She is breaking the stereotype and proving that technique trumps strength.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2022. It has since been updated.
Arm wrestling is an entertaining competition for anyone who enjoys displaying their strength and knowledge of techniques. It's a popular activity among people all around the world and also allows people to compete professionally in tournaments. Irina Gladkaya is a Russian athlete who has managed to retain the title of world champion of arm wrestling 13 times in a row.
A video on YouTube shows just how skilled Gladkaya is in the sport as she challenges men at Muscle Beach, Miami, to a game of arm wrestling. To the men's surprise and amusement, she manages to defeat every single one of them without fail. The video shows that some of the men were even given the opportunity to win money if they beat Gladkaya. However, being a professional arm wrestler, she goes on to defeat her opponents effortlessly.
The video caught Reddit's attention after it was shared on the platform by u/purple-circle. It gained attention in the r/nextfuckinglevel community with more than 75,000 upvotes in 18 hours. Some Reddit users questioned her body posture and technique by commenting, "She’s pulling her whole body down... is that legal?" However, many others clarified that her posture was correct according to the rules of these matches. A Reddit user said, "Yes it’s legal. I used to watch professional arm wrestling on YouTube all the time and everyone pulls their whole body down."
Another said, "it is, if these kinds of techniques were banned then a lot of pro arm wrestling matches would be a lot less interesting." Several others were impressed by Gladkaya and her proper techniques to win over her opponent. One said, "proving that it's technique over brawn. not surprised by the results." "People really out here saying that she's cheating when she's a pro, they all do this," yet another user added.
Gladkaya began competing in the sport when she was 15 years old. Her physical education instructor recognized her talents at a school tournament and recruited a coach to train her, according to Nemzeti Sport. She advanced so swiftly that she won the Skander World Championship in Slovakia just four months later. Gladkaya, the 13-time world champion dubbed "Black Diamond," finished her studies in addition to athletics and is now a lawyer.
In another instance of a woman dealing with the misogyny of sports, a 27-year-old Marathon runner and Olympic medal winner shared how she faced mansplaining about her running techniques on a flight. She wrote in a tweet, "On my flight was talking to a guy next to me & it came up that I run. He starts telling me how I need to train high mileage [and] pulls up an analysis he'd made of a pro runner's training on his phone. The pro runner was me. It was my training. Didn't have the heart to tell him."
Women athletes often face misogyny at the hands of men who actually know nothing about professional sports. It is heartbreaking to witness such incidents but glorious to see women still rising above the stereotypes and making a name for themselves.