Meet the Champs

June 13th 2016

For two seasons, Janis “The Jedi” Amolins  has made it look all too easy at the table. Despite some top-notch opponents, the 35-year-old physical therapist from Latvia coasted to back-to-back 2014 and 2015 right hand 165-pound World Armwrestling League titles. But will he repeat again? The technique is there. The skills and knowledge remain.

But what happens when a top puller injures their hand? What happens when their tool fails them? It’s a question Amolins will face in a few short weeks. While he finished in the top 12 at the WAL 2016 Northern Regionals to secure a berth to Vegas, he suffered a major right hand injury while battling Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes. It was an incredibly uncommon wound – a small cut that opened into a deep and ugly injury via the torque between the two men’s hands. No bones were broken, but Amolins quickly left Regionals and headed to the hospital. It was a skin and soft tissue tear, he said, requiring stitches. Still, Amolins said he plans on traveling to Vegas to defend his title.

“I could be ok,” he said. “Not sure about shape or how much I could train, but the injury should be healed.” There’s no shortage of new and established talent looking to take the WAL Hammer of Champions from Amolins. They include “Lightning” Luke Kindt, Justin “The ‘Bama Bull” Bishop, Randy Bayer, Sam Harris, and “Iron Man” Tony Kitowski, not to mention reigning 165 left hand champ “The Assassin” Paul Talbott. 

Amolins, married with three kids, began arm-wrestling in Latvia in 1997, and took his talent international in 1999. He is straight-up about what it will take to extend his win streak to three years in a row. “You will not teach new tricks to an old dog,” he said. “I am getting ready physically and mentally. I will try my best to be in top shape. I am analyzing my opponents and working hard as always.” Six figures’  worth of cash money will be on the line during the WAL Championships, June 24 to 26 in Las Vegas.

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