When Alan Bown walked away with both the left-hand and right-handed world arm wrestling titles in 2002, he also walked away from the sport – until recently.
That’s when the 46-year-old Bonney Lake resident got bit by the bug again and decided to try his hand at the sport that was once his claim to fame.
Bown not only shook off the rust after six years, but turned it into a gold medal at the World Arm Wrestling Federation’s World Arm Wrestling Championships Master Men’s left-handed 90-kilogram division in Kelowna, B.C., in early December.
Bown was worried the half-decade away to focus on his family and career would hurt his chances, but he ramped up his training and was pleasantly surprised by the results.
“I’d been out of it so long, and there were so many new hot shots I really didn’t think I had a chance,” he said. “I would have been happy, plain happy, to be in the top five. This was a real treat.”
Bown competed in the arm wrestling nationals, the world qualifier, where the top two make the United States team. He came up short, finishing fourth as a right-hander and third as a lefty.
Then came the call. One of the United States’ top-placing left-handers couldn’t make the trip. With three months to prepare, Bown accepted the position on the team, and the challenge.
“They were long months of sacrifice and training at Bonney Lake Fitness getting better,” he said.
It’s not all about lifting and strength, arm wrestle takes technique and that comes from “table time,” which he finds in Federal Way.
“There’s no substitute for that hands-on training,” he said.
For Bown, a natural right-hander, wrestling as a southpaw takes more work.
“It’s a bit more of a challenge to train up to that,” he said. “Most of those guys are natural left handers.”
Once there, the competition was fierce.
Bown said all his draws were Top 5 arm wrestlers. He topped Boris Trikolich of Russia for the title. Bown’s United States teammate Dwayne Hanel captured third. Other competitors in his division came from Canada, Bulgaria, Poland, Sweden, Lithuana and Holland.
“At worlds everything peaked for me,” he said. His launch, or start, he said was right on and his top roll was perfected. He spent his time off the table studying his opponents’ style and strength.
“It was an honor to represent the community,” Bown said.
He’ll get the opportunity to do it again in September when he defends his title in Venice, Italy. Thanks to his generous sponsor and employer, South Prairie’s Water Buffalo Water Truck Services, he plans to be there.
Reach Brenda Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8206.