"In the span of 40 years, the World Armwrestling Federation (WAF; previously known as the World Arm Wrestling Federation – WAWF) has grown from an organization with a single member country to one that is 80-plus member countries strong. On April 20, 2018 its efforts were rewarded with the sport of armwrestling being granted full membership status with the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), an umbrella organisation for all international sports federations. This is quite an accomplishment – fewer than 100 sports have this status – and it is an important stepping stone to getting armwrestling recognized by national governments and the sponsorship possibilities that can come from said recognition. Every organization has to start somewhere: this is the story of how the WAF first began taking shape.
In the late 1950s, a young man from Scranton, Pennsylvania, by the name of Robert O’Leary was in the navy. During this time, he was exposed to an activity that sailors liked to do to pass the time – challenge each other to armwrestling matches. Though not the best at it, he found the activity to be a good test of strength as well as entertaining.