack of preparation across the pond.
Once there, Todd and me immediately found a good rapport with each other and the German team introduced the production team with open arms. Sporty the World Cup was much better than expected. Arrived without great expectations, I ended up on the 10th Rank and managed it for the first time to get in the top 10 of the world. Only my hand injury prevented an even better placement. On my trip I also met some armwrestling legends from the land of opportunity to know: John Brzenk, Allen Fisher, Bruce Way and Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes- all came to Nevada. Then I still went to Las Vegas and for some time to Los Angeles. There, Todd and I were discussing how to proceed and we became business partners. I spent Christmas despite the snow chaos and canceled flights back home in Germany.
City of Angels and the long way back
Despite the good placement at the World Cup, the condition of my hand did not improve in 2011. I consulted many doctors and tried other ways to cure. So I canceledup the German Championships, the European Championships in Turkey and other tournaments. I also stopped the training completely and let me treat by a new physical therapist. In the spring I moved for some months to California. There I was filming for the show “Stan Lee’s superhumans” a segment in which I defeated a Armwrestling robot named CHARLI and I had to deal with an almost 160kg heavy football player. I visited John Brzenk and the other Armwrestler from Utah in Salt Lake City and filmed a few clips for a travel documentary with Todd.
Back in Germany I started one last attempt to get back in shape. I started slowly with the training, through therapy, my hand had greatly improved. The first table trainings were a little strange, but it became better and better. I competed at the prestigious Grand Prix de Rochefort in Belgium to decide whether I continue my career or end it. What followed, feels like a dream today:
to have one’s back to the wall I won the international tournaments in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands without a single defeat! I was back! I was more than back!!!!
In December, I traveled to the icy Kazakhstan and participated in my fourth World Cup. I ended up in a brutal draw of Eastern European high class armwrestlers on an excellent 12 Place. I became the best man from the “west of the world”!
German Champion, Viva Las Vegas and Going to Brasil
In 2012, I finally won my title of German Champion in the category up to 75kg back. In the tough European Championships in Gdansk / Poland, I was able to consolidate my place in the top 10 on my first European Championship since 2008 and took ninth place.
In the summer I lived as in 2011 a few months back in the U.S. But this time was Las Vegas center of my life. From there I flew to Mexico and gave interviews to various media in Mexico City. I was also a guest of honor at the Mexican championship in Mexicali. Via Tijuana I left the country and spent some more days in San Diego. There I also trained with the multiple world champion Allen Fisher and his team. The tricks and techniques I immediately started to build in my training .
Back in Germany I immediately began preparing for the World Cup. In September I went back across the Atlantic , the goal of my journey this time was South America. In Brazil I fought at the World Championships against the international elite. In the end I only lost narrowly to the finalists from Kazakhstan and Bulgaria. I finished the tournament on the 7th place. The good results of the German team we celebrated then a few more days in Rio de Janeiro.
A few weeks later I was invited to film for TV in Zagreb / Croatia. Here I defeated the Croatian world champion Dražen Kogl with 4 to 2 and won also my first two matches against my opponent Hristo Delidzhakov ( Bul ) . In the end I lost handycaped by an injury with 4 to 2 against the Bulgarian. After a difficult season 2011, the year 2012 was very bright for me.
Overall Champion and the long awaited worldcup medal
In 2013 I decided to prepare more intense for the tough European and World Championships. In 2012 After my injury I wanted to return just to my former strength. I felt completely pain-free this year.So I wanted to get ready for larger tasks. I decided to fight two classes above my weight at the German Championships in the category up to 80kg. I came into the finals undefeated and took silver at the end.
At the European Championships I started again in my usual class up to 70kg . I did well in the difficult competition in Druskininkai / Lithuania. Similar to last year in Brazil I got a difficult draw: I beat the later fourth-placed Russians and lost only to the two finalists from Russia and Georgia. Although I ended up “only” on the tenth ,but the tournament gave me the right motivation.
Motivated by the good fights , I did well in the upcoming tournament in the Netherlands. With a combat weight of 70kg I won the classes up to 80kg and the 100kg at the Dutch Open. Then I defeated in the final of the open class , in which the winners of all classes compete against each other, the winner of the category over 100kg Tim van der Kuijl ( 130kg ) . With only 70kg of body weight I crowned me as the overall champion.
In the following months I took the win at the international tournament in Belgium and traveled to the WAF World Championships in Poland. At that tough world championship , I placed myself at the 9th Place and once again confirmed my Top 10 position of the world.
At the Over the Top I won Gold to 70kg, won silver to 80kg and bronze in the open Champ of the Champions class. A little struck, but pain-free, I decided to start two weeks later in the Professional World Championship in Warsaw / Poland. At the Nemiroff World Cup I caught a perfect day. Arrived without pressure and high expectations, I made the biggest success of my career. Up to 70kg I made it against the assembled world leaders to the finals. In the end I was defeated only by the winner Vali Farasov from Kazakhstan. It was a complete surprise. Nine years after the start of my career, I won the long-awaited medal at the most famous and most difficult Armwrestling tournament in the world-the effort paid off.
In the menu you can find a whole list of my achievements in armwrestling under the link “Career” The link “Media” will offer you many photos, videos and newspaper articles about my fights. Furthermore you can find some interesting facts about my sport under the link “Armwrestling”.